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g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University
STATEMENT OF ORIGINALITY AND AUTHENTICITY
PROJECT IS AN ORIGINAL AND AUTHENTIC PIECE OF WORK BY MYSELF.
ACKNOWLEDGED AND REFERENCED ALL SECONDARY SOURCES USED. PRESENTED IN WHOLE OR IN PART FOR ASSESSMENT ELSEWHERE.
HAS NOT BEEN
HAVE READ THE
AND AM FULLY AWARE OF THE POTENTIAL
CONSEQUENCES OF ANY BREACH IN THEM.
WORD COUNT (EXCLUDING TABLES, APPENDICES, CONTENTS PAGE AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY): 9773
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION 1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND 1.1 COMPANY BACKGROUND AND INFORMATION 1.2 PREVIOUS BRAND COMMUNICATION 1.2.1 BUSINESS POSITIONING FOR THE FUTURE 2. AIM AND OBJECTIVES AIM: OBJECTIVES: 3. LITERATURE REVIEW 3.1 PUSH VS. PULL MODELS AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE INTERNET & WEB 2.0 3.2 CREATING AND SHARING CONTENT AND VIRAL MARKETING 3.3 MEDIA, NARRATIVE AND BRAND ENGAGEMENT 3.4 CONTENT SPREADING AND COMMUNITIES 3.5 CRITICISMS TO THE LITERATURE 4. 5. LITERATURE OVERVIEW METHODOLOGY 5.1 RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY 5.2 RESEARCH APPROACH AND STRATEGY 5.2.1Focus Groups 5.2.3 Participant Observation 5.3EVALUATION METHODS 5.4 LIMITATIONS AND DIFFICULTIES 6 ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS 4 5 6 6 7 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 11 12 13 13 14 14 15
15 16 17 17
18 18 18 18 19
FOCUS GROUPS 6.1 HAIR 6.1.1 HAIR RITUALS AND POSSESSIONS 6.1.2 HAIR AND THE MOOD 18.104.22.168 Hair and the Outfit 22.214.171.124. Hair, Time and Place 6.1.3 HAIR, EXPLORATION AND INFLUENCE 6.2. MEDIA 6.2.1. INFORMATION OVERLOAD 6.2.1 SHARING, ENGAGING AND RELATIONSHIPS 126.96.36.199. Deal Breakers in Social Networks 188.8.131.52. Sharing Content with Friends 184.108.40.206. Liking and Commenting 220.127.116.11. Offline to Online 18.104.22.168. Seeking and Creating Meaning 22.214.171.124. Shows and the Ritual 126.96.36.199. Narrative Engagement 6.2.3. TECHNOLOGY AND ITS EFFECTS 188.8.131.52 Convergence 184.108.40.206 Limitations and Envy OBSERVATION 7. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 7.1 CONCLUSIONS 7.2 RECOMMENDATIONS 8. REFLECTION AND THE FUTURE
20 20 21 22
22 23 23 24 24 25 25
28 29 29 31 35
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University
Executive Summary The following project is an exploration of media interaction, engagement as well as online behaviour among twenty to twenty-nine year-old young adults, finishing with a recommendation for a transmedia marketing communications idea to benefit ghd. The multi-platform approach comes as an inevitable shift away from former push-based advertising models; it is a response to the increasingly fragmented media landscape and complex consumer behaviours as they experience a constantly connected life and the lines between product experience and marketing activity as experience are more and more blurred. In terms of engagement, it focuses on discovering what cross-platform media ghd‟s audience actively engages with, what relevant entry points within the community the brand can make use of, which aspects of the media environment allow content to spread within communities and outside of them and what makes something worth sharing and whether the act can benefit ghd. It also looks at what key influencing factors driving purchase and observes characteristics of the relevant YouTube „Beauty and Style‟ video blogging category to see whether the context would be relevant and appropriate for the brand‟s communication strategy. Two group discussions and participant observation were employed, seeking to discover how the brand should behave and what tone of voice it will employ in order to reach the desired audience. Results were analysed, decoded and categorised in order to discover potential favourable entry points for such a campaign. Some of the key findings were in agreement with the literature reviewed; some slightly defined the literature differently. Major media findings include that consumers do not engage with things which do not interest them and that online sharing and engagement follows few, but essential rules. It is cautiously used as a way to strengthen relationships, add value to personal experience of content and define social identity by including or excluding like-minded. As far as hair is concerned, there is clear evidence showing that lengthy stages of exploration lead up to an impractically idealistic style no one dares try due to various limitations to do with time and hairdressers. The study concludes that ghd needs to focus on reinforcing the idea of being able to achieve such a hairstyle with the aid of their stylers and suggests a new communication idea called “Let the dream unfold” based on the existing “unexpected liberation” proposition. Recommendations for cross-platform implementation are formulated so that regardless of the narrative entry point, the experience is different but the message remains the same.
It is often said that the motto of web 2.0 is “ask not what your users can do for you, but what you can do for your users.” Not long ago, people needed products to stay alive, whereas today products increasingly need their audiences to stay alive. More than ever, the internet allows twoway communication, giving consumers the ability to control flow of information and adjust how much content they come in contact with while providing an interactive experience. Brands need to fully introduce themselves to the online world and the world wide audiences in order understand the power they have what they can do for advertising and revenue. How people engage with media is important for advertisers as they are looking for accountability for their communication budget and increasing consumer connection with media equates to increasing consumer connection with advertising, when planned correctly. This project provides a new communication idea for ghd‟s “unexpected liberation” approach by taking insights from research and delivering a transmedia strategy. It is a small-scale exploration with an inductive approach that lets the findings from data collection form an adequate explanation. This approach helped gain an understanding of the way in which people interpret their social world and linked behaviour with individual feelings on hair and self identity. So what media do people consume and how? How does it relate to their hair, identity and personality? Is there anything that ghd can learn in order to better understand its audience and plan a campaign around?
This is what the project seeks to discover.
ghd and Transmedia Planning
Can ‘Unexpected Liberation’ Be Communicated Over Multiple Platforms?
Introduction and Background
1.1 Company Background and Information
In 2001 ghd was a small and relatively unknown company but it took the hair and beauty industry by storm with the launch of its ceramic hair styling irons. What started as a business trip to the United States later became the foundation of one of the UK‟s most profitable companies. ghd stands for „good hair day‟ as coined by the owner‟s wife when she stated that whoever uses the irons will experience a good hair day. The company‟s turnover grew from £424,000 in their first year to £115 million in 2007and Sunday Times Fast Track named ghd the „Fastest Growing Company‟ of 2005. A selection independently ran by the Centre for Brand Analysis also named ghd an emerging SuperBrand in 2008/2009 while CoolBrands 2009/2010 called it a winner in its Toiletries –Healthcare category. It outgrew its competition and took on the likes of salon brands such as Wella and L‟Oreal, achieving iconic status and a large followership among salon stylists and celebrities; ghd had literally established a new religion in hair care (Telegraph and Argus, 2003).
The main products are the stylers, specifically the Mark IV Regular, Mini and Salon irons as pictured. In order to maintain market share, profitability and awareness, limited edition models were also launched over the past years, pictured here as following: the “Dark or Pure?” irons, „KISS‟ iron, the purple, the „RARE‟ and the bubblegum pink iron supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
GHD Mark IV Stylers
Limited Edition GHD irons
1.2 Previous Brand Communication From 2001 to 2003 ghd relied on word-of-mouth rather than advertising but started a sixweek integrated campaign comprising of two thirty-second TV adverts, style press ads featuring “urban angels”, posters, a text message campaign, direct mail and point-of-sale branded material revolving around the idea of a “New Religion for Hair” (Campaign, 2003). Models surrounded by a halo suggesting the „angel‟ image were the focus of adverts representing the modern woman transformed. It was followed by a £1.3 million sponsorship of „The Salon‟, Channel 4‟s hair and beauty reality TV show deemed popular among ghd‟s target audience of young females (Solley, 2003). Sponsorship featured break bumpers, branding and information on The Salon website and ghd featuring on the mobile-terminated text messages sent by the show (Campaign, 2003). In 2004 a bigger TV campaign worth £5 million was aimed at upper market women‟s fashion and lifestyle publications such as InStyle, Harper‟s Bazaar and Vogue. ghd became the only advertiser in Vogue‟s summer beauty supplement which featured eight pages of their ads and advertorials (Campaign, 2004). The „urban angels‟ were now set in a city landscape, emphasizing the idea that the brand is an essential part of coping with the expectations of modern world. Furthermore, it extended its presence to men‟s upmarket lifestyle magazines Esquire and GQ (Campaign, 2004).
“Thou shalt obey the rules” (Appendix 1, Figures 4,5)
“Thou shalt style with heat. Thou shalt style without fear” GHD Thermodynamics (Appendix 1, Figures 6,7)
In 2005, “The Gospel According to ghd” gave birth to eight black and white ads with a twist on the 10 Commandments of The Bible. The rules had been rewritten as “Thou shalt not use yours to make rich old men with weak hearts fall in love with you” or “Thou shalt not borrow your sister‟s without asking” (Appendix 1, Figures 4 and 5). 2006 was the year for a viral video on the same theme called „Lost‟, portraying “the dark humour of the alpha female”. Deemed unsuitable for television broadcast, it gained viral popularity on the internet by explicitly showing that the „urban angel‟ cannot live without its ghd hair iron (Campaign, 2006). In the same year, „thermodynamics‟ was launched, designed to highlight heatdefence products meant protect hair from styling iron heat, while the press adverts featured women setting fire to either a villa or a boat (Appendix 2, Figures 6,7).
1.2.1 Business Positioning For the Future
As a result of its success and turnover from the past few years and becoming the only hair product with iconic followership, ghd wants to position itself as the most desired global hair styling brand. It is a bold ambition which will have to see the company renounce its religiously themed adverts that would not resonate with a global audience.
Brand promise Emotional benefit Brand benefit Product benefit Product features
Liberation Liberation Transform how you look and feel Style and transform your hair Authentic, innovative, easy to use salon quality styling products.
Table 1 – ghd brand benefit ladder (Appendix 3, Table 1)
Aim and Objectives
Develop a new communication idea based on ghd‟s “unexpected liberation” approach by taking insights from research and delivering a transmedia strategy that incorporates relevant literature.
Objectives: 1. Identify what media ghd‟s target audience actively engages with and what relevant entry points within the community the brand narrative can make use of; 2. Identify and describe which aspects of the contemporary media environment support the spread of media within the community of ghd users and what would make them likely to share content provided by ghd with others; 3. Explore purchasing decision rationale in order to uncover who and what key influencing factors help decide that it is time to buy ghd or to continue buying the brand in order to explain how ghd could benefit from the spread of their content. 4. Observe elements and characteristics of successful online „Self help and style‟ category videos on YouTube platform for the United Kingdom and how these can be adapted and implemented within ghd‟s communication strategy.
“We need to deconstruct traditional measurements and create a new vernacular that includes engagement.” ~ Paul Woolmington, Founding Partner, Naked Communications
Transmedia storytelling – what is it?
The notion of transmedia storytelling is closely linked to that of media engagement, referring to an active involvement with content, creating, sharing and distributing it over multiple platforms rather than receiving it passively. It is a concept designed to help content spread across communities, ultimately the goal of any brand message, paying attention to the context in which it is viewed. This section aims to introduce and define the conceptual areas that underpin the research. The following issues are defined and explored: push and pull models, “Web 2.0”, viral marketing, media, narrative, and brand engagement, and finally content spreading and communities.
3.1 Push vs. Pull Models and the Evolution of the Internet & Web 2.0 The evolution of the Internet shifted communications models away from push-based ones of the broadcast era towards pull-based ones. With a push approach, a company would send a message across various platforms, leaving customers no room for giving feedback. Nowadays, pull models suggest that consumers both individually and collectively drive the creation of content by deciding what matters to them and others through what is passed along and talked about (Jenkins, 2009). This was enabled by the emergence of “web 2.0”, a new concept to approaching content on the Internet. It is a set of principles and practices with common design patterns such as harnessing collective intelligence, trusting users as co-developers to a website, and most importantly understanding that users add value to systems by bringing others into the discussion. Crucial to web 2.0 is the fact that websites get better the more people are using them (O‟Reilly, 2005).
3.2 Creating and Sharing Content and Viral Marketing Sharing and recommending things that interested them to friends, who also recommend on to others has allowed people to create their own networks, meanings and sets of values within networks and led to a world in which advertisers and retailers can no longer force messages onto the audience and expect them to have an impact, unless they are relevant. Thus, consumers trusting
companies less than other people with similar interests, whether friends or strangers whose opinions they read on the Internet. “Viral marketing” evolved as a new marketing tool, intrinsically social, depending heavily on interconnected peers actively participating within a socially networked system in order to allow content to spread virally (Van der Graaf, 2003). Although there is debate, content must circulate naturally within a network of people as they pass content along, and not artificially „pushed‟ by an advertiser. Context becomes important, even crucial; when a message travels, it may lose its original meaning outside the area of control of its producer (Jenkins, 2009). 3.3 Media, Narrative and Brand Engagement Technological or media determinism suggests that usage of technology conditions social change. As there is no way of proving the extent to which we are influenced or not by media used, we are aware that it shapes our experience through personal selectivity (Chandler, 1996).
Media engagement is two-way: we engage with it and it engages back; we use it and it uses us and particular media matter more than others depending on how they affect the person using it (McLuhan & Fiore, 1967). With one medium serving a variety of functions, it is impossible to choose it for one function alone, making us prone to shifts of intent when using it. One medium is chosen over another due to its ability to formalise experience within its boundaries. When we choose a medium that enhances certain experiences, we may be unaware of the alternatives available and how our choice can inhibit a different type of experience (Chandler, 1996).
The more we engage with a medium, usage becomes effortless and part of routine; upon achieving neutral status we easily forget its primary function, increasing its effectiveness as transmitter (Chandler, 1996). Every tool used is loaded with an ideological bias which helps us construct meaning in certain ways, as predisposition is to value certain things over others depending on our interests and context at a given time (Postman, 1993). Selectivity of media suggests that some aspects of experience are more relevant to us than others (Chandler, 1996). Our media and engagement decisions therefore shape the way content circulates through cultural space, often in unpredictable ways that do not follow a top-down design as the push model suggested, making companies dependent on understanding how and why this happens (Jenkins, 2006).
