Manchester Metropolitan University MSc Digital Marketing Communications Rich User Experience - Unit 5U7Z8006 2017 - 2018 Session Section A - Storyboard Aniello Vallefuoco_17102296
â€œChoose what matters to you.â€?
Premise Many students, after their undergraduate course, find themselves lost in front of many opportunities and options which inevitably challenge their decision-making process. During an important phase of their life, most of them don’t know what to expect from their future and demand information in as much detail as possible. The video proposes a metaphorical journey representing the MSc Digital Marketing Communications course in all its aspects, answering the need for knowledge and encouraging curiosity necessary to overcome the insecurities and to fulfil a responsible and satisfactory choice. The advert is structured as an indirect metaphorical claim, which aims to establish an environment of trust and acceptance around its message. By not being spammed with a commercial intention in the first instance, the viewer is more receptive to multiple positive inferences about the advertised product, (Mcquarrie et al., 2016). The rationale is that the consumer will be busy and distracted to encode the rhetorical claims and will thus more likely to accept an advertised message which they relate to: the user is therefor invited to independently construct multi-layered meanings that are not directly given. In fact, it is this openness to multiple interpretations that allows for a highly persuasive advert, (Mcquarrie et al., 2016). Moreover, the encoding process of metaphors doesn’t happen at the surface level of representation, but rather at a level of cognitive thought, (Mcquarrie et al., 2016; Forceville, 1996; Hitchon, 1997), giving the advert the chance to be more incisive and targeted. Specifically, the course is presented as something fresh and contemporary; a ‘cool’ and great opportunity to self-develop in a creative way. It suggests that the consumer will be able to choose their own path due to the multiple prospects this degree offers. Ultimately, the viewer is invited to self-generate inferences about what the advert claims, still feeling themselves to be in control of the situation, not overwhelmed in their individuality and freedom of choice by the branded content. The alignment of a strong narrative and visuals allows for metaphors to be induced by the viewer, which then allows for a better understanding and attraction to the video. The resulting sponsored message doesn’t have to be conceived as weak because of these indirect implications. On the contrary, due to the nuanced nature and the use of subtle persuasiveness techniques, the viewer is more likely to believe in the genuine integrity of the message which allows him to make a sincerer summation of the advert without having to ever use direct marketing techniques, (Mcquarrie et al., 2016). *Customer Personas: Millennials, (Appendix).
Context “The world is pulsing, expanding, evolving so fast that blink… ...and you’ll miss it.” This is the starting point, a reference to Hawking’s thesis of an expanding universe, (Hawking, 1966), used to introduce an inductive path for the storytelling which starts from a macroscopic view to ending up on a narrowed confirmation of the presented hypothesis. The scenes selected for this first part of the narrative represent historical and scientific events happened in contemporary times, which are shaping our present. In particular, the journey highlights the role of Media, which documented this evolution process through the years. Specifically: • The landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong; • The ESA’s astronaut Thomas Pesquet completing a battery upgrade on a spaceship; • Dolly, the first cloned sheep; • The Brexit Referendum results; • The election of President Donald Trump. Using references from the previous and current centuries, allows the viewer to relate more easily to the video and suggests him a message of timeliness, allowing to relate the events shown in the video to events in their own world. By highlighting a reel of past world events leading up to the present within the context of the video creates a need amongst the viewer to be a part of something bigger and to help impact and shape society.
Script The structure of the script is inspired by the trailer for the movie ‘Trainspotting’, a cult classic widely imprinted on the minds of millennials, due to its disruptive and intense content. The tribute shapes a familiar background for the viewer that facilitates the understanding of the message, still offering that ‘knowledge gap’ which is essential when learning in a new context, (Lang, 2000), arousing individual questions that stimulate the decision-making process of the viewer. In the original script, the main character recites a monologue that describes his life journey through a series of wrong choices he made. Inspired by this fact, the advert will highlight, emphasising with contrast, the importance of making the right choices in a critical moment of the life of a person. The elements of the plot are presented following a descending climax. The story begins with broader layers until it narrows onto the individual’s experience: the conclusion, with ‘Choose your own journey’, is a metaphor representing the university experience as a whole, synthesising the narrative in a precise concept. Moreover, in the video the narrator speaks directly to the viewer, which also allows him to store and retreive the encoded message at a latest stage. The result is a memorable representation which will eventually activate the viewer’s orientating response (OR), (Lang, 2000).
