(Image: Jones et al. 2018, Mapping the Extended Frontiers of Escapism videography)
In the PART III of videography short film introductions, we discussed the power of film. Next we want to illuminate some concrete and innovative filmic examples and discuss their select approach and contributions in using the film for research. For this purpose, we’ll zoom into four recent films that explore different immersive contexts of visual consumption. These are selected from the special issue published in the Journal of Marketing Management (Rokka, Hietanen and Brownlie 2018).
Mapping the Extended Frontiers of Escapism: Binge-watching and Hyperdiegetic Exploration
The first example videography depicts the recent trend of compulsive Netflix consumption and binge watching practices. Specifically this film examines the series House of Cards used as a case study to examine and theorize the notion of escapism from a novel perspective. The film by Scott Jones, James Cronin and Maria Piacentini (2018) proposes to overcome the mere dichotomy between active/passive escapism through the lens of binge-watching. It convincingly shows evidence and suggests that binge-watching can lead to an active engagement of the spectator – by showing viewing practices by studied participants and autoethnographic portraits. In short, the film reveals a vivid context to study addictive components of binge-watching phenomena and develops the notion of “hyperdiagetic escapism”. Interestingly, beyond harnessing only interview video materials, this film employs a combination of expressive shots (notably staged and acted footage) to affectively point out how engaged the binge-watching escapists were, and thus illuminating a theoretical argument in a visually-driven innovative way.
On Critical Collaborative Videographies
The second film considers and explores the production of knowledge in close videographic collaboration with the studied social group and its participants. In this film, format, scripting, editing, artistic direction, music choices, graphic design were all results of an active collective negotiation and construction. Andreas Chatzidakis and Pauline Maclaran (2018) concretely embrace this pioneering research technique that helps especially in considering the boundaries of researcher-constructed realities in research and film productions. Notably, the issue of videographer’s “representational burden” was evoked in this critical collaborative videography. The film itself examines an anti-consumerist collective in Skoros (Athens) constituting a framework to see potentialities of this cooperative agreement and engagement. While encouraging these critical approaches highly based on self-reflexivity, some limits were stressed by the filmmakers. Succinctly, perpetual negotiations with the collective were time-consuming, without mentioning the time needed to build trusting connections. Also, waves of anxiety and disagreement about the role to play in the distribution of tasks emerged. Moreover, the research highlights issues relating to how a “flat hierarchy” lead the film towards expressing multitude of voices rather than a focused and streamlined positioning. This gave much less room for the filmmakers to manoeuvre the aims, directions and purposes of the film. We thus find this is a truly fascinating point of inspiration and critical reflexivity for all research filmmakers.
Dodo Lé Là: How Consumers Promote a Local Iconic Brand in Post-Colonial Creole Culture
Finally, a bit longer take (30 minutes) than the two previous films, is research by Baptiste Clerét, Julie Leroy and Michel Boyer (2018). This film is likely to be among the first ones to consider a cultural branding perspective (Holt 2003) and does so in a peripheral and multicultural consumption context – the Reunion Island (a French department in the Indian Ocean). The film is organized as a “Tropical analytical roadtrip” in which the researchers encounter various people in the studied island and uncovers their narratives about an iconic brand – the “Dodo Beer”. The exploration reveals a brand encapsulated in a “postcolonial creole culture” and promoted as a patriotic, regionalist, traditional and modern, timeless, patrimonial by the Reunion people. The film offers a theoretically focused, contextually ‘thick’, vivid, and emotionally touching encounter with consumer culture society in one of its most remote yet lively areas. What this film offers is notably an innovative approach in organizing a theoretical exploration in the form of a “roadtrip” rather than classic journal article formatting – consisting of intro, theory, method, findings and conclusions. This works effectively and engages the viewer into considering the theoretical questions and insights offered in a compelling and touching way.
In sum, we hope that the three select films here offer some useful entry points for viewing and examining how videographic work can be made, structured, organized and expressed in concrete and powerfully resonant and effective films. We’re fans and hope that future filmmakers can learn from these developments!
Chatzidakis, A., & Maclaran, P. (2018). On critical collaborative videographies. Journal of Marketing Management, 34(5-6), 509-517.
Jones, S., Cronin, J., & Piacentini, M. G. (2018). Mapping the extended frontiers of escapism: binge-watching and hyperdiegetic exploration. Journal of Marketing Management, 34(5-6), 497-508.
Leroy, J., Cléret, B., & Boyer, M. (2018). Dodo Lé Là: how consumers promote a local iconic brand in postcolonial creole culture. Journal of Marketing Management, 34(5-6), 538-538.
Rokka, J., Hietanen, J., & Brownlie, D. (2018). Screening marketing: videography and the expanding horizons of filmic research.