Narrative engagement means digging deeper beyond the surface of a storyline to understand its complexity. Although a message may be attractive enough to spread from one person to the other, it may not attract all consumers to probe further. Both forms are considered as engagement,
depending on consumer context (Mittel, 2009). The concept of transmedia implies that the mass audience will make use of one of the aspects presented, whereas the meticulous supporter will look at all of them and understand the intertextuality (Peyron, 2010). As not everyone will possess time to probe into the entire narrative to obtain a bigger picture, transmedia storytelling encourages the formation of knowledge communities around it, sharing information and triggering word of mouth (Yakob, 2006). Ideally, no one person can know everything, insuring that in order to gain a coherent picture they must discuss their knowledge with others and discover more by moving back and forth across various forms of narrative (Jenkins, 2006).
Brand Engagement refers to the fact that it is not enough for consumers to simply talk about them and circulate content, but they also need to use brands to talk to others in a way that adds meaning and value to both parties (Jenkins, 2009). Brands and goods are no longer satisfying needs alone, but they become bundles of meaning with which consumers can express who they are and the world in which they live (McCracken, 2005). The meanings assigned to brands or goods change and also circulate whenever content travels in the social world. Producers and advertisers seek to create or add value to offerings by depicting existent meanings within a culture, the transfer of meaning being an active process resulting from a collective effort that starts with designers and ends with consumers. The purpose of advertising becomes moving products and cultural meanings into the lives of consumers (McCracken, 1986).
By actively engaging with content, consumers transform it so it better serves social and expressive needs (Jenkins, 2009), as they act in order to achieve either gratification, social connectedness, personal wellbeing or material gain (Benkler, 2007). Once consumers make a purchase, they are not only buying an end product or cultural good, but buying into symbolic meanings associated with it and a cultural economy that values and rewards participation (McCracken, 1986; Jenkins, 2009).
3.4 Content Spreading and Communities Collective intelligence refers to a new social structure that enables the production and circulation of knowledge in today‟s networked society (Levy, 1997). Attractors draw together likeminded individuals to form knowledge communities, transmedia narratives acting as such activators (Jenkins, 2006).
By actively engaging with content, consumers transform it so it better serves social and expressive needs (Jenkins, 2009), as they act in order to achieve either gratification, social connectedness, personal wellbeing or material gain (Benkler, 2007). Once consumers make a purchase, they are not only buying an end product or cultural good, but buying into symbolic meanings associated with it and a cultural economy that values and rewards participation (McCracken, 1988; Jenkins, 2009). In order to predict the way people will circulate content and spread ideas, it is important to understand how this may affect social relations. A person‟s relationship to the ideas and content they circulate is crucial: not only are companies unable to push a message across, they cannot build artificial communities around brands either. Instead, they have to discover what medium can sustain expressive appropriation and act accordingly (Jenkins, 2006). In order for a message to spread widely it has to engage and serve the interests of both consumers and producers (Jenkins, 2009).
3.5 Criticisms to the Literature While some brands lack the depth that this model requires or simply do not require such level of involvement, in a convergence culture, brands will have to engage with a new kind of active media consumer (Yakob, 2006). Creating a brand message according to transmedia planning rules makes it difficult to achieve a balance between creating stories which make sense to first time viewers and building in elements which enhance the experience of people reading across multiple media (Jenkins, 2006). Also, while people consume content that stimulates them, this may often be a purely emotional response. This does not necessarily represent quality content and brands should be careful not to confuse an instant reaction with a meaningful response.
On the Internet and not only, people are spreading content and ideas when a brand expresses something about themselves or their community or serves a valued social function. Often they pass along content that allows them to express a deeply held perception or feeling about the world or because the response they may receive helps them establish whom they can relate to and who belongs to their community in order to be able to trust them. Spending time with a brand message in a way that is relevant to consumers helps retention and places it in a context that he is familiar with, making it more likely to attract positive feelings
towards the brand. If consumers actively search to understand a brand narrative, it is a sign that the message has elicited a positive response and has helped them create and share meaning for themselves and within their network. With ghd being a premium brand, it must emphasise its commitment to customers. Clients now expect to be able to experience a brand, constant connectivity defining whole generations of consumers.
5.1 Research Philosophy
Seeing how companies have evolved, they have reached a point where they are too complex to follow old models and theories that have not been adapted to the ever-changing world of business. What used to work a few months ago may not work today, just as what works for one company may not work for the other. The researcher aims to capture the complexity of social situations surrounding media and ghd brand communications and to discover details in order to understand the reality behind them. Thus, a phenomenologist philosophy is employed, which refuses any sort of severe generalisation on grounds that studies on behaviour and motivations do not render themselves to such practices. In addition, if we consider that a company is the result of particular circumstances and acts of individuals, and therefore unique, generalisations would be of no value (Saunders et al., 2000:86). A further argument is that in a business environment the era of big theories has ended and that narratives that focus on the where, when and how are now required (Flick, 2009:2). Such a post-modern approach does not offer a universal solution, but rather acknowledges that social life and business will be different from what we used to know (Blaxter et al. et al., 2006:61). As a result, the project as a whole depends on the way in which the researcher thinks about the development of knowledge in general, and the research philosophy will most likely influence data collection, analysis and interpretation.
5.2 Research Approach and Strategy The study uses an inductive approach as it allows theory to follow the findings from data collection. The main argument is that the research wishes to explore why and how people do the things they do, rather than just describe facts; it also provides much-needed context for ghd‟s future brand communications strategy. Furthermore, the approach helps gain an understanding of the way in which people interpret their social world; it does not construct a rigid methodology or create superficial cause-effect links that do not allow alternative explanations for what is happening (Saunders et Al, 2000:89). Based on ghd‟s current situation and the project aims and objectives, the researcher has adopted a small-scale exploratory strategy. As the study focuses on a type of interaction difficult to measure through quantitative data collection and interpretation, an exploratory research will help provide a deeper understanding of media engagement (Birks & Malhotra, 2006), allow for the discovery of new insights into the matter, and assess the common phenomenon of media consumption in a new light (Robson, 1993). This will help brand communications in terms of understanding whether consumers do share content and what interests them enough to motivate them to do so. Particular advantages lie in the fact that it gives flexibility; according to data and insights collected, ghd‟s strategic direction could change. However, this does not mean that an exploratory strategy lacks any strategy at all – it narrows focus down as the search unfolds (Saunders et al., 2000:89).
Objective Identify what media ghd‟s target audience actively engages with and what relevant entry points within the community the brand narrative can use Identify which aspects of the contemporary media environment support the spread of media within the community of ghd users and what would make them likely to share content with others Explore purchasing decision rationale in order to uncover who and what key influencing factors help decide that it is time to buy ghd or to continue buying the brand in order to explain how ghd could benefit from the spread of their content. Observe elements and characteristics of successful online „Self help and style‟ category videos on YouTube platform for the United Kingdom and how these can be adapted and implemented within ghd‟s communication strategy.
Table – Linking Project objectives with research methods
Group Discussions x x
Observation x x
5.2.1 Focus Groups The structure was designed with the first two objectives of the research in mind. Two onehour group discussions with three people each were performed, the researcher acting as the moderator due to familiarity with the research topic (Proctor, 2005:121). Groups included both
males and females belonging to the 20-29 age group; they had similar but not identical traits so the discussion did not stall due to participants agreeing with each other (Birks & Malhotra, 2006:183).
Participants met the criteria of using hair irons on a regular basis and being media active and were chosen through a snowballing technique to ensure familiarity and interest with the topic discussed. A non-probability sampling was used due to the exploratory nature of the research (Proctor, 2005:122) and lack of need to generalise the findings, but rather to reveal information. It began with personal contacts of the researcher who brought in acquaintances in the same age group as further appropriate respondents (Fisher, 2004; Proctor, 2005). This was due to budget restrictions related to the study (Proctor, 128:2005). The discussions took place in a living room which belonged to the researcher and was chosen as a familiar environment so that subjects were more eager to open up (Birks & Malhotra, 2006:184).
Questions were loosely based on media habits, time spent engaging with media and the qualitative aspects of it, trying to get respondents to explain in their own words how they go about reading magazines, watching television, using their mobiles, how they share interesting content, etc. Openended questions were employed, as they allowed flexibility in capturing the insights (Proctor, 2005:44).
Group discussions were employed due to their ability to expose different interpretations to which participants subscribe (Brubaker & Thomas, 2008) and two discussions were considered sufficient. 5.2.3 Participant Observation Observation was employed in order to satisfy the last objective of the project, exploring how the YouTube video platform can be used to benefit ghd brand communications. A number of five influential users in the „Beauty and Style‟ and their followers were studied in order to discover meanings people attach to videos and their content. Observation was also chosen in order to contextualise and extend the analysis carried out and possibly search for new insights (Blaxter et al. et al., 2006:213). The users were chosen based on their geographic location in the United Kingdom and number of total video views in the last month in order to ensure their relevance to the research. The researcher‟s identity and the purpose of the activity were concealed so that behaviour would not be influenced. No other participation was involved other than joining the community. Descriptive observation was employed, concentrating on the participants and their activities, events and sequence, and emotions involved as expressed in the video comments and responses. Past videos were studied with data was readily available, thus there was no case for further need of
information (Saunders et al., 2000). Primary observations included how many videos the users had uploaded since joining, types (beauty, health or hair), products used and recommended, and calls to action over multiple platforms in order to see how influence spread and engagement was sought. Secondary observations included what was said in videos and how the videos were received. Experiential data included the researcher‟s perceptions during the experience.
5.3 Evaluation Methods A content analysis was used, as it is an observational technique used compartment written material into meaningful units. (Kumar et al.1999). Key themes and meanings were identified and extracted to correlate each of the significations in order to determine the overall theme and message being communicated. The most consistent themes were addressed to determine brand communication. Data which did not fit with the researcher‟s assumptions was be accepted, reported and cherished but not ignored as accepted interpretations need to be challenged and eventually demolished. (Blaxter et al., 2006)
5.4 Limitations and Difficulties Special care was taken so that comments were not quoted outside their original context or out of sequence, as conclusions would have been premature and misleading (Blaxter et al., 2006). In addition, quotes are not overused as the point of the research would be lost in the words (Darlington & Scott, 2002:161). Observer bias was avoided wherever possible or kept under control as the researcher was directly involved with the study and complete detachment may not have been fully possible.
6 Analysis and Findings
“Hairstyle is the final tip-off whether or not a woman really knows herself.” ~Hubert de Givenchy, Vogue, July 1985
In this section, results will be commented on and analysed using existing knowledge, relating back to the literature review and where it is felt necessary and relevant new literature will be brought in. The researcher looked for significance, possibility of generalising the results to a larger group, researched the reliability of data and their validity (Blaxter et al. et al., 2006)
Focus Groups Quotes from group discussions (Appendices 1, 2) have been slightly edited, taking out surplus material or inappropriate language, but otherwise the form and content are intact. The two group discussions have been broken down into two big themes, their categories and subcategories, as detailed in Table 2:
Hair 1. Hair rituals and possessions 2. Hair and the mood a. Hair and the outfit b. Hair, time and place 3. Hair, Exploration and Influence Media 1. Information overload 2. Engagement & Social Networks a. Deal Breakers b. Sharing with friends c. Liking & commenting d. Offline to online & back e. Seeking & creating meaning f. Shows & the ritual g. Narrative engagement 3. Media, technology & effects a. Convergence b. Envy & limitations
Table 2 – Analysis Categories
6.1.1 Hair Rituals and Possessions Both groups described their own personal hair rituals, largely consisting of washing hair, applying shampoo and conditioner, blow drying, straightening and sometimes extra products to keep the style intact. Additionally, women mentioned that curls are reserved for special occasions, possibly due to the effort required to style. Every participant owned a hair dryer and a pair of styling irons for individual use; in terms of extra appliances, the women had curling tongs or heated rollers, while men owned facial trimmers.
Their expected lifetime for a pair of styling irons varied, as did brand choice. Those without ghd irons were not satisfied with the lifetime of their current or previous appliances that had not been ghd either. Steph said [about Remington irons] that “I killed them after about 6 months; I use them that much they will just die.” Nathan also said: “I had GHDs to start with but then they broke, then cheap ones and they were rubbish, and finally I got some more GHDs again.”
The main quality sought in hair appliances was efficiency so it would take less time to perform the desired function. In households with more than one dryer per person, the most efficient one was often disputed between two or more people. The women both owned good quality hair dryers they did not want to replace, while men always turned to the better one available. Steph said “Every other one I tried was just rubbish and didn‟t seem to do anything.” Lucy also said [about her boyfriend]: “[He] would not be able to live the house without it. In fact he uses it more than me.” Neil said [about his sister]: “We both use mum's [dryer] because it's awesome. We even end up fighting over it if we go out at the same time.”
Although they currently share appliances or expressed no problem in sharing them with others, including newly-met acquaintances, participants‟ own opinions come first when purchasing appliances and they rarely, if ever take into account thoughts of others using them. A natural conclusion that can be drawn is that the other users do not act as influencers to the purchase. This can be further generalised, assuming people cut down on costs by sharing appliances.
6.1.2 Hair and the mood
220.127.116.11 Hair and the Outfit
Groups agreed that choice of hairstyle must compliment choice of outfit, not the other way around. Unexpected by the researcher, male participants appeared more self conscious about appearance, often to the point of nervous habits, revealing a significantly deeper worry about self image and style. For all but one, work dress code clashed with personal choice of style. Tom said “It bothers me at work because I don‟t like what I have to wear, even though it‟s not that different [from normal clothing]. It doesn‟t feel quite right whereas I think my hair just generally looks
better with what I wear.” Neil said: “If my outfit's looking good, it doesn't matter if my hair doesn't look that good. Hair is an accessory.”
18.104.22.168. Hair, Time and Place
Having mentioned that women curl their hair on special occasions, time and place appear as overall important factors for everyone. Often when going out, they will straighten their hair twice a day, apply products that they normally would not use and if the look does not satisfy, they might not leave the house or display a bad mood, especially if they know they will be around people who judge on looks. It would be interesting to further research when participants consider they look good in grooming process.