Risks The research supports the idea that some structural features (such as cuts, edits, and content changes), when kept at a minimum, result in a message which is easier to process, (Lang, 2000). The high number of inputs proposed might result distracting, by overcharging the cognitive load in the viewer.
Purpose The video aims to impress, inform and delight a young audience, involving emotional drivers that seek to motivate, attract and ultimately persuade consumers. ‘Motivation produces’: as a fact it represents the most important driver in the decisionmaking process, positioning itself at the core of self-determination, (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Moreover, as the CET (Cognitive Evaluation Theory) states: by presenting a situation which is likely to motivate due to positive images and reachable objectives, the viewer will automatically feel comfortable and encouraged to follow a positive performance through a feeling of competence, (Ryan and Deci, 2000). The latter, accompanied by a sense of autonomy SDT (Self-Determination Theory), communicated through the general message of ‘being free to choose’, recalls those inner resources in the viewer necessary to project the advice in their personal environment. The intrinsic reward of the story is ultimately represented by a life of meaningful and responsible self-directed choices, alternatives which are both critical and challenging. The story evokes different personal aspirations, such as growth and development, also associated with well-being indicators including self-esteem, self-actualisation and autonomy, (Ryan and Deci, 2000). These drivers represent the highest of Maslow’s psychological needs as an individual, (Maslow and Webb, 2013), and are a highly effective form of persuasion, (Partala and Kallinen, 2012). In the introductory scene, the script also refers to the external social pressures (e.g. from the family or friends) which inevitably students experience when approaching their new life as young adults. The narrator then suggests stepping away from ‘those voices’, to pay attention to the personal aspirations and ambitions, combining both intrinsic and extrinsic motivational drivers, (Ryan and Deci, 2000). The exciting and informal tone of the advert aims to attract younger individuals which expect transparency, equality and plain language from a branded message and which also consider visually appealing and unusual information as more engaging. This same audience also prefers individual achievements to collective ones. Moreover, the different prospected choices stimulate the desire to try new things, from short term ones to a longer perspective which will eventually translate in the application to the course, (Nahai, 2012).
Drivers of Persuasion Referring to the PANAS model, (Partala and Kallinen, 2012), the advert will arouse the following psychological vectors in the viewers:
Autonomy: The script encourages the audience to live life designing their own path. The viewer is solicited to be the cause of their own actions, rather than feeling overwhelmed by external pressures.
Competence-Effectance: By presenting a series of alternatives through which the viewer may identify themselves, they are invited to measure their skills and challenge their strengths.
3. Self-Actualization: The general theme of the advert is the growth
and the development which every individual as a young adult expects for themselves.
Security-Control: The story prospects a controllable situation, in which the person can independently decide which direction to take. When reminded that they are in full control of the circumstances happening in their life, the viewer will then feel reassured rather than overwhelmed.
5. Influence-Popularity: The visual references to Social Media evoke
the psychological need of popularity-influence, (Partala and Kallinen, 2012). It also highlights the importance of the feeling of belonging and contribution to a society where the individual can make a difference.
6. Pleasure-Stimulation: The visual dynamism of the redundant content (Video+Audio) transmits a sense of amusement and enjoyability.
Narrator The introduction of a narrator connects to the viewer on an empathetic level, structuring a world in which he loses themselves and accepts the plot, as explained by the concept of ‘telepresence’, (Green and Brock, 2000). Moreover, the friendly nature and warm tones of the narrator designs a pleasant atmosphere for the experience. The narrator’s use of received pronunciation allows the script to be easily understood by an international audience, (Armstrong, 2010). Voice: Lee Smorthit.
