Media Fragmentation and Shared Experiences

During the peak of the popularity of the Miller Lite All Stars campaign, it was not uncommon to hear fans at sporting events chanting “Great taste … Less filling” call and response style. Fans on one side of the stadium would take up the “Great taste” portion of the chant and fans on the other side of the venue would respond with “Less filling.” This was only possible because there was nearly universal exposure to the campaign. Young, old, male, female, brown, white, nearly everyone knew and understood the campaign. It was a time of just three major television networks with considerably fewer alternative viewing options and the Miller Lite All Stars became a cultural, shared experience throughout the United States.

More Options for a Bigger Sea … of Sameness

Fast forward more than a generation, into the digital age of media fragmentation with a proliferation of cable networks, streaming options, podcasts, OTT, YouTube content, social media platforms, and targeted media spending and the universal shared advertising experience is difficult to find. You might watch the same streaming series as your friends and neighbors, but your individual buying habits and lifestyle preferences might mean you are being served completely different advertising experiences. Some would say this is a positive because the ads you are being served are likely more relevant to you. But we’ve all been served OTT ads that are completely off the mark and not relevant to our lives at all. Not only is that targeted spending a waste of money but more significantly, we’re also losing out on the cultural value of a shared experience.

When we’re all watching different content and being served individualized advertising experiences, we lose important common ground connections. Workplace water cooler conversations suffer. And while that might sound small, it’s quite significant.

Why Shared Experiences are Important

Let’s look at the value of shared experiences. Research has shown that the most powerful relationship bonds are formed through shared experiences. You can see the evidence all around. In a dramatic example, consider veterans of a military conflict. They are united by a shared experience so significant that they can identify, connect, and empathize with one another almost instantly. The experience that they shared has been shown to help individuals connect despite significant differences in religious background and political outlook. This dynamic is by no means unique to military members. It occurs everywhere with individuals united by all manner of activities in the form of hobbies, schools, careers, traditions, overcoming challenges, and more. These shared experiences serve as positive cultural glue, connecting hearts and minds across our human diversity.

How to Overcome Media Fragmentation

Having established the cultural importance of shared experiences, how do we create them in the age of media fragmentation? The answer can be found in Why We Talk, BJ Bueno’s 2007 book on word-of-mouth marketing. His conclusion at the time was clear and simple. If you want to reap the rewards of word-of-mouth marketing, the first thing you must do is create an experience worth talking about.

Brought into this context, the key to overcoming media fragmentation is to create something shareworthy. This is true for content creators of all kinds. For streaming program makers, social content creators, and advertisers, the challenge is the same: Create something so good that the viewer wants to share it. In advertising, if we’re all being served targeted ads, relevant to us, the only way to get them into other circles is for them to be shared by the viewer. And only the most interesting, most compelling, most emotionally rewarding advertising will be deemed shareworthy. This is the value of investing in the development of powerful creative assets. Better work works better.

Transcending the Sea of Sameness

If you are interested in having marketing assets that perform with your target audiences and perform well in the age of marketing fragmentation, Jigsaw is here to help. Connecting with consumers starts with a foundation of marketing strategy and a meaningful brand story that instantly resonates. You can find out more by downloading our white paper, The Six Second Brand. And if you’d like to start a conversation, just reach out through the platform of your choice.