I am not sure where to go with the media literacy significance of this one, but the information is pretty fascinating. According to this article on research done by Bluefin Labs, there are interesting correlations between what brands people like to talk about on social media sites and the television shows they talk about on the same sites. Apparently, Bluefin took posts from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and micro-blogs to create data on which brands are most likely to go with particular television shows. Some of what they found:
1. “People socially vocal about Coke are more than twice as likely to tweet or talk about [ESPNews].”
2. The Learning Channel (TLC), has the highest number of shows that correlate with Coke in online social media buzz.
3. Pepsi seems to have a completely different market as “the top 10 for people who tweet and talk about Pepsi doesn’t include a single show about sports. The Mortified Sessions on Sundance leads the list, followed by The Exes on TV Land and Prophets of Science Fiction on Science. Nick Jr. was the leading network for Pepsi, with ABC, NBC and TLC tied for second.”
4. “Sports programming features prominently on the top 10 list for beer drinkers, while fashion and relationship-related programming dominates the list for wine drinkers.”
*Check out the article for more details on methodology and a chart that outlines some select data in more detail.
This is certainly powerful information for corporations as they can use it to help target their marketing. Coke could look at the data and decide that they have the sports market covered, so they would rather focus on other areas. Or they could decide that the sports market is their most profitable market and focus their marketing there. They could also try to use the television shows to generate more buzz about their products. They can use the data to try and connect their brand to the shows. Much in the same way that beer has become synonymous with sports, other brands can become synonymous with particular shows. It is a lot like product placement, only done in a way that is harder to recognize (at least, without data like that of Bluefin).
On the surface, this is really just another way of looking at how social media is used. While social media certainly has benefits in allowing users a different way of expression, it also has uses for turning those users into unknowing consumers and promoters of products. Corporations can target social media buzz in an attempt to generate more that feeds on itself and thus users of social media become both the advertiser and the consumer at the same time. It is another clever step by corporations to get average people to do all the work while they get all the profits.