Media Fads and Branding

Media Fads

The proliferation of choice has a tendency to make us faddier as consumers: one day it’s a brand or a film, then it’s all about the next big thing that’s been introduced to the market. Examples include: twerking, selfies and Gangnam Style. How do creators of media texts prosper? They create clear brand identities that communicate through signs and rhetorical devices and connotations to target specific markets. Some media scholars have recognised this fundamental importance of strong brand identities in the modern media world.


The age of brand marketing’ – Mark Rogers et al.

‘”Branding” has emerged as a central concern of the… industry in the age of digital convergence’ – John Caldwell.

‘[In the digital era] the companies that succeed will be the ones that rapidly create the strongest brands’ – Timothy Todreas.

Media Branding

Branding really matters to media creators in constructing and marketing their products and to us in making our media selections from the vast array of choice.

The marketing practise of creating a distinctive name, style and format that is easily identifiable and which differentiates a product from its competitors. A brand is a recognisable marker of identity. Graphic branding are logos and visual styles. Text branding are the slogans, tag-lines, catch-phrases and soundtracks. These combine to communicate brand values. These are the key attributes and values of a product, which we can learn to recognise and trust as a consumer.

TV Branding


FRIENDS is a very good example of powerfully effective TV branding. It has a memorable text in its own right, in terms of the messages and the values that it communicates about the show itself. Thinking about the opening of the show with media branding in mind we can see that the show has an extremely distinctive logo and soundtrack which is instantly recognisable to millions. The hand clap that many viewers join in with sees almost a ritualistic sense of engagement and joining in with the hand clap is a very explicit demonstration of brand loyalty.

The opening credits communicate in a condensed form (through signs and rhetorical devices) the key characteristics, sensibilities and values of the TV show/film that is to follow. They act as ‘brand signatures’ conveying the style and mood of the rest of the media text.

Catherine Johnson: Types of branded merchandise


The fictional world constructed by a media text, and all the elements that belong to it.

Diegetic merchandise

Something that actually appears in the fictional universe of the media text and which places the consumer directly within the fiction.

Pseudo-diegetic merchandise

Even though these products do not actually appear in the world of the media text, they still invite the consumer to engage with that fictional world on some level.

Extra-diegetic merchandise

These products invite consumers to enjoy the media text from the outside as a fictional construct.

I do not own the above images, they are from: and

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