Scenes & Flow The clips were primarily gathered from viral content online, as well as from artwork submitted by the students of the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Art, (Appendix). Each clip represents a metaphor of the script, which intends to ‘provide the user with a fantasy’ to increase their familiarity with the narrator and the story, (Hassenzahl et al., 2000). In terms of usability, enjoyment and satisfaction, the trailer represents an advice, a ‘prospectus’ of what the user will face when choosing a Digital Marketing Communications course as their future university experience. The short clips that rapidly alternate scan a fast and exhortatory rhythm through the whole story. Moreover, the use of short units of clips helps to simplify the reconstruction of the message by the viewer, processing their own interpretation of the story allowing personal connections to the plot, (Miall, 2000). The procedure described before will specifically happen when building a long-term memory. Supported by the impactful images proposed, the seeded content will be reminisced in a prospective moment, (Lang, 2000), specifically when it comes to applying to the right university.
Music The selected soundtrack aims to structure a dynamic narrative that supports many different scenes, through a fast rhythm. Its intensity activates a stimulant mood in the viewer, that is exhorted to actively react to the information received, (Gordon and Bruner II, 2018). Copyright Free Soundtrack: Dinnerdate-time by Majestic
Characters and Environment Avatars and CGIs The use of fictional symbols (CGIs, cartoons and video art clips) allows the reader to encode the message in a fast an agile way, projecting themselves as the active main character in the story. Scenes featuring human characters may portray a biased perception of the message, due to their individualistic and personal connotations, (Miall, 2000). The Avatars, in fact, allow the viewer to tailor their own digital self-representation, with a higher degree of control, arousing a mimicry behaviour that enhances the persuasiveness of the message, [The Proteus Effect, (Yee, Bailenson and Ducheneaut, 2009)]. Scenes featuring a virtual environment will intensify the transportation and telepresence in the viewer, which will gradually shift away from the physical environment and dedicate a higher attention to the advert, (Busselle and Bilandzic, 2009). In conclusion, the reference to a digital environment provides users with customisation tools. These will allow them to personalise the story, intensifying the identification process, (Yee, Bailenson and Ducheneaut, 2009).
Risks The viewer may perceive the use of CGIs as irritating and alienating, as explained by TAM, (Constantinides, 2014). On the other hand, the negative effect will be cancelled by the use of a narrator with an engaging and friendly voice. The research also shows that videos including human faces are more engaging, (Nottingham, 2017).
Animations Research shows that the use of Disney characters is preferred to high-tech effects, raising the engagement level, (Callcott and Lee, 2014).
Emoticons & GIFs The use of ‘emojis’ and GIFs intends to deliver the message in a language which is widely accepted by millennials. Due to the visual impact, these vectors can convey more information about emotions in a way understood by the younger audience, which will eventually result empathetically involved with the plot, (Duan, Xia and Van Swol, 2018).
Pop-Characters The selection of characters popular amongst millennials (such as Kylie Jenner, President Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, Salt Bae, Beyoncè and Cher) outlines a familiar environment in which the target audience feels comfortable, consequently accepting the message with less reluctance. Moreover, according to the heuristic model of persuasion (Chaiken, 1980; Eagly & Chaiken, 1984), people are more likely to agree with a message proposed by characters they like and feel to relate to, (Petty and Cacioppo, 1986).
Platform & Aesthetics The visual style selected for the video recalls a precise iconography, popular amongst millennials, called ‘Vaporwave’. This is an art movement that emerged in the early 2010s from the indie niche community, evolving from the antecedent ‘Seapunk’ (which is about the techno rave culture of ‘90s), and features CGIs and renders as dynamic digital elements, almost parodying the virtual world. The choice of this style, apart from inducing the viewer to reflect on the production of mass media, helps to design a sense of ‘false nostalgia’, elicited in millennials by images of older technology and media, which result to be highly impactful amongst the selected target audience, (Nahai, 2012). The video results in a collage of 60 different scenes, with disruptive and humoristic clips, connected by Vaporwave, used as a cohesive solution to deliver the message. The choice of this theme was made as for the scarcity of resources and equipment necessary to produce a quality video with the self-gathered material. For this reason, three different platforms were first considered and then discarded: 1. Manchester from above - Flyover (required a drone); 2. Video-Parody (required actors); 3. Vlog (required scenes filmed during the whole year). The product promoted by the advert appears only at the end of the video, with scenes of the Business School in the background that introduce a QR code. In line with the general concept of the video, structured as a ‘less obvious puzzle’, (Nahai, 2017), it will eventually elicit the viewer to ‘find out more’ by scanning the code with a smartphone after watching the advert. Risks: Since the product is not mentioned until the end of the trailer, the bounce rate of the video may result high as the viewer will not be able to understand the purpose of the trailer in the first place.