6.1.3 Hair, Exploration and Influence
Everyone underwent an exploratory phase, testing different colours, cuts and attitudes. Women started as early as 10-11, while men only began aged 16 or even later, with the ultimate purpose to identify a haircut to suit face shape, often drawing inspiration from fashion and music industries. None had changed hairstyles dramatically in the last 3-4 years, described by Neil as “getting into a groove.” This is important as it reflects in their own current attitude towards hair, almost all but one feeling confident in their choice of cut before and after visiting a hairdresser, without requiring validation from friends or relatives. Lucy also added: “I would feel upset if I had my hair cut and nobody noticed. I want them to notice.” It appears that if there is personal gain or satisfaction obtained from the hairstyle, participants are more likely to experiment. Experimentation can be achieved by encouraging increased usage frequency among existing owners and incentivising non-users into a purchase. Lack of time also leaves little to no room for sophisticated haircuts or advanced hair care and treatments, making most participants feel as if they do not have the haircut they desired. Salon-finish haircuts are thought to be impossible to achieve and out of everyday reach, which is why hairdressers often exert powerful influence over purchasing and decision journeys. This is significant to ghd as the irons enable almost salon-like finishes that can deliver personal satisfaction.
6.2.1. Information Overload
Pressure to cope with too much information in day-to-day life emerged as a recurring theme in both groups; it was not described literally as such, but was an obvious constraint that manifests itself primarily on Facebook, RSS1 and while browsing. It is a significant issue as it can be generalised to a larger slice of the population with similar characteristics and because messages can be discarded or ignored if they come from an overlooked source. On matters of Facebook news feeds, participants agreed that some acquaintances abuse what they personally consider an acceptable limit of posts or status updates within a given period. Usually they were people whom they wished to stay in contact with for further networking opportunities but did not share similar interests. However, noticing such details would suggest that they engage with and participate in website activity more than they initially revealed. Joe said [about ignoring someone]: “Every time he came on he‟d post like 27 wedding albums in a row. He was winding me up”. Tom said: “[People that] update about 20 times a day [with] not emo2 but just totally boring updates.”
Men in both groups identified RSS feeds that they had signed up for but were proving difficult to read, let alone further engage with as another source of overload. Amount of content was the main complaint, yet none deleted those feeds, showing an inherent desire to want to read the articles, should they have time. Joe explained [about an RSS feed]: “It just annoys me; if I don‟t log in for a week I have seven.” Nathan said “Some I'll keep on top and others just accumulate by the hundreds and sometimes I can't be bothered and just mark them all as read.” Neil also discarded unread content, saying: “I know there would be too much to go through even if there's some good stuff in there.” Women did not display similar behaviour, suggesting they filter the information they want to receive more carefully.
Following the act of clicking through and reading interesting linked articles, often participants would lose track of what they were initially looking at. This is dangerous for sharing content online, especially if too many distracting links are available and can be generalised to a wider audience as distractions are ever present. Neil said: “You're not focusing on one thing, you feel oversaturated and think – „What did I actually learn?‟” Nathan further explained and said: “I lose
Really simple syndication Emo (or emotional): people with a tendency to be too easily affected or excited by the emotions.
track of where something is because I can't see the title” and Tom explained: “I might be too interested in what I‟ve just found to bother with [sharing].”
Sharing, Engaging and Relationships
22.214.171.124. Deal Breakers in Social Networks
Both groups mentioned actions that put them off engaging with content or affecting their relationships with others. They described spoilers, spam and privacy issues as real “deal breakers” in some cases, both online and offline. With TV shows such as “The X Factor”, they agreed that Facebook was to be avoided because of the differences in broadcast times and when they would eventually watch it. Steph said: “Because I had recorded it for later everyone would spoil it for me so I just wouldn‟t go online,” and Joe agreed and said: “My friends would go like, „Oh my God I can‟t believe this person won!!‟ all over the place.” This can be generalised to other shows, as well as recorded TV series as more people are unable to watch them during prime time.
Both groups also agreed that quantity and quality of content is important, as an increase in content signals information overload, as mentioned earlier. Nathan said [about using twitter over Facebook]: “I started to like it more because it seemed more intelligent. The people that I follow and share information with tend to be a bit more concise. I ended up hating the Facebook style of "oh, I'm doing this, doing that...doing the other."
Lastly, the big issue of privacy and sharing what could be considered socially inappropriate content on social networks appeared more in Group 2, as participants experienced a higher degree of risk and exposure in their jobs than Group 1. Nonetheless, it can be generalised to a larger part of the population and affects everyone with a Facebook profile as it determines what type of content is acceptable to engage or associate with.
Overall, they agreed that profiles needed a lot of attention, as objectionable content may cause problems in the workplace if it is public, sometimes going as far as disciplinary action. Conversations on delicate subjects, such as politics, often take place in private. Alternatively, participants keep their profiles strictly locked down to the outside, allowing in only people they know and trust. Lucy said [about her NHS position]: “I have to be really careful because of so many people I work with. You say one bad thing inappropriately and get into real trouble.” Neil
explained [about posting to the Facebook wall]:“Sometimes we have arguments about the merits about various political agendas and I know my other friends are not so interested. But it's interesting when someone you didn't realise was interested is actually into [the same thing].” He also expressed worry about blurring the lines, saying [about his girlfriend who teaches]: “You don't have so much control and things you're a fan of are publicly available. She's a fan of Scream pubs and if a parent comes on to Facebook and looks up her name, it might come up that she's a big fan of Scream pubs or other types of pub chains.”Dissonance with other friends who may see a particular message or activity was briefly brought up as participants generally had more personal methods of sharing content in ways that bypassed privacy concerns, such as phone calls, private messages or instant messaging. This shows a desire to engage and share content, creating solutions to fight existing limitations.
126.96.36.199. Sharing Content with Friends
Participants reached consensus on sharing within their network, acknowledging the act has to be personal: targeted and appropriate, so to avoid unpleasant outcomes of any kind. Steph said “I have friends that I have different things in common with so I‟ll find out something and I‟ll know these people will like it [or the others]”.
Because of the way Facebook works, they were aware that mutual friends can see cross-posted content and agreed that repeating the same message when it will be seen by an extended group of people is unnecessary. Joe said “I don‟t spam everybody‟s wall with random stuff” and Neil said [about a video posted to his girlfriend‟s wall]: “It was relevant to her but some of her mutual friends are teachers as well so I can see how it can be useful.” An exclusion rule also emerged, namely that befriending people not met in real life is unlikely to happen. Nathan said: “I don't like the idea of someone I don't know going into my life.”An area worth exploring further and in more detail is whether a stranger in real life can become an online friend and possibly real life also if interests coincide online.
188.8.131.52. Liking and Commenting
Engaging with others‟ shared content appears to be a new form of strengthening a relationship,
as described in the literature review. Groups agreed that commenting on and “liking”3 content shows a degree of interest in another person and enriches the relationship they hold with them. This can be generalised to a bigger group with similar characteristics of interaction. Although it was not mentioned, “Like spam”4 could be considered a “deal breaker” as it dilutes the original meaning of the gesture. Steph said: “The like button on Facebook is my favourite thing. I like a lot of stuff.” Neil also said [about his commenting style]: “[I] make silly comments, like and my posts are very abstract.”
184.108.40.206. Offline to Online
Groups consent that relationships with work colleagues are a separate social environment. The office is a place for trivial discussions and sometimes inspiration for shows but it is unknown whether these conversations carry on online. In context of integrating online and offline relationships, it would be interesting to further observe whether participants would connect with work colleagues or already do on social networking websites, seeing as their social networks are semi-private personal spaces as discussed in “deal breakers”.
Hearing conversations about shows they were not interested in at first, but not excessively as another “deal breaker” shows, profoundly engaged the participants in the broadcast as a result. Steph described the pressure and said [about a show heard of at work]: “Everyone was telling me it‟s really good but it was already on series six and I had never watched it. Mate at work lent me the DVD [and] I watched every episode and I have now caught up online ahead of the UK in the space of about 5 weeks.”
220.127.116.11. Seeking and Creating Meaning
If others manifest a level of obsessive detail for a new show, it disengages participants from seeking out any information on it. Excessive talk and what they saw as unfounded praise strained relationships, both offline and online. Joe said [about his close friends]:“If they were going on obsessively about as if it was the greatest thing ever, I react against it.” There was also a clear negative feeling about new content and jumping straight into a new show, proving that Clicking a “Like” button with a „thumbs up‟ symbol to express approval of a certain type of activity on Facebook 4 The act of “liking” too many things within a small time frame
participants want content they engage with to be meaningful to them. Tom said [describing a new show everyone else but him started watching]: “[They] kept going on about it so much that I just got put off,” and Joe said:“I didn‟t invest any real time in it so I didn‟t know what it was like from the start. It didn‟t engage me because I didn‟t know what was going on so I lost concentration quite quickly.”
Assigning meaning derived from personal interpretation was also a key aspect, both online and offline as opinions of others mattered to some extent, worth exploring further. Participants clearly expressed their own desire to understand a particular item, film or news. Tom said “I used to spend too much time with [people who were] pointing out every little flaw and taking out the magic in it. It made me want to take a step back.” Joe also said: “The problem with the internet everyone can put their opinion on it and it‟s mindlessly soul-destroying.”
18.104.22.168. Shows and the Ritual
Some shows, particularly Saturday night ones were described as almost ritualistic material followed offline during prime time despite online availability. However, participants split time between their computer screen and the TV and surf the Internet at the same time. Posing the question of which engaged them more, the “deal breaking” spoilers put them off checking social networking websites, making the TV a temporary winner. Online talk created pressure and even though they could find out ahead, they wanted to see for themselves.
Conversations seem to be of great importance for big-event TV shows, though some will delay their viewing. Steph said: “It‟s a ritual, every year. Saturday night, with the family, you watch X Factor.” Joe also said: “I never watched the results show because I knew I could find them out online.” He also mentioned [on people spoiling content]: “I have to stream off the internet in the meanwhile.” Their actions appear structured around certain categories of shows which would suggest an underlying value or meaning assigned to them, also worth exploring further (Couldry, 2003).
22.214.171.124. Narrative Engagement
Both groups consented that when something interests them, regardless of format, they seek to learn more before and after their experience, often to great detail but avoiding spoiling it for themselves. Joe said: “I‟m terrible for IMDb-ing5 and Wikipedia-ing6 everything into horrible detail. [I] analyse everything down to its core elements. It gives me real pleasure.” Tom also said: “I look up films based on who‟s made them or who‟s in them particularly if I like the style. Not as much [as to know] what the film‟s about because I‟d rather be more surprised while watching it.”
Blogs and websites also engage participants, who respond by following through and leaving comments or posting articles on their social networks and transforming it, assigning their own meaning in context, as mentioned in the literature review (Jenkins, 2006). As described earlier, they share if it is relevant to them or to people they know. With blogs making content easy to follow, it is also easy to probe further into a matter as described in the literature review. Tom said: “I‟ll probably find articles related to that on some online blog or magazines. Usually spirals from there. I get absorbed and read it.” Neil also said: “You middle click, middle click 7and read through; it‟s like that with blogs, you click and want to see what this other blog has to say.”
Some practices may cause information overload; the level of engagement and interest in the subject may become so high, it transcends any other things participants may have been interested in to the point where they ignore unread content adding up. Time and readiness of availability of other sources often dictate the level of engagement with a certain media type. Neil said [about broadsheets]: “The newspaper is nice to look at but it's a bit slow; if it's [on a train] to Leeds I've got 3 hours to read it all.”
Asked where they source news from, most participants named the BBC, some keeping it on watch nearly all day. However, ways in which they engaged with it were considerably different, as was the context. Tom said “It‟s on my phone so it‟s giving me RSS feeds I can open.” Neil said “Google News, but if it interests me I‟ll go to the BBC,” while Nathan said [about twitter as news source]: “if you heard something's happening, you can verify its authenticity by going to BBC.” Lucy however stated [about her late night shifts]: “First of all I'd hear it just on TV because at work at 5 o'clock in the morning there's nothing else to do, then look it up on the internet when I get home.” This would indicate that level of interest and engagement depends on the location and time of accessing news and that the same story may be perceived differently by each individual, depending on their touch
5 6 7
The act of looking up a film or details on www.IMDb.com (The Internet Movie Database) The act of researching on www.en.wikipedia.org The act of clicking on a link with the middle button of the mouse. This opens the link in a new browser tab.
point. Mood also seems to play an important part in context, as it dictates feelings about content or media. As suggested in the project introduction, the act of „reading‟ does not always consist of reading or paying attention to what is read. Nathan said [about his Metro ritual]: “I get on the train, sit and read - not in detail but it's nice to just flick through and that early in the morning you don't want to be looking at news on your phone. You have to concentrate and squint a bit. It's just nice and easy. It's a light read.” Joe also said: “[I] skim, read sports… don‟t tend read City which is always work and finance…read headlines and stuff. Sometimes I read it from the back to the front, start with the comics.” Notably, Lucy said “I skip straight to the celebrity bit to see who‟s been sick in the gutter,” while Steph even mentioned “I don‟t look for it [news] in particular. It doesn‟t interest me; at my age I couldn‟t care less.”
6.2.3. Technology and its Effects
Owning a mobile device and spending more time on the internet reading free content were the main reasons behind lack of interest in offline media. Both groups agreed that newspapers and magazines are no longer worth buying due to content limitation and free online editions or alternatives. Steph admitted: “I don‟t seem to have the time or the need to.” Joe also said: “It was costing me money, which was a sort of easy thing to cut out…still something.”
As some owned smartphones, they noted that their phone applications reduced engagement levels with the desktop browser. This is likely to be generalised to a larger slice of the population in the future, as detailed in the next section. Lucy said [about Facebook]: “I haven't been on the desktop since I had it on my phone. It‟s just a button and I check it 20 times a day just because I can. [On Saturdays] only phone internet: check Facebook, email, eBay or whatever.”
126.96.36.199 Limitations and Envy
Due to the influence from smartphone owners, others weighed advantages and disadvantages of their own devices. Phone capability limitation was a barrier to increased and more complex usage in
both groups, and there was envy for a better device. This could mean that there is an obvious shift towards more converged, liberating gadgets that will enable more targeted advertising. Nathan said [about his Blackberry Bold]:“I email but the browser is terrible so I tend to find that I'll avoid looking at web stuff on my phone because it's such a terrible experience.” Steph said [mentioning lack of internet at work]: “I can‟t wait for my phone upgrade to come through because you can get Facebook on it, live TV YouTube, all I‟ll ever need on a phone. I might look up the news because I can; it would give me something to do while I‟m out on my fag break.”
