Question: How to Define Criteria for Subgenre Classification?

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:

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.


6 comments for “Question: How to Define Criteria for Subgenre Classification?

  1. Christophe Clugston
    10 December, 2012 at 09:27

    Thanks for putting up this area of my research (or the surface level of what I am researching).
    I think it would help all who are reading this if I clarify some points:
    1) Long Scroll Web Ads (LSWAs) are unlike other types of netvertising for a variety of reasons: a) They are not reliant on images, b) they are flashed or popped up, c) they require reader invovlement, d) they are designed to an immediate ‘call to action’ at the moment not a some nebulous future
    2) The reader involvement is what separates LSWAs from commercials. Commercials are based on minimal audience energy expenditure. LSWAs are built around a selection (a targeting as it were) of audience by requiring further reading. More that someone reads the more likely he or she is to buy.
    3) LSWAs are unique because they are not only extant but variant (the hyperlink to buying pushes their purpose.
    4) LSWAs incorporate far more use of testimonials than other types of advertising.

    I am approaching the analysis of LSWAs through 3 lenses: content, structure and purpose. Content has a great deal of marked linguistic differences (e.g., contracted verbs, 2nd person re referral, use of ellipses, use of bullets, use of mini head lines, etc.)

    These sorts of elements simply do not exist in other forms of Netvertisnig.

    At rpesent I am looking at a very narrow subgenre; however, I do feel that all LSWAs should qualify for their own genre within the Super Genre of Netvertising.

    I hope this helps to explicate the thrust of the research. I have kept the post short so as not to bog down the casual reader. I welcome comments and further questions.

  2. Christophe Clugston
    10 December, 2012 at 09:30

    That is they are NOT popped up or flashed (the keyboard here is wanting).

  3. 13 December, 2012 at 18:08

    Yes — target your audience…to whom/for whom are you writing…you are commodifying your persuasive argument, therefore, your argument must be as valuable to your audience as your product…Nike brand commercials are full of “call to action”…Just do It! You are dealing with agency and outcomes: What problem does your argument resolve?If your product is worth anything, it will satisfy a need and not create one. I do not think this long form of ad is a different genre. I see it as a form of expository writing as it brings to light or exposes a truth, a knowledge, an argument that an audience may not have been aware of.

  4. christophe Clugston
    14 December, 2012 at 16:54

    I think you missed the point: the call to action is not a slogan, it is to buy and it is to buy NOW. That is hugely different than a setting a mode that Nike is now engaged in. The very length is hugely different. You have also neglected all of the linguistic differences I listed. You also missed that Nike is only an EXTANT and not VARIANT. Re-read Shepherd and Watters’ work to follow the cybergenre evolution.

  5. 15 December, 2012 at 14:07

    From ACM SIGIR LinkedIn Group:

    Niraj Kumar • I think, If it is possible to separate (1) emotions and (2) subjectivity from such short documents… then classification task will work more effectively

    I can indicate a probable set of steps for this:

    1. Sentiment library + local context of information can be used to identify emotions.
    2. Rest part of document can be considered as: “Subjective part+Noise”
    2. The use of semantic techniques can help in reducing noises.
    3. Now, It is possible to use an appropriate combination of “Document Subjective information” + “Emotions” for more effective classification.

  6. christophe Clugston
    16 December, 2012 at 14:21

    I think trying to reduce the very elements that make LSWAs what they are (LSWAs) is non productive. I am quite comfortable with the fact that they are not OTHER types of Netvertising that others are more familiar with. It seems to occupy the same place that Crystal’s initial work on Netspeak garnered: that is to say that it was looked at as just a variation and not it’s own proper dialect (which I think he has since proven). The same goes for LSWAs, what makes them unique are the elements that I have listed (and I have left out many salient aspects for reader ease). They fit within the Super Genre of Netvertising; however, they are their own animal as certainly as felines and canines belong to the group of mammals but are manifesting enough differences that they cannot be called the same animal. Trying to look at LSWAs as another form of the short image based ad or the banner ad is as wrong as looking at a dog as a cat with non retractable claws.

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