Attention, testo teorico, 2019.
L'ultimo lavoro dell'attivista italiano apre lo sguardo sulla manipolazione pubblicitaria degli influencers sui social media. Ne pubblichiamo il testo che accompagna il progetto.

Il futuro campo di battaglia della pubblicità riguarda la sua sparizione nella vita di tutti i giorni, il suo divenire invisibile e allo stesso tempo più efficace. Mentre si nega nella sua veste ‘pubblicitaria’, si insinua nelle comunicazioni interpersonali per diventare il linguaggio e il tessuto delle relazioni sociali.

Questa serie di fotografie, appropiate dai profili di Instagram di celebrità e di micro-influencers, sono evidenze di pubblicità ingannevole ed illustrano i dispositivi visivi per sollecitare attenzione. L’analisi del linguaggio fotografico è utilizzata per illustrare la natura legale, etica, ed economica dell’influencer online, e per discutere la pervasività dell’economia dell’attenzione.

La pubblicità è diventata una sofisticata performance sociale. Il linguaggio per catturare l’attenzione entra dentro di noi; questo accade attraverso un’operazione che assimila come normali comportamenti di proto-advertising, rivolti a mettere in scena l’immagine del proprio sè e a trasformarla in economia. La gestualità della vita privata diventa spettacolo pubblico, manipolato per attrarre, valorizzare, e validare l’immagine del sé, poi configurata negli attributi visibili del corpo e degli oggetti, piuttosto che nell’intelletto, lo spirito, e vera esperienza.

La pubblicità pervasiva ha sostituito il ruolo del copywriter. Le strategie pubblicitarie tradizionali sono diventate una profusione di influencers che condizionano i followers bombardandoli nei media feeds. Nel frattempo, i consumatori sono diventati loro stessi influencers, replicando la stessa performance linguistica della pubblicità. In questo lavoro, l’esposizione visiva del linguaggio e del comportamento di questa economia dell’attenzione, adotta una posizione critica verso la semiotica della pubblicità e il relativo avanzamento dello studio dei nuovi media e della fotografia.

Alcune tecniche e obiettivi delle immagini pubblicitarie sui social media sono simili alla pubblicità tradizionale, all’allegoria nell’arte, e alla funzione informativa delle immagini stesse. Tuttavia, la pubblicità contemporanea sui social media si discosta dalla tradizione storica dell’impiego delle immagini. Le modalità e i contesti rivolti a manipolare emozioni per generare attenzione, eccitazione, fiducia, colpa, e invidia, sono cambiati.

Per esempio, il glamour come dispositivo primario è alimentato dall’invidia o dal desiderio suscitato negli altri, o a livello interpersonale. L’attrattiva della condizione sociale individuale è costruita impiegando un’immagine amichevole con la complicità del medium e la sua capacità di porsi in un modo molto diretto e familiare. Anche un’immagine che è chiaramente costruita viene percepita dal pubblico come spontanea e reale, un momento privato condiviso che accorcia le distanze tra produttore e consumatore. La linea di demarcazione tra una promozione strumentale e un’autentica raccomandazione, è sempre meno distinguibile.

E’ il design del media a stabilire il linguaggio del medium e la sua funzione culturale. Come tale, queste immagini pubblicitarie sono prodotte dalle interfacce delle piattaforme che cotribuiscono a costruire la cultura della condivisione di contenuti glamour, intrattenitori, e allettanti. In più, il feed è manipolato in modo tale da rispondere al contenuto postato da altri users sulla base degli interessi dela piattaforma. Il contesto pubblicitario nei feeds dei social media è coordinato dalla piattaforma attraverso una selezione editoriale algoritmica dettata dal profilo degli users, dalle pianificazioni pubblicitarie, e dall’ageda commerciale della piattaforma. In queso contesto, le contraddizioni con altri contenuti e users sono miniminzzate a favore della conformità tra linguaggi, messaggi, e impieghi dei canali mediatici, guidati in ultimo dalle piattaforme e dai loro interessi finanziari.

Il progressivo affinarsi degli espedienti per rendere invisibili scopi commerciali, accordi pagati, e manipolazioni delle percezione con strategie pubblicitarie avanzate è legato alla crescente complessità tecnologica e al futuro dei personal media. Resistere all’inganno di false realtà e verità della pubblicità nei social media è una necessità che cresce in maniera direttamente proporzionale al dilagare dei pericoli generati dalle fake news,  la rendono quindi una sfida politica, educativa, e filosofica.

Text by Paolo Cirio.


Disclaimer:
Despite initial attempts at regulations through new consumer protection laws, some of which have been enacted in only a few countries, influencers still create deceptive advertising, manipulating social media in many forms to dissimulate legal compliance. To this day, regulators fail to reign in this diffuse and subtle form of advertising (See the most recent complaint letter by TINA.org to the FTC on March 4, 2019). Finally, this project highlights the responsibility of social media platforms, which take full advantage of the media attention without adhering to standards and codes of ethics in advertising for traditional broadcasting companies.