Observation Users bubzbeauty, pixiwoo, lollipop26, whatstyleistonickel and filthygorgeousmakeup were studied, namely four female users and one male, all classifying their style in the „beauty‟ category. It is appreciated that data will change over time, but as of February 2010, this was representative:
Total Views (Uploads) 38,892,786 (130) 12,995,351 (161) 10,284,300 (115) 4,506,673 (-) 1,856,615 (141) Comments Per video (Avg.) ~1,000 ~600 ~400 ~200 ~100 Video Views (Avg.) ~400,000 ~110,000 ~80,000 ~20,000 ~15,000
Channel Views 7,950,957 3,463,475 3,773,911 1,111,699 511,693
Date Joined Aug 2007 June 2007 Oct 2006 June 2008 Sept 2008
Bubzbeauty Pixiwoo Lollipop26 Whatstyleistonickel Filthygorgeousmakeup
23 32 23
233,486 95,187 80,850 52,505 24,994
Table 3 – Analysis of YouTube Beauty & Style videoblogs
All five users owned a personal blog, a twitter account, a Facebook page where registered users could either add them as friends or become fans to receive updates. Videos invariably feature calls to action such as „subscribe to my blog‟ or „rate, comment and subscribe‟, occasionally „become a fan‟, which were repeated throughout video content, descriptions and channel pages.
Users always made clear which videos were sponsored and which were independent reviews or purchases via own financial means. The collective feeling of the community is of dislike towards masked sponsorship and it is worth investigating further what would be an acceptable
balance between sponsored and independent videos in order to avoid the phenomenon of „selling out‟8. Creators often accept requests via different platforms from subscribers and anonymously and videos are usually the result of popular demand. When a video was particularly successful or easy to achieve, video replies were posted by other less-known members seeking validation or acknowledgement. Habitual practices included post-trial product „hauls‟ and „favourites‟ videos describing and criticising items collected over a period of time, comparisons mass „drugstore‟ products and often „giveaways‟ where participation was conditioned by either one or all of the following: subscribing, following on twitter and/or Facebook. Choice of products seems to define the collective identity, most users adopting a preference for the same brands (i.e. MAC and Urban Decay cosmetics) with little variety between them, giving the feeling that if a particular brand is not used, overall credibility and authority drops.
Conclusions and Recommendations
“Engagement is all about making it relevant to the consumer” ~ James Speros, Chief Marketing Officer, Ernst & Young
It is now clear that people expect to be able to see and experience a brand online as constant connectivity increasingly defines the general population. With access to multiple platforms, they call for interactions based on equality rather than hierarchy. Coupled with the importance of social media, they expect their relationship with a brand to be conversation-based. As context and consumer-attributed meanings are important, the web presence needs to be considered carefully in a way that is sympathetic to the technology and environment, but at the same time consistent with the brand‟s identity and overall presentation (Ind and Riondino, 2001). Clutter is to be avoided, as should content for the sake of it. A transmedia approach that delivers multiple messages converging into one will exploit the advantages of media assortment and cement loyalty as market fragmentation threatens old business methods. More so, it creates multiple ways of selling to customers (Jenkins, 2006). Drawing from offline strategies, customer service is critical for ghd - exclusivity for the sake
On YouTube: either accepting money or free services in exchange for video advertising.
of it brings little value to people as they seek a feeling of being special in their experience of luxury (Epstein, 2004; Danziger, 2005). ghd‟s brand challenge becomes linking the products to a superior online and offline experience in order to emphasise the company‟s commitment to its customers (Michman & Mazze, 2006). The business challenge that communications must address is to achieve a balance between high exposure and awareness while maintaining control over sales; this avoids commoditising the products and maintains a select customer base while creating desire among the majority of the population (Kapferer, 1996). According to findings, ghd did not strike a chord with its “Thou shalt not borrow your sister‟s without asking” approach (Figure 3; Appendix 2, Figure 3) as sharing is common practice in households. ghd needs to refocus on reinforcing reasons for commanding a price premium and increasing usage frequency among existing users. Deducted from analysis and findings, it must be stressed that “unexpected liberation” need not come from salons or take a lot of time, which they lack. The purpose of recommendations is to engage consumers, teach and instruct them and communicate as part of the experience; those who have achieved a certain personal goal or status with ghd‟s help are not likely to give up buying the brand and will appreciate the enhanced experience (Danziger, 2005:238). The transmedia narrative‟s meaning becomes rewarding their probing and engagement with a proposition that reinforces ghd‟s “unexpected liberation” promise. Since consumers get an experiential thrill out of paying less for a premium product, considering it personal triumph over the shopping experience, they are often ready and eager to search out the best price (Danziger, 2005:238). Also drawing from research results, content created by users pursuing shared interests on online networks represents favourable context for ghd‟s brand communications: information about the value of goods and services reaches members at the right time and connected, likeminded users explore and find relevant content more effectively, amplifying campaign results. Having identified appropriate networks, the approach needs to integrate the online and offline levers: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the ghd website, TV and other offline media as well as salons, with the ultimate goal to reward participants for their engagement;
“Dreams say what they mean, but they don't say it in daytime language.” ~ Gail Godwin, American novelist
Following analysis of findings and conclusions, the "unexpected liberation" approach remains unchanged, but a new communications idea is developed:
"Let the dream unfold”
Rationale: women always have a very clear idea of what their ideal hairstyle looks like and set very high standards for themselves. However, they know they cannot achieve it because there is always something in the way; there are constraints on the time taken to achieve a style, what is appropriate, what is feasible for them, etc. “Let the dream unfold” plays on the idea that you can transform how you look and feel and the styler can give you the style you always dreamt of but never thought possible outside the salon. The “dream” style may often be utopian but it typically draws on influence from pop culture, self image in relationship to others, desires and aspirations and is therefore constantly changing, in line with how ghd stylers can bestow the users with any style they want.
This becomes a teaser campaign to a new limited edition of 1,000 stylers engraved with the owner's name on the handle and bag, as placing customisation at the core ascertains ghd‟s customer focus (Kapferer, 1996); fewer would be too exclusive and could attract negative feelings while more would commoditise the product. Three stages have been identified so that regardless of touchpoint, the message is adapted to the media employed in order to communicate the same idea.
Levers used 5 YouTube beauty and style bloggers; TVCs and other ATL media, OOH Salons PR on beauty and fashion blogs
Purpose Inform the audience about the campaign and to look for the code that they will use in the ghd interactive application; Encourage engagement with the ghd website feature and Facebook fan page as well as purchase of the limited edition styler; Request interaction with Facebook page by submitting blog entries, photos or videos of the styler in action. Publish photos from the ghd style academy event in order to create desire among those who have not purchased and attract aspiring followers;
Timing/ Duration 4 Weeks prior to roll-out
Website (http://www.ghdhair.com) and vanity url redirecting to the website (http://www.letthedreamunfold.com) Facebook ATL media
4 Weeks or longer, until all 1,000 stylers are sold
Facebook Website YouTube beauty and style bloggers
Ongoing following roll-ut
Table 4 – Campaign levers, purpose and timing
1. Above-the-line (ATL) media such as TV commercials (TVC), magazines and out-of-home (OOH) used as teaser weeks prior the limited edition rollout with a creative execution, encouraging follow-up online and in salons (“Follow the dream to see it unfold”) in the near future. To be planned and implemented for broadcast on commercial channels which resonate with the audience, taking into account seasonality, relevance and appropriateness. Will create awareness for both salons displaying codes and the website, the next stage in “letting the dream unfold”. 2. Top 5 YouTube „Beauty & Style‟ video bloggers sponsored with customised stylers with their nicknames or real names engraved on the handles and given privileged access to the “Dream Dictionary” a week prior to the official launch. They will be asked to recreate their dream style with the aid of stylers provided in order to promote the competition Will have a personal code that their followers can use to access the “Dream Dictionary” on the ghd website (i.e. “pixiwoodream”)
Used to create awareness around the campaign and the product Implementation: Users will be approached for sponsorship, seeking agreement to promote videos in exchange for a personalised ghd styler engraved with their real name or nickname. Upon reaching an agreement, the stylers will be customised and sent out to their future owners who will be instructed on mandatory campaign elements to be mentioned, leaving the method at their discretion so that they do not sound contrived to their followers. Mandatory elements include: “Dream Dictionary” concept and how to participate; 10 second start-up time: takes less to achieve the dream Calls to become fans of ghd on Facebook for exclusive content in the near future;
Costs, Timing and Implications: The cost of producing and delivering personalised stylers to five users would rise to £500-£600 including postage and packaging to UK addresses. Setting up a YouTube account is free.
Benefits: YouTube is a powerful channel for quickly engaging customers and producing content that can entertain, inform or both. It holds greatest value in word of mouth due to the number of users reached and provides a touchpoint for responding to eventual complaints and producing branded videos or sourcing them from other users.
Salons that are approved ghd stockists participate in campaign rollout as awareness generators for the ghd website by displaying posters with the customised styler and a call to action to use the codes which are unique to them inside the “Dream Dictionary”;
Blog PR on representative fashion and beauty blogs by inviting authors for a one-day experience at the ghd style academy in order to promote a competition for those who will not purchase the limited edition styler (“aspiring followers”) or were late to hear about the campaign;
It is assumed that the initial reach for teaser will be combined reach of ATL levers (Magazines, OOH) combined with YouTube subscriber views, estimated at 500,000 views minimum and fashion blog audience. This can be measured by counting mentions and online sentiment for ghd.
1. The website is to incorporate a "Dream Dictionary” as main feature instead of the usual home page. It is an exclusive area accessible only by entering a code taken from salon posters or YouTube Style & Beauty bloggers. It is an interactive application incorporating a database of over 1,000 hairstyles from celebrity hairstylists and ghd salons that users will be recommended following a short survey to gauge personality traits. It acts as branded utility: it provides a useful personal experience and adds value to users seeking to translate their dream hairstyle into reality (Contagious, 2008). It is an opportunity to illustrate the “dream” idea in a way that engages different segments within various channels as considerable discrepancy is expected among age groups and from the way in which each person responds to particular cues from the outside when it comes to self image (Elliott, 1994). Implementation: Hairstyles are matched and recommended for comparison based on input; this will help users anchor the “dream” hairstyle in reality, based on existing styles. Users can make amends as a way to acknowledge that the “dream” is in a constant state of change and often reflects the personality or mood the person engaging with it is displaying. A daring style might be recommended to someone who defined their personality as “naughty” but would further be refined if the mood is set to “melancholic”. Once someone completes the process, they are rewarded with £5 off their purchase on completion and move on to the customised styler order page to “live the dream.” However, should they skip engaging with the content the £5 discount will not be applied, leaving the discovery to the user‟s discretion. Once the target of 1,000 appliances to be sold has been reached, the content will unlock for everyone visiting the website but no further appliances will be available. For those who choose not to order there will be a call to action to follow ghd on Facebook in order to receive exclusive updates and rewards in the near future or participate in the style academy draw in order to get closer to their dream style with the aid of a professional stylist; Evaluation: counting codes entered and matching them to the source, salon or YouTube users to evaluate influence of ATL versus online activity, appliances sold per day.
1. Facebook: Although ghd has a Facebook brand page, it lacks any real interaction or conversation with its users. Ghd needs to acknowledge that the people who use the stylers create the brand and build loyalty accordingly; Keeping followers involved even after the promotion ends represents commitment to fans and extra returns; a. Implementation: Having albums showing off the products and photos of ghd fans and their hairstyles from all around the world integrated with status updates, notes and videos to reflect their attachment to the product. Engaging people that like the brand and want to share their opinions and participate in giveaways and contests can create natural word of mouth; Once the campaign has finished, blog posts, photos and videos from fans who have engaged with the website will be displayed. Pictures from the ghd style academy event will be further posted on Facebook to increase the number of aspiring followers who might buy ghd in the future. b. Benefits: Facebook brand pages are great for brand exposure, with 76% of online shoppers being frequent Facebook users, befriending companies on the social network (ForeSee, 2009).
Reflection and the Future
The researcher gained a practical insight in the world of hair care and how people relate to it, as well as the unexpected link between online relationships and personal meaning creation. While it has uncovered that consumers are able to filter ads, a great opportunity to create relevant, interesting content that people will share emerged. It could be said that online, a brand should talk as if it were a real person and that in order to be interesting, it has to be interested in what people are doing. It shows that advertising needs to progress as new media emerges. However, an area worthy of further exploration is how effective this will be in order to help brands survive during a period of sharp consumer spending cuts. Should this communications idea be presented to ghd and the agencies handling the account and be accepted, it will be refined following feedback. If it is approved and signed off, the next stage will be a briefing session and campaign development.
Thanks & acknowledgements
I feel like this paper should be in memory of my mother who passed away of cancer far too soon in February 2008, but ardently supported and encouraged me to attend Manchester Metropolitan University. Before you read the following paper which involves me talking about myself in the third person, I‟d like to make it known that this paper wouldn‟t have been possible without a number of people: My dissertation supervisor Angela Byrne, who was around to email me late in the night when I panicked about proposal deadlines day before; and her amazing knowledge of all that is consumer behaviour and psychology; My former boss and mentor at TBWA\Manchester, Andrew Hovells who has worked on ghd for longer than I have been straightening my hair and knows more about women and their hair than they probably do; My other mentor from far away in Singapore, Robert Campbell from Cynic who has shared his wisdom on hairstyling brands and guided my research and writing down unbeaten paths; My research subjects Lucy, Tom, Neil, Steph, Joe and Nathan whom I have thanked personally but must have to thank again – they were indeed most helpful; My boyfriend Nathan who has constantly provided moral support, gave me time to write, proofread and whom I deprived of my presence for a while as I wrote this document; Faris Yakob, Henry Jenkins (and the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium), Grant McCracken, Bud Cadell and Mike Arauz, whose ideas and research I had privileged access to through their blogs and publications as they pioneered and developed the concept of transmedia planning to what it is today; My parents, family and university, who have guided me and set me on the road to success; My colleagues in university whom I have annoyed with proofreading but made the experience fun; Regardless of this, I am the only one to blame for any faults in the work!
