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Social Media = Creative Independence for Marketers

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Dependence exclusively on traditional paid exposure for advertising that most consumers inherently don't want to see is counter-intuitive in the digital society. Social media are developing not only their own message distribution models, but are also creating indigenous video and blog stars. These new home-grown "webstars" require original creative, production and distribution models. With marketers evolving into media content creators and distributors (see Marketers are Becoming Media Companies), they are looking beyond the boundaries of traditional media to blog sites, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MyYearbook and their own homegrown websites as they develop direct communications links with consumers.

As content extends across multiple distribution platforms, as windows converge and as long-tail audiences prove valuable, marketers are establishing long-term brand associations with relevant content and are establishing endorsement relationships with online video stars and blogstars. Instead of targeting media and creating targeted commercials based on audience characteristics and behavior, creative is being developed to fit the personalities of YouTube webstars and popular bloggers – often developed by the webstars and bloggers themselves. New business models are emerging around these webstars to monetize YouTube, viral videos and pop-blogs.

Media industry veteran Walter Sabo, founder of Hitviews believes marketers must forge an "authentic, credible relationship" with online video viewers and that "products and messages must be within the context of entertaining videos that viewers seek out. This is NOT viral marketing," he stresses. "The online video medium has created its own stars and celebrities, many of whom have millions of followers who view every video their favorite stars release, just as movie stars have fans who watch every movie they're in."

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