Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | Ambiguous Imitations: DIY Hijacking the ’Danish Mother Seeking’ Stealth Marketing Campaign on YouTube

Title:
Ambiguous Imitations: DIY Hijacking the ’Danish Mother Seeking’ Stealth Marketing Campaign on YouTube
Author:
Carsten Stage: Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark Sophie Esmann Andersen: Department of Business Communication, Aarhus University, Demnark
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124393
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Year:
2012
Volume:
4
Theme:

Other Articles

Pages:
393-414
No. of pages:
22
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2012-06-01


The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of imitation as a key dimension of online DIY and participatory cultures on YouTube. The empirical point of departure is the viral stealth marketing YouTube video entitled ’Danish Mother Seeking’, produced by the official national tourist organisation (Visit Denmark), and selected extracts of the online responses to this video. Framed by the notion of participatory culture (Jenkins 2006; Burgess & Green 2009) and the concept of imitation (Tarde 1895/1903), we analyse how marketing initiatives buy into and borrow energy from engaged networked produsers, but also how these produsers can criticise marketing initiatives by ’re-imitating’ them. Following this, we argue that the case represents an interesting and fascinating example of consumer re-sistance and bottom-up voices insisting on being heard, rather than a simple example of the breakdown of a brand strategy. Looking at the response videos they furthermore reveal that imitation can be a rather ambiguous social strategy as it is used both to transfer energy from the imitated object and to deconstruct it. As part of this argument we replace the classical concept of ’mimicry’ (Bhabha 1994) with the notion of ’ambiguous imitation’ to be able to describe online imitation as both an act of critical voicing and energy transmission.

Keywords: Participatory and DIY culture; stealth marketing; YouTube; social media; imitation and mimicry

Volume 4, Theme:

Other Articles

, Article 20, 2012
Author:
Carsten Stage, Sophie Esmann Andersen
Title:
Ambiguous Imitations: DIY Hijacking the ’Danish Mother Seeking’ Stealth Marketing Campaign on YouTube:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124393
References:
  • Beverland, Michael B. & Farrelly, Francis J. (2010): “The Quest for Authenticity in Consumption: Consumers’ Purposive Choice of Authentic Cues to Shape Experienced Outcomes”, Journal of Consumer Research, 36:5, 838-856. [Read this article]
  • Bhabha, Homi (1994): The Location of Culture, London: Routledge.
  • Bruns, Axel (2008): “The Future Is User-Led: The Path towards Widespread Produsage”, The Fibreculture Journal, 11: http://eleven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-066-the-future-is-user-led-the-path-towards-widespread-produsage/ (accessed 12/03/28).
  • Burgess, Jean & Joshua Green (2009): YouTube, Cambridge: Polity.
  • Couldry, Nick (2010): Why Voice Matters, London: Sage.
  • Fenton, Natalie (2008): “Mediating hope”, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 11:2, 230-248. [Read this article]
  • Freire, Joao Ricardo (2009): “‘Local People’ a critical dimension for place brands”, Journal of Brand Management, 16:7, 420-438. [Read this article]
  • Gauntlett, David (2011): Making is Connecting, Cambridge: Polity.
  • Holt, Douglas (2002): “Why do Brands Cause Trouble? A Dialectical Theory of Consumer Culture and Branding”, Journal of Consumer Research, 29:1, 80-90. [Read this article]
  • Jenkins, Henry (2006): Convergence Culture, New York: New York University Press.
  • Kaikati, Andrew M. & Jack G. Kaikati (2004): “Stealth Marketing: How to Research Consumers Surreptitiously”, California Management Review, 46:4, 6-22.
  • Knobel, Michelle & Colin Lankshear (2010): “DIY Media: A contextual background and some contemporary themes”, Michele Knobel & Colin Lankshear (eds): DIY Media. Creating. Sharing and Learning with New Technologies, New York: Peter Lang.
  • Laclau, Ernesto & Chantal Mouffe (2001): Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, 2nd ed. London: Verso.
  • Latour, Bruno (2005): Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Law, John (2004): After Method, New York: Routledge.
  • Martin, Kelly D. & Craig Smith (2008): “Commercializing Social Interaction: The Ethics of Stealth Marketing”, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 27:1, 45-56. [Read this article]
  • O’Shaughnessy, John & Nicholas Jackson (2000): “Treating the Nation as a Brand: Some Neglected Issues”, Journal of Macromarketing, 20:1, 56-64. [Read this article]
  • Penenberg, Adam (2009): Viral Loop: The Power of Pass-It-On, London: Spectre.
  • Prahalad, C.K. & Venkat Ramaswamy(2004): The Future of Competition, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Rheingold, Howard (2002): Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, Cambridge: Perseus Books.
  • Rosen, Jay (2006): “The People Formerly Known as the Audience”, Pressthink: http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html , (accessed 12/03/28).
  • Tarde, Gabriel (1895/1903); The Laws of Imitation, New York: Henry Holt and Company.
  • Vargo, Stephen L. & Robert F. Lusch (2004): “Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing”, Journal of Marketing, 38:1, 19-31.
  • Xie, Chunyan; Richard P. Bagozzi & Sigurd V. Troye (2008): “Trying to Prosume: Toward a Theory of Consumers as Co-creaters of Value”, Journal of Academic Marketing Science, 36, 109-122.
  • Volume 4, Theme::

    Other Articles

    , Article 20, 2012
    Author:
    Carsten Stage, Sophie Esmann Andersen
    Title:
    Ambiguous Imitations: DIY Hijacking the ’Danish Mother Seeking’ Stealth Marketing Campaign on YouTube:
    DOI:
    10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124393
    Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
    Citations:
    No citations available at the moment
     

    Export in BibTex, RIS or text