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Appendix 1: GHD Advertisments The Gospel According to GHD
Figures 1, 2
Appendix 2: Focus Group Transcriptions Focus Group 1: Steph (21), Joe (27) and Tom (24) Andrea: So, can you just tell me a bit about yourselves? Your name, where you‟re from, how old you are… Steph: I‟m Steph, I‟m nearly 21, I work full time in a call centre, and I‟m Coventry born and bred...unfortunately; (Giggles) Tom: I‟m Tom, I‟m 24, I work at Eon electricity company, listen to music a lot, play in bands.. Joe: I‟m Joe, I‟m 27, I grew up in Blackpool, went to university in Coventry and now work full in a call centre so going to university worked out great for me; Andrea: You both work in the same place? (Both) Yeah, that‟s how we met. Andrea: Very nice! So just going to go straight into hair styling issues...how often do you style your hair? Every day, special occasions? Things like that… Steph: Every day…at least once. (Laughs) Tom: Same for me, every day, depends how much time I get, how much time I spend styling it but even if I don‟t get time to straighten it I still like to spend time trying to style it. Andrea: And what is it that you usually do? Is it just applying product, straightening it, curling it? Steph: I straighten mine every day but I will curl it and stuff for special occasions or use a wide selection of hair gunk. If I‟m going out. Andrea: We love the hair gunk, don‟t we? Tom: Kind of washing and conditioning it… I have to do that to get it nice, do that and then hair dry with some product and straighten it …occasionally started to use a little bit of hairspray, on special occasions. Just a little bit. (Giggles) Joe: Well I condition it every day but I‟ll straighten it if I want to look good if I go out…I haven‟t done it today. I don‟t do it on a day-to-day basis. Andrea: Do you remember when you first started doing things to your hair? Not necessarily straightening it or styling it but putting things in your hair and deciding it has to look good? Steph: I was about 10.That‟s a friends thing though, isn‟t it? If all your friends start doing it, you start doing it. It was after PE. It was a case of „Steph, why don‟t you try this with your hair?‟ Joe: I‟m not as metrosexual as that … my boy school was..I went to an all-boys school that was stuck in the past I think but I always dyed it lots. I had like peroxide hair when I was about 18. But I don‟t think I styled it especially often. Andrea: So that was just after you finished school. Joe: When I was out of sixth form. Just when I was turning 18. Tom: I think I used to…I wanted to grow it a bit longer which was a bit of an issue with my mum and dad because of religious stuff but it was when I was getting into music a lot really and I wanted it to be longer. Particularly my hair‟s quite wavy so I didn‟t want it to be that wavy, I wanted it to be straight and long. So I sort of started to try hair drying and eventually straighten it. Probably around 15 when it started… Andrea: That‟s the incipient phase…would you say your hair is important to you – as in the way it looks when you leave the house? Tom: Yes. Very. Steph: Yes...Not as much as it used to be, to be honest. I used to have to…my hair had to be done, my makeup used to be on. Now I don‟t care as much but most of the time yeah. Tom: For me I do really care what it looks like. I think now I‟m not as bothered how much I style it as I think it looks alright..I used to straighten it all the time. Still important how it looks, like cut and everything, so… Joe: For me it‟s more like the cut and the colour really, rather than...I want to look fabulous without putting much effort in it. I don‟t straighten it or use hair spray or product that much...I‟m kinda lazy like that. Andrea: I wish it was as easy as … Tom: For me it‟s a matter of time a lot of the time so I try to get cuts where it looks good when you don‟t have to spend much time on it as well Andrea: And speaking of haircuts - is it important to ask opinions of others before you get a haircut and after?
Steph: I do a lot…I‟ll go into work with a selection of pictures and get the girls to tell me what they think… „cause they know better I do. Tom: I don‟t really care what anyone else thinks…It‟s nice if they like it but as long as long as it does what I want it to do...I know what I want it to look like. Joe: I go through phases of really long and then shaving it all off cause I got sick of it, especially as my hair gets impossibly wavy when it gets really long and it‟s always in my face and stuff. Get wound up by it. Andrea: Do you ask her before you cut your hair? Steph: We haven‟t been together that long, we haven‟t done the … (Whispers „I want to shave it off‟) the hair discussion yet. Andrea: So what hair styling items do you own right now in terms of electrical appliances? Not to be mistaken with product! Steph: Hair dryers, straighteners, brand new ones I got for Christmas cause I killed them after about 6 months, I use them that much they will just die…curling tongs. Tom: I‟ve got hair dryer and straighteners… (Thinks) Andrea: Do you both share the same items or…? Joe: Well no…my house mates just give me some straighteners…I went from no pair to two in about the space of two months Tom: I have two pairs of straighteners cause one‟s sort of broken but it‟s bare so I still try to use it sometimes. Andrea: Because it‟s really old? Tom: They‟re really old…they‟re like old GHDs from when they were the best ones...don‟t know if they still are and I haven‟t used them a lot yet...over like four or five years Andrea: How do you feel if you wake up in the morning, style your hair and do everything you can but it doesn‟t look like you want it to? Steph: It puts me in a bad mood. If I don‟t feel comfortable and don‟t think I look alright then I will just go out of the house in a right strop to be honest. Andrea: Like with clothes that don‟t fit you well? Steph: Yeah, exactly. Tom: For me it bothers me at work cause I don‟t really like what I have to wear at work even though it‟s not that different from what I normally wear…but just sort of…doesn‟t feel quite right at work whereas I‟m not so bothered out of work cause I think my hair just generally looks better with what I wear. Joe: I always feel like some sort of falling apart Withnail anyway but I‟ll mess with my hair if I‟m not happy with it almost subconsciously, I‟ll constantly be doing that (Plays with fringe)…just trying to get it out of my face and get rid of the bits that annoy me…whereas I won‟t do that if I‟m satisfied with how I look in the first place anyway. I tend to mess with my hair a lot, subconsciously, particularly at work Andrea: And when it does look good, when you feel particularly great about your hair? Joe: Yeah, I‟ll stop by every car and check it… Steph: I was saying that to him this morning, I was stood out having a fag and I was like …I keep looking at myself in the window and I thought it looked alright this morning whereas yesterday it just looked absolutely rubbish cause I didn‟t do anything to it at all…didn‟t dry it or straighten it or anything, just left it all day. Tom: Definitely does affect you...the way you feel about yourself but then for me the way I dress and the way that feels and the hair is quite important. At the same time, I think a lot more now if it‟s like…if I‟m smiling and happy then my hair looks better anyway. See it kinda from both sides I suppose. Andrea: I know this doesn‟t relate to hair but what is it that you like most about your body? About your self image…something that you like when you look in the mirror? Steph: I‟m not answering that…cause I‟ll just…my boobs. (Giggles) Andrea: There‟s nothing wrong with that! It might be something you like in particular but would like others to notice more? Tom: Yeah, I‟m not bothered, I quite happy with how I am. Unless my hair is particularly bad and I wanted it to be a bit different that day. But I‟m happy with it. Joe: I think I‟ve gone from being sort of…having quite an issue with the way I look to not being bothered at all, that my
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University eyes are too big, my ears are too big…I‟ve learnt to accept it cause there‟s nothing you can do about it. So…yeah. I know that‟s probably the complete opposite of the question you asked! Andrea: No, it‟s perfectly fine! Steph: Whereas I just have no self confidence or self esteem or anything so… Tom: I used to think I had a big nose when I was little but I really don‟t care, now I think it looks fine, so… Andrea: So how do you get ideas for haircuts? Steph: I tend to look for something every time I get my haircut but I think for about the last 6 years I‟ve gone and had the same haircut every time. Joe: Last good haircut I had that I wanted to have was sort of shaved along this side and then just sort of left it longer like in the centre but my hair would never….I liked that but my hair didn‟t…my hair constantly disappeared over this way which is how it is now. The haircut itself was stolen from Stuart Lee, comedian, although he‟s got a totally different face shape to mine so that didn‟t work. Tom: I usually have a pretty good idea of how I want it to be…but that‟s probably from ideas of just seeing people around, films, bands, just thinking “I quite like that style”. I usually then…sometimes if I‟m organised enough I try to find a picture of what it looks like. But that‟s really hard to do so I give up sometimes. And that‟s just what I expect it to look like. Also try to find one that I think will actually work with my wavy hair. If I know what I want it to look like, I look for someone with a similar cut cause I find that they don‟t really listen to what you say, they just do what they think…and they always cut off too much off the back. They try to make you like they made the last 10 guys that had slightly long-ish hair and they think look, this is what you want, this is what you mean so I try to make sure that they know what I mean. You get more insistent about it and they sorta realise…they always seem to want to take more off. But if you want a more unusual one like last time I wanted it a bit longer across this side deliberately, they did it by sort of a few millimetres and you can‟t even tell really, to start off with. I think they‟re just trying to make it more like what‟s acceptable to the world… Andrea: So moving into a different area, where do you get most of your news from? Joe: I use the BBC website and unfortunately the Metro, the bus news wag made by the Daily Mail‟s sister company…filthy piece of trash but nonetheless it sort of gives me an idea of what‟s going on in the world. And it usually has freaky pictures of weird people and that‟s always good. Tom: I use the BBC quite a lot, got it on my phone so it‟s giving me RSS feeds I can open. Also new scientist the same, I got that on my computer and phone as I‟m quite interested in sciency articles. And I get a lot through work as well, it‟s a lot related to the energy industry but there‟s a lot that affects it and a lot of stuff generally going on. And …but I am generally…if I see an article, wherever it is, cause there are a lot of places you‟ll go, like you‟ll go online, if you search for something you‟ll see like a techy article of that sort of thing I get absorbed and read it.. Andrea: Do you click through? Tom: Yeah, I follow things like that. Steph: I don‟t particularly…if the news comes on the TV while I‟m having dinner I‟ll watch it but I don‟t look for it in particular. It doesn‟t interest me…I know that sounds really bad but at my age I couldn‟t care less to be honest. Andrea: What about the Metro? Joe: Well Metro‟s pretty bite-size so my bus journey is about 20 minutes and they usually seem to coincide seems to coincide. Skim past all the crap, any adverts and stuff... Andrea: Sports? Joe: I read sports…I don‟t tend read City which is always the work and finance…then I‟ll read headlines and stuff, yeah. Andrea: Comics? Joe: Yeah, sometimes I read it from the back to the front, start with the comics. Andrea: And magazines? Steph: I found that since I got my car I don‟t tend to read like that anymore cuase I used to buy them to read on the bus. Now I‟ve got my car I don‟t seem to have the time or the need to. Andrea: Do you turn the radio on in your car? Steph: I bought a stereo that I can hook my iPod to...so I don‟t have any interruptions, no news bulletins or anything like that. Just music. Tom: No…Occasionally got like sound on sound which is a music techy type sort of thing but any once in a while if I was going on the train and there was something that caught my eye that was relevant to what I‟m doing. I used to get New Scientist occasionally but now it just seems easier to go onine. Most of what I do, I don‟t buy papers and magazines just articles, really. Andrea: Do you search for news? Go to websites and check if there‟s anything new? Tom: It‟s often based around stuff I‟m interested in myself. If it‟s an idea of how to make something. An obvious one would be now that I have an android phone and I‟m trying to find a way of getting round doing something so I can maybe do something better or like music related stuff, like growing plants and food, something like that…like once I got interested in a hydroponic system which is to fish and plant…so I‟ll probably find some articles related to that on some online blog or magazines. Usually spirals from there. Joe: I used to read magazines constantly. I was buying Q and Melody Maker and maybe Anime at the same time at one point. But then I sort of lost interest because there‟s the internet … so it‟s not so much reliable as a news source…plus it was costing me money, that was a sort of easy thing to cut out. I know it‟s just 3-4-5 quid but it‟s still something. But then on the other hand I found that since I stopped buying magazines that I‟ll buy magazines because I‟m interested in something and then maybe find out about something else, like bands is an obvious example. But since not buying magazines, I don‟t randomly find out about stuff as much as I would if I still bought magazines. I used to read bizarre a lot as well, particularly when I was making collages a lot more. There used to be a lot of interesting stuff to cut out of those, of people who had their whole bodies tattooed like a skeleton or something just for the sake of it. Andrea: What about television…? Steph: I watch everything online „cause there‟s no adverts. I used to have Sky+ and then I moved and I haven‟t got that anymore so I watch everything on the 4od player or the BBC iPlayer. Everything else I just download if it‟s available. Joe: Same…I watch television programmes but on television almost never. I watch iPlayer and 4od…I watch streaming channels, I watch youtube but I almost never watch things when they‟re actually on TV, at the time. Steph: The only things I actually do watch on TV are…what my sister‟s watching like when I come in from work and she‟s sat in the living room and I‟ll sit down with her and watch… Hannah Montana which I secretly like. Tom: Mostly online, it would have to be a pretty special programme that you wanted to see at the time it came on which happens occasionally. But it its mostly online…you can just watch it whenever you want, less adverts. Things like that. A lot of stuff isn‟t available so quickly, like things in America. Andrea: Say there was a show you really wanted to watch and the broadcaster only made it available on terrestrial and not on demand, what happens then? Joe: The only thing I watched on TV as it happened recently was the X Factor on Saturdays. But then I never watched the results because I knew I could find them out online… I still had that sort of in-built laziness around it Steph: Saying that though, X Factor, Britain‟s Got Talent, Ice Skating, Dancing with the Stars, stuff like that I will watch when it‟s on…it‟s a ritual, every year. Saturday night, with the family, you watch X Factor. So that‟s the only thing I will watch on TV even though I can get it online. Joe: Again though, it‟s only the Saturdays. When it became twice a weekend like the X factor was I thought “Do I really want to commit two nights of my life to watching this?” I got sort of lazy about it. Tom: What would draw me in if there was a live show would be, say, if Derren Brown did an actual live broadcast I‟d try to watch that like I did when he did his four shows live…I missed a couple of them as I‟m generally quite busy but even if the broadcaster said they were only ever going to show it on terrestrial or something like that then I know that someone will end up making it available online.
