Expectation Horizon in Narrative Advertising

Expectation Horizon in Narrative Advertising

Yasemin Bozkurt (Pamukkale University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9790-2.ch003


Storytelling format is one of the approaches that advertising has been using and will continue to use for many years because the stories are always able to attract people to themselves. However, it must fulfill some conditions for this. Audience/reader/listener/consumer in advertising corresponds to the reader in the Narrative. The story reaches its purpose when it is based on the characteristics and expectations of these consumers. As a result of changing consumer profile, narrative advertising is now making its target group talks to reach its targets. In this context, this study focuses on the concept of expectation horizon by Jauss, how the target group shapes and makes sense in narrative advertising, especially in new media environments, because now the end of the story is written by consumers.
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People persuade others or are being persuaded by others in their daily lives at least a few times a day. Persuasion aims to make a desirable impact on thoughts, attitudes and behaviors of people in relation with something. But is there an efficient way to persuade people? Stories and certain narrative content have high powers in directing people in a desired way by making an impact on them. Because people find themselves in the narratives of stories and identify parts of their lives with the events in the stories. They make inferences for themselves by extracting some kind of meaning from the narratives. This process of sense-making and relating to oneself is a consequence of factors such as emotions, beliefs and value rather than logic. Therefore, people continue to be effected by the story and content regardless of the time period.

Technological developments and innovations such as new media tools have brought along changes in narratives as they have in many other subjects. On the other hand, positive reactions of people to narratives and stories in the past are observed to be similar to the reactions given to today’s stories and narratives. It may also be said that this narrative style's effect on people doesn’t change, what changes is only the styles of expression used for narratives and tools used in telling the stories. Especially Internet enables an interactive narrative style with the participation of users of new media. Users who cannot resist changes became more active, more productive, and they keep up with the change with their desires to have more say in and more control over the stories. People who are already naturally story creators and tellers have now transformed into digital story tellers and creators. They started to take pleasure in these new opportunities presented to them with each passing day, thus they started to spend more time in these media.

As a result of these developments, brands turned towards new media in order to reach consumers who were not reachable through conventional media anymore. They started to give weight on the dissemination of their messages on digital platforms. Today, digital media users encounter content of digital brands on every platform. However now, both brands and consumers create these content now interactively, unlike conventional media. Consumers who bring their own stories on digital platforms now get involved in the creation of content of brand messages. They have a say in the content, creation and future of all kinds of brand messages now. Brands which desire to create an impact on them and to make them a part of the brand communities, on the other hand, try to persuade them with narratives and stories in digital advertisements, as they were doing in conventional ads.

However this time, they face a different consumer group who keep up with the changes of time and who also became the reason for these changes. Brands now have to deal with an active consumer group who evaluate and interpret advertisement messages according to their experience horizons. Moreover, this group doesn’t accept advertisement messages at their face value. Because wanting to be valued and expecting brands to show their interest in them in actuality, the digital consumer approaches advertisement messages according to their expectation horizon. They want to see the reflections of their needs, wants, dreams and lives first and foremost in the story of the advertisement if they are to be persuaded by the brand. Desired and expected connection is only possible based on this factor. In this way, they are able to wander within the story and internalize the narrative devised by the brand as the main character of the story. The desire of the digital consumer is to be the main character themselves. They want to see the traces of the story they expect from the advertisement as a reader/audience, on the one hand, while also wanting to write the rest of the story themselves. Just like an author: as a content creator.

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