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Cross-Media Promotion

Jonathan Hardy

Cross-Media Promotion is the first book-length study of a defining feature of contemporary media, the promotion by media of their allied media interests. The book explores the range of forms of cross-promotion including synergistic marketing of mega-brands such as Harry Potter; promotional plugs in news media; repurposing media content, stars and brands across other media and outlets; product placement, and the integration of media content and advertising.
Incorporating specialist literature, yet written in a clear, accessible style, the book combines three areas of study: media industry practices, media policy, and media theory. It examines the dynamics of cross-media promotion across converging media, drawing on a range of examples from the United States and the United Kingdom. Synergy and intertextuality are explored alongside critical debates about the ‘problems’ of cross-promotion. The book also offers a critical evaluation of media policy responses from the late 1980s to the present, which the book argues, have failed to grapple with the problems of media power, market power and commercialism generated by intensifying cross-media promotion.
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Viewers of the February 3, 2009, US broadcast of the NBC television program 30 Rock were treated to an ‘exclusive preview’ of the Universal film Land of the Lost, not due in theaters for another 3 months. Immediately following the opening credits of that week’s episode, the 90-second segment was sandwiched (so to speak) between two sponsorship tags (‘Brought to you by … ’) from Subway, the fast-food chain that also was product-placed in the movie. The beginning of the ‘preview’ presents Will Ferrell’s character from Land of the Lost interviewed by the real-life NBC morning-talk-show-host Matt Lauer on The Today Show set, with textual authenticity established by the use of the actual announcer, musical riff and graphics that introduce The Today Show. (A longer version of this scene also appeared in the movie.) Viewers are told at the end of the segment that ‘Subway brings you more Land of the Lost, at’. Perhaps serendipitously, but weirdly revealing, Lauer also appeared as himself later in this particular episode of 30 Rock, complaining when having to compromise his newscast at the insistence of the faux-GE executive on the program, Jack Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin. And the final indignity? As summer reviews indicated, Land of the Lost as a movie stank. Lauer, however, received good reviews.

This example, one of literally dozens—if not hundreds—of large-scale media campaigns from that year, illustrates many of the trends and dangers that are the focus of Jonathan Hardy’s important...

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