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University Joe: I don‟t think I‟d go out of my way to watch anything. I didn‟t watch X Factor every week cause I‟m staying in a lot of the time so I get sort of drawn into that sort of thing. If I did go out, it‟s not like I would make sure I watched a certain programme first. Andrea: What happens if you go into work and people talk about it? Steph: That TV show Glee, I got quite into that but I watch it online whereas people from work go like “Did you see it last night?” and I‟m like yeah...saw it. Already seen it! Different TV shows like that. Everyone comes in they‟re like “oh, have you seen this, have you seen this? It‟s new!” Well I‟ve watched it online from America so I‟m two series ahead. Joe: See EastEnders seems to be the big thing in my team to watch. But it‟s every day the conversation will follow that pattern. Yeah it‟s gonna be revealed in February. And then Bradley commited suicide. Yeah and then this. But yeah I don‟t think he did it. But it‟s every day the conversation will follow that pattern. It‟s like the conversation is stuck in repeat. It almost makes me feel left out because I don‟t watch. But at the same time I won‟t enjoy it if I watch. I tried to watch EastEnders and it was boring, I followed EastEnders for a while and then it got boring so I stopped doing it. Tom: Personally I go out of my way to avoid watching soaps because I just don‟t like them. Andrea: Would you watch something someone at work recommended? Tom: If it sounded good probably…if it sounded like something I‟d like, I might give it a go Andrea: How do you feel about shows that you are not watching but everyone else is? Steph: That happens to me at work...the new series of (you‟ll laugh at me for this) Grey‟s Anatomy started and everyone was telling me it‟s really good but it was already on series six? Well I‟ve never watched it. Mate at work lent me the DVD…I think I watched every episode and I have now caught up online ahead of the UK in the space of about 5 weeks so that was a good recommendation. Andrea: Do you follow RSS feeds? Joe: I have a lot of stuff RSS‟d into livejournal because I have a livejournal anyway so like postsecrets, Dilbert, dinosaurs but that‟s the only RSS. Don‟t have any to my email because it just annoys me, dunno why. If I don‟t log in for a week I have seven…it‟s just like “f*cking hell…” Andrea: What about Facebook? Ever got news from Facebook? Tom: Not very much, it‟s mostly a sort of friend thing. Friends updates for me. Occasionally because of something I signed up to two years ago or something you get like a thing saying that this artist is playing but you already knew about it but I can‟t think of any news really…maybe it‟ll tell me when the new Dexter season starts but I probably knew that anyway so not really often. Joe: Facebook was where I used to find out X Factors results and because I knew I could find them out that way and do other things at the same time I wouldn‟t watch the Sunday news broadcast, I could just hit F5 and then ...JEDWARD NOW!!! Times five billion. Steph: I would avoid Facebook when X Factor was on because I had recorded it for later everyone would spoil it for me so I just wouldn‟t go online. Joe: I followed wrestling but I can‟t watch that live now because of the difference between America and British times so I watch my shows a couple of days later but I have to stream off the internet in the meanwhile because my dickhead friends would go like “oh my god I can‟t believe this person!!” won all over the place. Andrea: What‟s your activity like on Facebook? Steph: The like button on Facebook is my favourite thing. I like a lot of stuff. Tom: I sort of like it sometimes, I think some people are interesting with what they post and others just bore me out of my mind. Because they‟ve organised a gig that I played...they update about 20 times a day…the cat was sat on my lap and it scratched me…why is it doing this…and then I couldn‟t sleep tonight, stuff that‟s boring. Not emo but just totally boring updates. Joe: There‟s people I have to hit ignore with…a guy called Doc who‟s a photographer for like bands and also for weddings and every time he comes on he‟d post like 27 wedding albums in a row. Had to hit ignore because he was winding me up. As for liking stuff, I do like stuff. Andrea: Do you post? Tom: Rarely…I do want to do more online like a journal but I don‟t see Facebook as the right platform for it. It‟s fine for what it is but it‟s quite sort of in the moment, trivial stuff. Steph: I see Facebook as the best thing to collect all my drunken photos. You go out, someone will take pictures of you and you can‟t remember who took them. Then you go onto Facebook three days later and they‟re on your profile! It‟s Joe: There‟s pictures from when me and Steph went out a few weeks ago. When I woke up and came downstairs the pictures were already on. I only left this place six hours ago and these pictures are already online. It‟s...really sort of sped up. When I was 19 or 20 and going out I had to wait 3 weeks for me to be bothered to go into a shop and get them developed. Whereas now they‟re on immediately. It‟s really crazy how culture has sped up! Living in the future is awesome. Andrea: How do you use your phone? Joe: I have a stupid phone. Steph: Mine does nothing and because my mother and my father have both got iPhones I can‟t wait for my phone upgrade to come through because you can get Facebook on it, live TV on it, YouTube, all I‟ll ever need on a phone and I can‟t wait to get one. Andrea: Will it stop you from going online? Tom: Liberates me from boredom at work. Steph: If I had an iPhone or a phone that could get on the internet I might look up the news a bit more because I can. I used to look on the BBC website at work but now that they‟ve taken the internet off me I can‟t. It would give me something to do while I‟m out on my fag break or whatever. Tom: I use mine quite a bit, trying to make it smarter. Gearing it towards being able to do things easily. Not necessarily Facebook and all that. I use Facebook a bit more now that it‟s on my phone but I‟d like to be able to get a blog going related to music and just be able to sort of update it on the bus, that would enable me to do more. Andrea: Would your friends be interested? Do you think you would have followers? Tom: They‟d all follow it and refresh every five seconds. I would try to make it interesting towards the people that it was geared towards so hopefully! Andrea: Do you share interesting things? Keep to yourself? Joe: I‟ll share it on Facebook or I send links to people I think will be interested in it Tom: The easier it is to share, by just doing it by a click then the more likely I am to do it. Otherwise I might be too interested in what I‟ve just found out to bother to. But you can just send a link on Facebook or email or something… Andrea: How would you decide that someone might be interested in a link? Joe: Sometimes I‟ll post it to my Facebook and if it relates to people‟s common interest I‟ll send it directly to just to them. I don‟t spam everybody‟s wall with random stuff. Unless it relates to me, case in which everybody finds out about it! Steph: Whereas I have friends that I have different things in common with so I‟ll find out something and I know these people will like it or the other will like it... Tom: Yeah...I‟ll do it more specific to the person – it‟ll be something I talked to them about or know they‟ll be interested in unless it‟s something I did, like Joe said, then I‟ll let everyone know. Andrea: To finish with this area...what does a normal, really boring day look like to you? Steph: Stay in bed and stream stuff off the internet. Which is what I did constantly for about five weeks. I need a new TV show. That‟s what I do - I‟ll go through stages, I‟ll really get into a show and watch it all till I run out and then instead I won‟t bother when it‟s one episode a week, I‟ll just wait for a while and catch up again. I love spending the weekend in bed watching rubbish. Andrea: Do you start noticing other things more? Other people talking? Steph: Yes!
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University Joe: Yeah, I‟m terrible for imdb-ing everything. And Wikipedia-ing everything. Andrea: Connecting one to the other? Joe & Steph: Yeah. Tom: Yeah, I do look up films sometimes based on who‟s made it or who‟s in it. I‟ll look up like Wes Anderson, when I watched the Life Aquatic to find out what else he‟s done. I don‟t do it quite as much to watch what the film‟s about because I‟d rather be more surprised while watching it. But I‟d see who‟s made it and who else is in it. Joe: It‟s hard to read Wikipedia without reading all the spoilers about it. It‟s bad if I read the spoilers halfway through reading a book... “Oh no that‟s the ending!!” Smash back, try and deny it happened…” Tom: The reviews they have on stuff...on Imdb you get people...you get a fairly good idea of how many people like it. But even when you get a review on some places that a film was a total flop or something. Still, thousands of people have enjoyed it and in some cases I‟m quite likely to be one of those people who like it. The Spirit was supposed to be a bit of a flop but I thought it was amazing. So I don‟t rely on reviews all the time. Andrea: Do you find reviews useful? Steph: I don‟t pay attention to them. I saw the advert for „The Invention of Lying‟ to have come out on DVD. So my step dad‟s a bit of a ... he likes to download. So I went to him “Are you downloading it?” and he went, “I hate that guy, I ain‟t having that film in my house.” but he downloaded it for me and I think it‟s brilliant and he absolutely hates it but it but I don‟t listen to what other people think, I have my own taste. Joe: I have like...I don‟t internet reviews mainly because they‟re written by idiots. The problem with the internet everyone can put their opinion on it, particularly with things like imdb where you have forums there to put comments on and everyone‟s like “OMG this person can‟t act!!” times trillion. It‟s mindlessly soul-destroying. On the other hand I will check something out if my friends are talking about it and they‟re people whose opinions I respect, they recommend something and I know we have similar things in common. I‟ll listen to that, I‟ll watch it but on the other hand if they were going on obsessively about as if it was the greatest thing ever like it happened with The Strokes, the indie band, everyone‟s venerating them as if Jesus Christ had walked down on the Earth armed only with a floppy fringe and a two node bass line and yeah, when I heard them I thought “these are not especially amazing” but people kept going on about it. So I was like “Fine, I hate the Strokes. They‟re awful” I reacted against it. Tom: I was the same. Lost was like that for me, everyone just kept going on about it so much that I just got put off. Joe: Heroes was like that for me but then I didn‟t invest any real time in it so I didn‟t know what it was like from the start. I wasn‟t very fair on it because it didn‟t engage me because didn‟t know what was going on so I lost concentration quite quickly. Andrea: Do you read into it? How much detail would you look out for? Joe: Obsessively so. I go into horrible detail. Steph: I care less. I hear a song I like on a TV show that I like a lot I‟ll look it up. Then I tend to end up downloading the soundtrack but that‟s as far as I go. Tom: There‟s things I will look up particularly if I like the style of the film or something but mostly I tend to prefer just the magic of any film or series and so only if I think I can find more like that will I look into it and try to find a detail or if I particularly like the soundtrack. But yeah I don‟t look up general details. Joe: I used to like, when I was buying CDs a lot more than I do now, when I used to listen to them I used to read all the credits. They used to have a lot of dorky things like what the words were or who played what on each song. I think I‟ve applied that approach. I think because media is deconstruction based, analyse everything down to its core elements, I still do that. I think it‟s called you see the strings, how programmes are made and stuff. Then films give me real pleasure, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind I like the lighting in that but it‟s such a dorky thing to notice but in a way it gives me pleasure cause I know it to be sort of awesome. Tom: I used to be a lot more like that about bands and music and probably still am to a certain degree but I used to spend too much time with too many people studying media...manga, geek type people. And when you watched a film they‟d be pointing out every little flaw in every little bit and taking out the magic in it. It made just want to take a step back and just enjoy it for what it was. Andrea: Do you share your styling items with other people? Steph: I share all my stuff with everyone. It doesn‟t bother me at all. Joe: Well my hair straighteners are second hand as I‟ve said. Tom: I‟ve shared my straightener with Joe before, and Nath. Steph: Joe robs my hairbrush without asking but apart from that I haven‟t got a problem. Joe: You rob my shampoo and conditioner without asking! Andrea: So how do you decide when to buy new items? Steph: I tend to buy the new stuff when I run out. My hairspray and shampoo and conditioner I tend to keep the same but it doesn‟t bother me if I use someone else‟s which is different. But with hair gunk and styling items and stuff like that I tend to change my mind just like that. I will go round a shop and read the different things and see which one appeals. Joe: I‟m allergic to panthenol so that‟s an ingredient in a lot of stuff. Pantene is one of them. And that‟s how I found out I was allergic to that. Only certain types I can buy so my choice is almost dictated. Hair straighteners are second hand as I‟ve already said. I got balsam cause it was recommended to me...from Lush and it‟s called Goth Juice and apparently it‟s made from the tears of Robert Smith but unfortunately I almost never wear it because I‟m quite undisciplined with my hair most of the time. Only since I met you it‟s become fabulous. Steph: It rubs off! Tom: I buy mine if I think I have a need for it, if I think I want my hair to do something differently or what I‟m using is no longer doing the job properly. My hair seems to work well with something for a while and then get bored of it so that‟s when I change. Andrea: Hair appliances – how do you buy? Steph: Hair straighteners I‟ll buy when they break so I took the advantage over Christmas to get a really awesome pair. But hair dryers - Haven‟t replaced mine in ages cause it just nukes your head. I don‟t want to replace it „cause every other one I tried was just rubbish and didn‟t seem to do anything. Joe: Appliances – as I said, mine have been handed down. I suppose I will get some more when they eventually expire, yeah. Tom: I get them when I need them or if they break. Maybe if I had a new hair style I would need something a bit new for it. Andrea: How would you decide what brand to buy? Steph: With hair straighteners I‟ve always had Remington so I tend to stay with them, stay roughly in the same price range and obviously they‟ve improved by three or four different ones since the last pair that I‟ve had. Tom: One that I know is good or I‟ve tried, possibly. Try not to get sucked into all the mega sort of stuff they say it‟ll do but probably don‟t. I want to go for something quality cause it‟s something that you want to use properly. Andrea: How long would you expect its lifetime to be? Tom: Should last as long as ...should be at least a couple of years at least. Steph: Whereas with me you‟re lucky if it lasts a year. I do it twice a day sometimes. When I got my hair cut and have my big side fringe put back in I‟ll do it twice a day. Andrea: Last question...if money wasn‟t the object, what would you do? Steph: Buy an actual hair stylist that could do it for me. I‟ve straightened my hair for years now but I still don‟t think it looks good enough so I‟ll put it up in ponytails or put it up, in pigtails or something. Tom: I have no idea; I don‟t really know what‟s around or anything. If I wanted to get some more or mine broke, I‟d look into what was best and probably ask a couple of friends who straightened it out all the time to see what worked well. Andrea: What about hairdresser recommendations?
