Final Creative Project: The Vlog

ARTIST’S STATEMENT:

Background:

My creative project aims not only to illustrate the integral advertising techniques that I argue propel social media marketing to the forefront of the industry, but also to manifest these techniques into my life, at least temporarily. I decided that as a researcher,  I might better understand the complications and mechanics of these kinds of advertisement projects if I were to actually make one myself rather than compile data of other, professionally done advertisements in social media of which I am already quite familiar with.

Furthermore, while my topic takes a sweeping look at advertisements that stand independently of a channel or influencer on social media platforms, as well as those which are categorized as political ads, I find myself, as a media consumer, to be most attracted to and noticeably affected by advertisements curated by third parties. These third party ads include blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts by influencers, videographers, and ambassadors and often align with the guerrilla advertising techniques discussed by Brooke Erin Duffy, which are named such because of their camouflage placement that makes the product or service being represented seem not like an advertisement at all, but rather a common practice by authoritative social media users with magnetic aesthetics.

IMG_4648 2.PNG(here, you can see how a YouTuber named Brittany Balyn advertised her sponsorship with clothing company Zaful in the description of one of her most recent videos)

The Project: watch it here

I made what would be categorized as a “daily vlog,” in which I chronicle events of a typical Saturday for me, although like many other daily vlogs, these events are doctored, embellished, and compressed in time to create a more compelling narrative. Although I regularly watch all kinds of vlogs, most of which feature advertisements in some way, I did extensive research of specifically choosing recent sponsored videos to observe and attempt to replicate. I begin with mundane activities, like personal hygiene, exercising, and making my bed. The video then progresses to cooking clips, studying, and eventually getting ready to go out to a birthday party with a group of friends. These activities, although ones I do in my actual life and representative of my “image,” have been carefully selected and chronologized in order to cunningly include clips of me both using and advocating for a Dove product, as though to suggest the company sponsored my video.

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I chose a soap brand to be the pseudo sponsor for a very realistic reason in social media advertising: I only do normal things and sponsors choose their influencers based on the themes in their content. Were I an established vlogger who regularly uploads weight lifting tutorials, I might’ve chosen to represent a brand like Nike or Muscle Milk. Had I a clear affinity for and representation of painting on my social media pages, I might have chosen Michaels as the sponsor. But because I am indeed regular and without a particular online image, I chose a brand that would be believable and easily integrated into a narrative that would best represent the life I live.

Creative and Technical Choices:

I filmed the footage all on my iPhone 7 Plus, because of my lack of access to 4k cameras, and edited using Adobe Premiere Pro software, and uploaded the content to a recently created YouTube channel. The creative choices of using close up shots of Dove deodorant, including clips of my actual application of the products, and my dialogue inserted both with the fake audience and also with other subjects in the video aims to imitate techniques I’ve seen influencers use over and over to meet the credentials of advertising given to them by sponsors. When observing more closely, a viewer accustomed to this kind of advertising might recognize my consistent promotion of Dove and explanation of its benefits. However, those less familiar with this new wave of social media advertising might miss many of the moments where I necessarily insert the product for the means of advertisement–and that’s the point. If I were to have a fan base who was interested in and dedicated to watching videos of my everyday life, they would, subconsciously or not, pick up on those literal things which makeup this everyday life, and if they admired me, might try to bring them into their own homes. (“advertised” footage of Dove featured at 2:24, 4:00, 4:15, 6:31, 7:14)

I include an explanation of the project and an introduction into the vlog in the very beginning in order to familiarize the audience with what they are about to see, as it could be jarring or confusing to watch a classmate or otherwise non famous person film daily events. I do not include, however, explanations of the inauthenticity of the video, such as the footage taking several weeks to film, and not just one day. I choose not to be self referential within the actual video because I felt that would remove the audience from the structure of the vlog and the intent of its content. This project is a direct application of our in-class discussions on social media as a rising career platform and YouTube as a distribution and marketing hub that not only accepts amateur video content, but encourages it.