I had an interesting email exchange with Christophe Clugston, a researcher currently located in Thailand, about the classification of a specific subgenre belonging to the Netadvertising supergenre. He says:
“I am looking at classifying a very narrow sub genre. Within the domain of Netvertising I am looking at an extant, variant genre that I am terming Long Scroll Web Advertisements (as the off line version is termed Long Copy Advertising). This type of advertising is very different than the multi media image tied to a few words or few clauses. It is based entirely on the factor of extended reading (some of these ads are over 24 pages when printed). I have enclosed a link to one type of ad in this category
At current I am looking only at self defense advertising and applying a classification system that I think will work on other Long Scroll Ads. While I agree that using Longacre’s classification of general advertising (or Cook’s) would state that persuasion is the intended writer’s goal. However, looking at the cyber ads in this genre reveals that they are directed at SELLING. This difference is a difference in temporal aspect. The buy now (which in some ads are placed in various parts of the ads) button is a ‘call to action‘ as it is termed in advertising/marketing. This is vastly different than a mood piece ad by Nike, for example. The purpose is to sell now. This is more than just persuasion–as it leads to a behavioral action.
The ad writers themselves construct the ads to have this outcome. (I am friends with some of the ad writers and cognizant of their workshops to teach their craft.) Nothing they write is without the purpose to sell. Persuasion is nebulous, buying is concrete. (Thus the effectiveness of ads can be determined and this drives the writing process of the ad writers.)
To classify this genre I am using the A.I.D.A. template (which others have used to describe E Mail Sales Letters–and is actually extant for the Direct Mail Advertising of 40 years ago). I am combining this with a modified moves content analysis.
For this type of genre I feel that Purpose is the defining classification element. In fact, all ads with a buy now hyperlink for an immediate call to action can be classified according to this salient element. I do not feel that this is a global sorting device; however, like a map of Paris is accurate for Paris and not Berlin I feel this is accurate for this sub genre of Netvertising.”
I suggested that it is the COMMERCIALS supergenre that has the purspose of SELLING. This purpose is inherited by all genres and subgenres belonging to the supergenre, for instance: paper commercials, web commercial, pop-up commercials, email offers, etc.
But Christophe replied that “[Long Scroll Ads] certainly break tradition with what is considered a commercial.”
My feeling is that this subgenre is not as innovative as Christophe claims. If we look at the general strategy and text pattern, but it might be tailored to a specific target audience interested in or in need of specific products.
I suggest the following readings:
- Advertising, from Wikipedia (retrived 8 Dec 2012)
- Anja Janoschka (2004) Web Advertising: New Forms of Communication on the Internet, John Benjamins Publishing. Review
- Genre across Borders (GXB)
We would appreciate your opinions, gut feelings, insights, practical experience
or additional references in order to get a broader view on this intriguing classification problem.