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University Tom: It would be nice to have something that someone‟s used to style your hair best instead of just cut it and then match some products to it. But I‟m not that bothered. Only if I had quite a lot of money. [Thanks and closing talk followed] Focus Group 2 - Neil (26) , Nathan (29), Lucy (29) Neil: I'm from Coventry, born and raised, 26, I went to Leeds university for 4 years, did engineering and now I'm back in coventry working with my friend's dad. It's going awesome in acoustics. Lucy: 29 years old, born and raised in Coventry, lived away from home for ...how long now...about 12 years and always lived in Earlsdon since. Probably in every street. Left school, travelled the world, come back, decided to do nursing and I don't really know what else to say. What do I love? I love makeup, buying things for me, buying things for other people...if they're good. Nathan: I'm Nathan, I'm 28, nearly 29, I was born and raised in Coventry like my fellow companions here and I've lived in Earlsdon for the last 10 years. I work as a computer sys admin (that's not actually my job title but my job title doesn't really mean anything) and I didn't go to university cause I messed up my A levels. I worked my way up from the ground. Andrea: How often do you style your hair? Neil: Now? Andrea: Last week Neil: Probably just before I go out, I only went out two times last week so literally shower, then just dry it and that's it. I might have a little trim...I trim it every so often. My mum made a mistake - well, mistake; she got me a razor for my face so I could trim my beard but then I got a bit bored so I started shaving my hair. And then just...that's why I've got half of my hair missing! Lucy: What happens if someone buys you wax? Neil: I've got a bit of wax an a bit of hairspay. Nathan: I style mine every morning because when I have a shower and my hair gets wet it goes very curly so I have to straighten it every morning. Which is a real pain in the ass and it takes ages because my hair doesn't straighten easily at all. So I do that every morning before work, I get up at mostly 6 AM every day because I have to be in Birmingham for 8 AM. I'm there doing it in the dark, half asleep. I'd usually straighten again in the evening if I was going out somewhere. If I sleep on my hair the next it will always need straightening again, I don't have that thing where it looks better the next day. It starts off good in the morning then it just gets progressively worse. Lucy: And mine...the only time I do bother with it is when I go out. I just wake up and it's pretty much perfect. Straight, don't knot. If I really want to make an effort it will be before I go out. I'll curl it, flick it up a bit. Andrea: Do you remember when you first started styling your hair? Neil: I was ...it was just as I was going from year 11 to sixth form. I used to do crazy spiky hair. Proper enormous. I started using gel when it was short but gel wouldn't hold so I used to mix half gel, half PVA glue to spike my hair up. I used to get up at 6 in the morning and dry it. I used to have crazy, crazy hear. Lower sixth and...there's another guy who's a year above me. He used to do the same thing but he used super glue so we used to swap tips. Andrea: Like with a mohawk? Neil: PVA washes. THey use similar chemicals in gel anyway and it just washes out. Andrea: Did it damage your hair? Neil: Nope! Nathan: I remember first using gel when I was in secondary school, early in secondary school. All the kids did the wet look gel thing. Neil: Was it a friends thing? Ross used to have a little quiff there. Nathan: When I first discovered styling, did it properly in 6th form or just after when I went to the proper stylist's, not the barber. He suggested straightening and I thought it was rather strange but then I was like "Wow, it's the look I've always wanted!" And vver since then I grew it long and then short again, but sort of straightened it ever since had it straightened one way or another because otherwise I've not been happy with the way it looked. Lucy: Styling my hair...when I was about 11 years old I'd get my mum to put my hair up in rags. Just a way to curl it basically...too poor to afford curlers, you see. I used to do that and have my hair braided. When I started secondary school. My mum used to have crimpers and we used to mess about. I was the only girl and she was like "oh, I can mess with my daughter's hair!" She used to crimp it up for me then. I used to have this style where it was part braided and the rest of it was curly. Nathan: I had my hair braided once when I was at Reading festival. Neil: After I started to spike my hair it got so long that I stopped doing it so I started to plat it. My friends had dreadlocks at the time and I didn't want to go for dreadlocks because I had heard bad things about damaging your hair. It was good if you were into headbanging. Andrea: How important is your hair to you in terms of asking for opinions of others? Neil: Probably less now than it used to be, especially when you get a new hairstyle. You get into a groove and think I wanna have the same thing. I was like that when I was younger and got a new haircut, worried that, "does it look good, what should I do?" whereas now it's just like I don't care. I like the fact that I can shave half of my hair off and people take me seriously still. I quite like it but yeah I think less now. I don't really care that much about it. Andrea: Do you ask anyone about it? Neil: Sometimes. When I was younger I used to look in magazines, FHM and that kind of thing and pull out pictures. It never turned out like in the picture. That's the thing, you don't look like them. You know, what's it like, grew out after a couple of days. Nathan: Same again for me, less these days than I used to. I just go for the look that I want and I don't care about what other people think, really. I will ask friends about it afterwards to see if it's not completely rubbish. Andrea: Compare it to haircuts in the past? Neil: You get used to being taken the piss out of you so you get immune to it. Nathan: I find that when I go to work, people will tell me whether I want to know or not...good thing I work with some quite down to earth people. They'll let me know what they're opinion is regardless Lucy: "What the hell have you done with your hair?" Nathan: I work with a gay guy so he'll give me his opinion whatever. Lucy: I've never been very exciting with my hair so I've always had the same haircut so I don't have to ask anyone because I don't really bother with it. I would be quite upset if I had my hair cut and nobody noticed, though. I would want them to notice but I wouldn't really bother asking before I've had it done. It's normally on an impulse that I'll have my hair cut. Andrea: What hair styling items do you own? Appliances... Neil: Hair dryer - I've been through 2 pairs of hair straighteners. I went through some cheap Remingtons, got them from my sister I think and then I got some GHDs a couple of weeks...and then just like and then a mini hair dryer type thing. When I used to have really long hair. It was just like, I had to cut it off - when you work in front of a computer it gets in your face all the time. It took so long to dry. Nathan: I have a hair dryer and a pair of ghd's. I've been through 3 pairs. I had GHDs to start with but then they broke, I had some cheap ones and they were rubbish and then I got some more GHDs again. Steph: Last time I went to the hairdressers and they did a really good cut on me and they told me how to style I ended up walking out of there with about fifty quid worth of hair products. I had to pay about sixty pounds to get my hair cut as well.
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University Lucy: Can you tell the difference between GHDs and cheap ones? Neil: Yes! You can.. Nathan: You can, really They just don't straighten as well. Apparently it's due to the fact that they stay at a constant temperature, whereas others works on a thermostat principle they get hot, they cool...that's what the hairdresser told me. Neil: They're quite good at replacing them I've heard. It was 100 quid and I thought ermmm, hrmmm.. you kinda feel a bit guilty if you think the things you could spend £100 on. But my female friends, when they come round, they're like "Oh, you have GHDs! Can I use them?" My sister has been stealing my straighteners too. Lucy: I've got a hair dryer - an amazing hair dryer that's just fantastic and some straighteners I bought...when I had my fringe cut into my har you need to be doing something with it. And some heated rollers that are really really good because yeah. The only things that I found that can keep curls in my hair. Nathan: If you straighten your hair every day you want to spend the money to make sure that it happens quickly and it gets the job done. Neil: Yeah, it heats up in 15 seconds! Right, I'm gonna start. Also I have a facial trimmer. Nathan: I use the facial trimmer just so I don't have to shave so often as I find shaving a real chore. Andrea: How do you feel if your hair doesn't look good enough in the morning? Neil: It depends on where I'm going. If I was going out 'out' and it wasn't quite looking how I wanted to I'd be like (moans) "Oh no, my hair isn't right!" but less now than I did when I was younger. Then I used to take little pots of hair wax and have mini hair sprays in my jackets so I can rearrange it in the toilet. I think it's because I went to Leeds University, it was the home of the scenester. Seeing people do their hair in the toilet was a regular thing so I think I took it from that. Because I've always had crazy hair styles it's part of my identity but less now. For me it's less of a bigger issue. In a professional setting you wouldn't go out with crazy hair. You get to a point...it just doesn't matter. Andrea: If you have to rush out of the house? Neil: That's fine...I wear a hat at the moment. Nathan: It bothers me if I go out in the morning and it's not right. I wear a suit to work and it's all kind of like...the image. If I haven't had time to straighten it properly, I'll get to work and think bleah...I know I shouldn't be bothered that much about it and it probably doesn't look as bad as I think it does but I like to go in...part of my getting ready ritual. I like to look professional Andrea: Do you feel other people's gaze and imagine that they look at your hair? Nathan: I think I imagine that they're looking at me but they probably aren't...they're thinking...it makes me feel more self conscious if I feel my hair isn't looking good, I'll feel more self conscious about it but the reality is that probably no one really cares. Neil: They probably care about their own hair. You condemn most in others what you fear most in yourself! Nathan: Sometimes it can be the opposite, someone might compliment you on your hair and it changes your frame of mind. When you were proably thinking it wasn't that good. Andrea: Does that affect you? Nathan: Probably does for a little bit but then I forget again. Lucy: For me, I've normally got about 3 seconds to get out of the house in the morning. I won't even have a chance to wash my face, let alone look in a mirror. I don't really have to care that much because I work with people that probably don't wash for months so it doesn't matter if I look rubbish. But if I go out somewhere and I'm going to be surrounded by people who will judge me on my looks, I can really get...I'll get really upset if I don't look nice or I don't feel that I don't look nice. I get upset to the point where I won't want to go out because hair isn't nice. It's more for me...for...what I think people are going to be thinking. Neil: "The indefinite others" Andrea: You talked earlier about Inspire... Lucy: I couldn't go in there if I thought I looked like a tramp. Everybody in that place - and I don't care what anyone says - gives a crap about what they look like - they do, they totally do. Neil: I found it quite laid back... Lucy: No, you have to have a certain look when you go in there! Andrea: What about when you think it looks absolutely fabulous? Neil: It doesn't really change the way I interact...there was a time when it really worried me, when I was a bit younger, in my twenties. I had other issues then in my life. At the moment I'm much more accepting of other people. I can tell when people are feeling self conscious. One of my friends has been on a journey for the last couple of years, he's been trying to break out of his shell because he's really, really shy and all those little things make you realise that they're so insignificant. But if it's looking good, it's looking good! I always look good! Andrea: Do you want others to notice it more? Neil: I just know it myself. Nathan: I wouldn't care about what other people said, it makes me feel better if I know it looks good. I wouldn't be bothered if it made people say anything or not. Lucy: I'd like it if someone told ME I looked good. Nathan: If you know yourself that you look good it sort of makes you feel like everything's zen you know. Lucy: I just walk like the mac daddy if I think I look good, and then pout a bit more. If someone says "you look good", I can say "I know!" Neil: Clothes would come before hairstyle. If my outfit's looking good, it doesn't matter if my hair doesn't look that good. My hair's quite thick so generally looks like whatever. I do have long-ish curl so it tends to curl again but generally if my outfit looks good, hair is an accessory. Andrea: What do you like most about your body? Look in the mirror and think "I like what I see!" Neil: Good question...my hair! The back of my head that I can't see. That's a good question. I like to think that I'm an allrounder. For me personality is an important thing. I never saw myself as a really attractive person so I've always used my personality to get...you know, as my...you know, if you were chatting to girls. It wouldn't be my looks, it'd be my personality, being fun and leading. I always think that appearance is the moft to the flame. I've talked to some really attractive girls but there's no substance behind them..it's like a front. Lucy: But if you had to pick a part of your body now? You know what everyone's just dying to say. Is anyone going to say it?! Neil: I like my body because I go to the gym quite a lot but I don't go around showing it off. Lucy: I suppose...I love my lips but I also really like that I'm tall because then it doesn't matter how fat I get, I always look thin and gorgeous. I can see in gigs. But I do like my face actually. Nathan: I can't think of a part of me as being my favourite. I like being tall and having a slender frame because it's hard to get fat and people are always jealous of my metabolism. I would like to be more muscular but it's hard for me to put it on. If I was to look in the mirror, if I'm in a good mood nad I look in the mirror and smile, I think I like a nice smile. Andrea: How do you get ideas for new haircuts? Neil: Now I'm much more adventurous because I don't care what people think about me. I'm much more likely to do something crazy. I don't think I could do something normal because I like standing out. I've got a few friends who are quite into fashion. My friend James works in Topshop and dresses the models and that kind of thing. Got a friend Steven in London who dresses shop windows...sort of take tips from them and then...always looking at gay guys is a good idea for haircuts. I got this idea to shave my head off as a nod to the 80s, like Tears for Fears because they had a sort of similar thing. Andrea: So mostly fashion. Neil: In Leeds i used to be obsessed with fashion magazines. Mainly cause of the city - I spoke to my sister about it „cause I was having difficulties at the time with a bit of depression and I used to take a lot of cues from external things. Now I'm quite into my trainers...I've got a growing collection of special edition trainers. I just bought some Golas.
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University Generally it's just what I like. I think fashion and music go hand in hand. You see bands and that kind of thing. I'm not the sort of person that looks to things...music is just another product. You could look at someone who's an amazing banker the same way you could look like someone who's an amazing musician. They all have their trade, their craft. When I was younger I wanted to be a musician but as I got older I realised you can't make any money out of it. My other skills were perhaps more valuable and so I looked less to musicians 'cause I was always competing with them for girls. There were always musicians hitting on my girlfriend so I thought 'I gotta be cooler than they are'. The guys in bands, they need you to know that they're in a band. They can only be themselves if they are. There's a guy called Jimmy Western, he's in his late 30s. Everybody has to know...he plays big venues. I aspire not to be like them and be totally self inspired. Lucy: I go for the same hairstyle all the time but if I did see something on someone similar to me and I thought it looked good, I might, possibly give it a try. Andrea: Celebrity? Lucy: No, I tend to go for something more practical like something that's going to balance my face, I have quite a long face so there's only very few haircuts that will suit me. Tend to stick to the same things...I'm not really influenced by...actually, I do. I love Cheryl Cole's curls so if I could get my hair curly like that, I would. Yeah, I suppose. Celebrities and magazines and TV and that...all of those. Nathan: I know that I drew inspiration for at least 2 of my haircuts from 1 particular person and that was Matt Bellamy. Don't think it was a conscious thing, as in I like him so much I must replicate his style. I just thought the hairstyle was cool. It just so happened he got a haircut and I thought that was cool too! I wasn't following an evolution of his hairstyle. For other ideas I just tend to notice people around me. You do tend to notice other people in fashion but you might not be consciously looking to see or find a hairstyle, you just happen to notice and get ideas from that. Andrea: How do you feel about sharing appliances with people? Neil: I don't mind sharing them. The first time someone used hair straighteners on me was a girl I used to live with. She was in fashion and she like proper straightening so I thought 'woah, that's amazing'. My sister steals my stuff now and then..same with me, when my other hair straighteners broke I used hers. Then I used my mum's hair dryer because if you want to be quick it's awesome. Nathan: People have used my straighteners when they've come round. Like when a girl comes round and thinks "oh you have GHDs, can I borrow them?" Lucy: No prolem sharing...Tom would not be able to live the house without drying his hair. In fact he uses them more than me. Andrea: Are you the person that decides to buy? Anyone has the word? Lucy: None of his business! If I was to go buy a new hair dryer I would take his opinion in if he thought one was better, then yeah. Nathan: I don't generally share them with one particular person so I just buy whatever works for me. Neil: Sometimes we compare notes, me and my sister still live together, we all used to have the exact same hair straighteners because we knew what they were like whereas recently we got different ones and we compare. But we both use mum's hair dryer because it's bloomin' awesome. We even end up fighting over it if we go out at the same time. That kind of appliance you buy thinking it's going to last for years...The decision to buy my GHDs was a spur of the moment thing. My barber...I kinda did it for him because he was going through a rough patch financially and he makes like £30 off them. I didn't really have a need for them but also I'm the first person that has GHDs so I can be like "Yeah...". The thing I love about them is how fast they are. The brand name was also...everybody talks about them in a way. I hang out with many girls, it's good bragging right in a way. "I've got GHDs!" I'd say that was the biggest influence on the buying decision peer recognition and also what was available at the time. Andrea: Was it because they were only in salons? Neil: Just word of mouth. Couple of my ex girlfriends had them and I had used them and they'd be good and that kind of thing. Nathan: When I first had it straightened it was when I had a haircut and he straightened it for me and I was like "I want it to be like that" so I'll have the same ones you've just used. The good thing right now would be to have those that produced the same effect. Andrea: Where do you get most of your news from? Neil: The internet. Google news. I've got a lot of custom like search thing. I've got one for google android and a few sort of acoustic kind of things. Click on the first one that comes up but if it's an article that interests me I'll go to the BBC or like a trusted news source like reuters. I like to read around the subject because it's difficult to find an unbiased opinion. There's no writing that's unbiased. If it's something I don't know that much about I'll jump to wikipedia and if it's a breaking news article like Haiti I will read a lot more. The thing is I always take what I read with a pinch of salt because nothing is unbiased. Reading around, getting all the data. Andrea: Is it always on? Neil: It's on iGoogle, it's the first thing that pops up with my mail and my calendar. Facebook and twitter as well are kinda good sources...you get breaking news from your friends. I heard MJ had died off Facebook. Lucy: Me too! Nathan: I must admit...I found that if you're trying to find out exactly what's happening with something is to have a quick look on twitter and do a search as the quickest way. If you're interested go even further. It might not be completely accurate but if you heard something's happening, you can verify its authenticity by going to BBC news. Quite often it won't be there yet because it's so new. Lucy: I suppose first of all I'd hear it just on the news at TV because at work at 5 o'clock in the morning there's nothing else to do other than sit and watch the telly unless you want to read the Sun or whatever it is that they buy. Watch it on BBC news first and then look it up on the internet when I get home, on Google. Andrea: Do you follow them on your phone? Neil: If I get bored I'll go on the phone but because I work 5 minutes away from my house so I don't have the time. I might do if I'm on the train but there's a few blogs I read everyday, like lifehacker... Nathan: I base all my reading around Google Reader. I just have loads of RSS feeds that I capture. From that, if I find something interesting I will probably go to the original source site. Click through the link. I tend to group my different categories together so for example you mentioned taking everything with a pinch of salt sometimes you can read it on one blog, you'll look on another blog to see if they've got something similar and get the actual picture. Andrea: Newspapers? Neil: My parents get a newspaper twice a week, especially the Friday and Saturday. I tend to look in the supplements a bit more because they have good film and literature supplements. Especially in the Guardian, a bit more weird, wacky stuff that they report in there. The newspaper is nice to look at but it's a bit slow. If I want something quick, know what's going on now, the internet is really good at that. I've never really read tabloids, it's always been broadsheets. Sometimes if I go on a train I might buy a broadsheet. If it's to Leeds I've got 3 hours...time to read it all cause there's so much there. I used to read it every week when I was at uni and it was like 20p. Lucy: I don't ever buy them, nobody does in my house either. Just what's at work and tabloid once. Or on the bus when I'm coming home. Nathan: I never buy newspapers but I do pick up the metro, get on the train, sit and read the Metro..not in detail but it's nice to just flick through and that early in the morning you don't want to be looking at news on your phone. You have to concentrate and squint a bit. It's just nice and easy. It's a light read. It's perfect. I don't buy newspapers because I see everything online. Andrea: How do you read? Lucy: I skip straight to the celebrity gossip and see who's been sick in the gutter.