Video Characteristics - Aspect Ratio: 4:3; Landscape; - Quality: 1080p - Accessibility: The use of subtitles increases video engagement across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, (Dobsen, 2017). - Duration: [2:12]; The short length of the video targets an audience with a short attention span, (Bortone, 2017). The additional 12 seconds were used to show the branded product and allowed the soundtrack to fade with an appropriate cut.
Production & Equipment - iMovie - QuickTime Player - Glitché - iOS App - Adobe Photoshop - Adobe InDesign - Adobe Illustrator - Giphy - Tumblr - Pinterest
Go to the Video
Appendix Credits - Heart pulsing courtesy of Simon Holmedal https://vimeo.com/21114543 - Neil Armstrong scene courtesy of Curivity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6A72ufn3l4 - ESA Astronaut scene courtesy of the European Space Agency https://www.youtube.com/user/ESA - Dolly the sheep scene courtesy of JamJarMMX https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoEWYJHf0kU&t=1s - Brexit Referendum courtesy of Al Jazeera English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3NvypHgRyE&t=38s - Election of President Trump courtesy of ABC News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg7ELSX5QcA - Blink scene courtesy of Teddy Delcroix https://vimeo.com/188107969 - CGIs scenes courtesy of Randy Cano https://vimeo.com/randycano - Clocks scene courtesy of Humans since 1982, Title of the artwork ‘A million Times’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdaKTnqotbE - Eye backroll scene courtesy of Archillectgram https://www.instagram.com/archillectgram/?hl=en - Queen Elizabeth II parody, Cher, Snowhite, VR lovers, Unlock Screen, Google giant, Kylie Jenner Snapchat, Coffee-Clock, Cinderella scenes courtesy of Saint Hoax https://www.instagram.com/sainthoax/?hl=en
- Google Translate, Coding, Password scenes courtesy of x20xx.com artist collective - Computer scene courtesy of Pixabay https://pixabay.com/videos/ - Baseball, Search History scenes courtesy of Processvideo https://www.instagram.com/processvideo/ - Beyonce scene courtesy of MissUniverse Moments https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IAk1lm69Vs - Move to Mars scene courtesy of Dylan Serventi, YouTube channel Splender Vanity https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy5cuvtmDYXkkQDTUlebojQ - Empty the trash scene courtesy of Transcient_Space https://www.instagram.com/transient_space/ - Kylie Jenner scene courtesy of Kylie Snaps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkUMOamI-24&t=7s
Crowdsourcing for Content Some of the content featured in the advert was submitted from students from the Manchester Metropolitan School of Art. The request had specific themes and inspirations, in line with the general concept of the trailer. The offline flyers were posted in the School of Art and interested candidates were asked to propose their artwork for consideration.
Personas â€˘ Isabella
[21 years old from Copenhagen] Seeks to set up her own events planning company through studying for a business degree. Middle class, has a sister and a brother. Usually shops at Zara and H&M, likes to go on frequent weekend breaks to European cities.
[19 years old from Leeds] Creative, multitude of interests, unclear vision regarding his future. Wants to conjugate his creative skills and attitudes with a practical postgraduate degree which will allow him to build a defined career. He is the first person in his family to university. In order to financially afford his studies he had to work for a year beforehand; Adrian is enthusiastic about video games and enjoys playing them socially with his friendship group.
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