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University Neil: The first thing I always click on is the sci-tech bit and then I'm more interested in world wide sort of politics than local ones. Local politics is very much tit for tat whereas the global stuff tends to be more interesting. Bigger issues. Andrea: Bigger things happening somewhere else? Neil: Especially on the TV it's much like national news...there's a regular german news blog that I read quite regularly. I always planned to go to Germany. It makes me feel like "One day, I'll go here!" But always sci-tech and then some usual blogs. Andrea: If you have an RSS feed and gather unread items after a few days, what happens? Neil: I do...there's some music blogs which I subscribe to in google news reader and a couple of them only post a couple of times a week but there's one that posts several times a day and it's like thousands of items. But I don't go through it. I know there would be too much to go through even if there's some good stuff in there. Nathan: I have some RSS feeds that I'll keep on top and others that just accumulate by the hundreds and sometimes I can't be bothered and just mark them all as read. Sometimes I will go through, if I've got enough time or I'm bored. In case I missed something I might be interested in but I usually jump straight to technology blogs, then some news secondary to that. First thing I look at is updates from my technology blogs. Andrea: Television? Neil: I don't watch television. I've recently found iPlayer and 4od which is good. Then I've got adblockers cause I don't get any of the advertising. It's one of the reasons why I stopped watching TV. I don't like the idea that someone is trying to tell you what to buy by making you feel inadequate. I just find that whole mentality ...see how it affects other people, my sister's like that, and my mum. They see a makeup product on the screen and just..I stopped watching purely because of the advertising. We've only got on TV. I watch a bit of iPlayer but mostly iPlayer and the Daly Show in America which is satirical news so I catch up with that but generally I don't watch that much. Nathan: Since I had a new TV recently it's more of a novelty than anything else because I've never had freeview in my life before so all of a sudden I've got all these free channels. But I tend to find that I get annoyed with adverts really quickly so most of my watching is movies or documentaries. It's something I can control. Neil: I did a lot of illegal downloading before iPlayer. Is it illegal if you download them and pay your licence fee? Less now because 4od and channel 4 and seesaw was one of them. It is advertising that stopped me watching. Spotify - have you been on spotify lately? I found a little bit of a hack that strips the advertising. I also found a way to rip them without the names so you can get all the tracks. Ever since adblockers came out for browsers it's just been really nice. I turn them off every now and then to see the things I'm missing. Sometimes you type something in Google and all these random sites come up and you think "Oh, I'm gonna click on one of them!" Nathan: I feel sorry for people not using it. Neil: Yeah, with everybody I know, I go "you're not using adblocker?" and I'll go install it for them. Lucy: I haven't had a TV since I left home. Watch it at work for a couple of hours and that's it. Licence is ridiculously expensive. Neil: You don't have to pay for a TV licence if you only use iPlayer. I really like dispatches about afghanistan and one about maths in primary school which I was interested in through my girlfriend because she's interested in becoming a primary school teacher. Generally finding out about the world. I don't like soaps, a little bit of comedy - The Cleveland Show which is slightly different but quite nice. I download South Park when it's showed in America a couple of hours after the show. I like to 'be there'. Nathan: I'm like that with all the series. Lucy: You know that those shows do have product placement in them so you can't get rid of them. Neil: Not so much in cartoons like family guy though. Andrea: But it does create a level of awareness? Nathan: Yes, it does. Neil: Sometimes it's a fun satire for advertising Andrea: About Facebook. How do you use it? Neil: I joined it about 2 years ago. I was in the hospital with a broken foot and I thought right...unfortunately I lost my university email address just as I found out about facebook which is quite a shame really. But I use it quite a lot. I treat it like a news feed for your friends, a bit like twitter. Andrea: How often do you check? Neil: I do a little bit on my phone. I check it more at the weekends, maybe three times a day if it's on my phone and I'm out just to see if people are coming out. In the week maybe about 3-4 times. Andrea: Do you comment? Neil: Make silly comments, like them, I like the fact that my posts are very abstract. Like my last post was something about swapping old magic beans from an awesome cow. Really random things Andrea: Twitter? Neil: A little bit...because I use facebook a lot. I use twitter as more of a news search. In our company we've been using it, I say what I'm doing at the moment and my boss can check it when he;s out of the office. Because it's just me and my boss and we get on really well Nathan: I signed up to facebook quite early but in the last year in a half I barely used it. I got sick of all the apps and the invites and the kind of people saying I'm having a dinner now and watching tv and babble. I got a bit tired of that and all the random invites I got from people that I knew 20 years ago and will never want to talk to ever again. I will probably log in to check any messages I've had but I don't really like it. Lucy: I check it about 20 times a day because it's a button on my phone. Andrea: Like or comment? Lucy: I don't.. Andrea: Stalking? Neil: My girlfriend's like that, she finds out all sorts of interesting things. Lucy: I do facebook stalking, definitely. You know when they changed all the security settings you could look at people's photos that you weren't friends with so I went through all the people I knew. I love facebook stalking. It's because at work and at night you have nothing else to do so you end up checking it all night. Just because you can. Nathan: I started to like twitter more because it seemed like a more intelligent way of twitter sharing information. The people that I follow and share information with tend to be a bit more concise, sensible about it. It's not about "I'm doing this, I'm doing that", I ended up hating the facebook style of "oh, I'm doing this, doing that...doing the other" Neil: I think it's quite nice to get an idea what people are up to at night. I think people do it less now than they did but I experimented with a facebook group where I added usual people I went out with, created events that would link into things like google calendar. So instead of messaging everyone ...text messaging is so ancient...there's gotta be a better way of communicating. Send it individually, then send it individually back? You could use the group on facebook to mesage everyone up to see where everybody was. Andrea: Do you chain text? Neil: got like so many thousands but I never get through them, just burn them on a group of 10 people and see what everyone's up to. Nathan: The ultimate of that would be to have Google latitude to see where people are in town. Neil: But you can't do it on a basic phone and it does drain the battery a little bit and you need to know how to set it up and have a google account. Nathan: It's not accessible for the day to day phone users I suppose. Neil: It would have to come from the providers. Orange are talking about being connected to the cloud and have this continuous update of information but it's not quite there. Andrea: Foursquare and Gowalla? Neil: I'm not a big fan of Apples. I don't like being locked into stuff, I like to play around with things. Andrea: if you can check things on my phone, how is your actual desktop activity? Neil: Well they're quite different on my browser. There are things you can't do but can do on the desktop one...I've got
g h d a n d t r a n s m e d i a p l a n n i n g – An d r e e a N a s t a s e Project Tutor: Angela Byrne Manchester Metropolitan University a 'girlfriend mutual friends group' which I add. Her friends always seem to add me so I have a special group devoted to them. Also you can't see pictures even though the pictures on facebook aren't that big. I'd say probably. It's a little bit fiddly on my phone. Andrea: And with a better phone? Neil: Even with something like that, I think the most tabs I've ever had open is 156. Nathan: A man after my own heart Neil: You middle click, middle click and read through them. Nathan: I lose track of where something is because you can't see the title sometimes Neil: Whether that's good thing or bad thing I don't know. Because you're not focusing on one thing you feel oversaturated...you think "What did I actually learn?" I just absorbed all this information Nathan: I email but the blackberry browser is terrible so I tend to find that I'll avoid looking at web stuff on my phone because it's such a terrible experience. I'll just wait to do it on my computer (To Lucy) Yours is much more usable.. Lucy: Facebook..I haven't been on the desktop since I had it on my phone Nathan: if I had an iPhone or a Nexus I'd do much more on the phone, it's just the frustrating current limitation of my phone. Andrea: what would make you share information with someone? Neil: I think generally the friends that I have on facebook are also my real life friends. I don't tend to add people I don't know. Sometimes I am a little bit conscious of the fact that some friends are more into music. I'm quite into politics so sometimes I post things privately to friends. Even on a wall, mutual friends see it and don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Lucy: I gotta be really careful what I put on mine because of so many people I work with. You have to say one bad thing inappropriately and get into real trouble because of it. Nathan: People have said bad things...had spilled into the workplace. Tom mentioned someone having a disciplinary over people saying stuff. Andrea: So would you go and tell everyone you know? Neil: I suppose it depends what it is. Also politics because I'm quite left wing, I have a friend who is a proper Tory boy and sometimes we have arguments about the merits about various political agendas and I know my other friends are not so interested. But it's quite interesting when someone you didn't realise was interested is actually into something you are into. Nathan: I share things more targeted towards people I know will be interested. With my kind of profiles, I have stuff locked down - don't like the idea of someone I don't know going into my life. But people I do allow to view things. If there's something generally interesting, I will share it with everyone. Lucy: Would just call someone up, it's quicker than messing about. I'd just message them privately, wouldn't bother writing on walls...don't write on people's walls Neil: I'm quite into my abstract weird stuff so if I find something on youtube I might whack that up on youtube. And then ask them if they saw what I had posted. Like I went to New York a few weeks ago and I thought it was cool. There were a few people I didn't think wouldn't take notice but they saw all my pictures and we were chatting about. I thought it was really cool. There's merits in it...like I posted yesterday's on my girlfriend's wall, there's this Dispatches documentary from 4od about primary education. It was relevant to her but some of her mutual friends are teachers as well so I can see how it can be useful in context. Andrea: So you thought both about her and her friends? Neil: I didn't think about them but just the fact that it comes up on their news feed and they saw it was good. Security was a prolem because they changed it a couple of weeks ago and you don't have so much control over who sees your friends list. And pages..things you're a fan of are publicly available. Like she's a teacher and she's a fan of Scream pubs and if a parent comes on to facebook and looks up her name, it might come up that she's a big fan of Scream pubs or various other types of pub chains type things. Whether that is good or not... Andrea: if it was something really personal, how would you proceed? Neil: In person. Nathan: Face to face or because I use google talk with my colleagues and friends as well. I'd post it in there. Neil: Have you used google buzz? I was like "what's this for?!" when it came. They should have linked it in with facebook. Andrea: so just going to the final question: what would a normal, boring, Saturday look like for you? Neil: Probably sleep...recently I've been working at the weekend to earn some extra pennies but it's purely because I thought we were going on holiday so I have a bit of extra cash. Sleeping till about 11, going into town - I tend to go into Birmingham or go out for lunch or something and then maybe catch up over those things that I missed over the week on the internet. Maybe a few hobby type things, like bike ride with my friends in the summer when they lived in Coventry. And then go out or something. With my sister, or with Tom, a few drinks. Nathan: Pretty much the same although it doesn't seem to have gone out that much lately. Saturday is generally a lazy day but I have done quite a lot of work lately actually. Because of my job I tend to find that even though I'm not officially working I'll just have to check something, see what's going on so that pops into my weekend from time to time. I'd still make time for those little things, I think. Andrea: Do you take more time to read alone than when you are in the office? Nathan: With my job I have to do a lot of reading anyway. I don't think more when I'm alone. As long as I get my job done, people don't care how I do this. As long as I do what I'm supposed to. Neil: you get the responsibility thing. So long as you get the job done. Lucy: Right...normal boring saturday I stay in bed about half a day and get up about 10 mins and do all the things you need to do on a Saturday. Then we'll go out usually. Andrea: Are you on the internet? Lucy: No, no, it's only then I get to sleep. I only phone internet: check facebook, email, ebay or whatever but not really.. Neil: I might sit in bed with my girlfriend and both of us with our laptops but mainly because I've been doing work, I earn money in the time I might have been laying in. I'm trying to utilise my weekends a bit more because at uni I used to go out Friday nights quite drunk. Saturday was always like ugh...gotta go out later. [Conclusion & thanks followed. ]