Slogans for the campaign

THE ATTENTION ECONOMY IS A PERVASIVE
POLITICAL-ECONOMIC PARADIGM SHIFTING
EVERYDAY BEHAVIOURS AND PERCEPTIONS

THE ATTENTION ECONOMY IS A PERVASIVE
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL PARADIGM
PERFORMED AS LANGUAGE AND REALITY

THE ATTENTION ECONOMY IS A PERVASIVE
LANGUAGE OF PUBLICITY WITH THE IMPLICIT
INTENT TO CONFORM TO MANIPULATION

THE ATTENTION ECONOMY IS A PERVASIVE
LABOR OF SOCIAL RELATIONS TO ALLURE
THE ENVY AND DISTRACTION OF OTHERS

THE ATTENTION ECONOMY IS A PERVASIVE
MANUFACTURING OF VALIDATION AND VALUE OF
NARCISSISTIC, SEXUALIZED, AND IDEALIZED SELF



Articles research

March 14, 2019.
Million Pound Selfie Sell Off - VIDEO DOCUMENTARY by BBC Panorama.
How many followers do you have? The rise of social media has brought with it a new kind of celebrity, the digital influencer. These megastars of Instagram and YouTube have upended the advertising industry by converting their virtual followers into real-world currency.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJZg86ggSZU  

September 14, 2019.
Instagram will restrict who can see posts about cosmetic procedures, weight loss products. Instagram will restrict people under the age of 18 from seeing posts that promote weight loss products or types of cosmetic surgery as part of a new policy that targets a rapidly growing and controversial sect of influencer marketing.
https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/18/20872711/instagram-weight-loss-cosmetic-procedures-restrictions-policy-wellness-influencer-marketing

July 21, 2019.
License to influence: UAE law regulates social media players.
In a bid to regulate the social media marketing industry, the UAE has made licenses for commercialised influencers mandatory.
https://www.euronews.com/2019/07/19/license-to-influence-uae-law-regulates-social-media-players

July 9, 2019.
Denmark plans regulation of influencers following suicide note.
The minister of children and education said influencers must, as other media, have an "editorial responsibility".
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48928012

June 24, 2019.
Instagram Advertising: Do You Know It, When You See It?
https://www.npr.org/2019/06/24/734747462/instagram-advertising-do-you-know-it-when-you-see-it


June 15, 2019.
I’m off to have a baby, and I’m taking no tips from the new pregnancy influencers.
Where once just not vomiting in my hair was enough, now I’m supposed to wonder how cute my bump looks in my lingerie selfies.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/commentisfree/2019/jun/15/pregnancy-social-media-fantasy-and-reality-hadley-freeman  

May 10, 2019.
Exclusive: Philip Morris suspends social media campaign after Reuters exposes young 'influencers'.
Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc has suspended a global social media marketing campaign in response to Reuters inquiries into the company’s use of young online personalities to sell its new “heated tobacco” device, including a 21-year-old woman in Russia.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philipmorris-ecigs-instagram-exclusiv/exclusive-philip-morris-suspends-social-media-campaign-after-reuters-exposes-young-influencers-idUSKCN1SH02K?utm_source=reddit.com  

May 02, 2019.
Instagram hiding its likes is no bad thing, but young people will find a way round it.
Taking away the little red heart does little to protect users – the culture of validation is too deeply entrenched to be killed off.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/02/instagram-likes-culture-validation  

April 30, 2019.
'Instagram is like junk food': the woman out to improve our visual diet.
Marine Tanguy thinks our eyes deserve more than narcissistic soft porn – so she’s building a stable of talents to rival Kim Kardashian.
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/apr/30/instagram-visual-equivalent-of-junk-improving-our-social-media-diet-kim-kardashian?page=with%3Aimg-3  

March 17, 2019.
Reality check: life behind Insta-glam image of ‘influencers’.
Online they feature in glossy posts as the epitome of cool. But that is often worlds apart from how they live their lives.
https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/mar/17/instagram-social-media-influencers-reality  

February 3, 2019.
Instagram: beware of bad influencers…
The picture-sharing site and its ilk are full of celebs peddling products and not being open about what they get in return. Will regulation help?
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/03/instagram-beware-bad-influencers-product-twitter-snapchat-fyre-kendall-jenner-bella-hadid


February 01, 2019.
Paid Influencer Marketing For Luxury Watches Prompts Growing Consumer Resentment.

In the age of social media marketing, almost anything goes. That is until consumers get wise on unsavory tactics used by overly ambitious marketers who are intent on buying the perceived opinions of today’s most influential internet personalities.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/arieladams/2019/02/01/paid-influencer-marketing-for-luxury-watches-prompts-growing-consumer-resentment/#73c8310f2b0e  

January 25, 2019.
Forcing social-media influencers to be clear about #ads? Good luck with that.
With seemingly infinite ways for celebrities to blur posts that are adverts, authorities’ efforts are a laughing stock.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/25/social-media-influencers-clear-ads-celebrities-authorities  

January 23, 2019.
Celebrity social media influencers pledge to change way they post.
Clampdown on stars being paid for endorsing products without disclosing firm rewards them.
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/jan/23/celebrity-social-media-influencers-pledge-to-change-way-they-post  

August 29, 2018.
How Flat Tummy Co gamed Instagram to sell women the unattainable ideal.
‘Appetite suppressant’ lollipops and ‘detox’ teas have been promoted by the company’s hand-selected celebrities and Instagram models.
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/aug/29/flat-tummy-instagram-women-appetite-suppressant-lollipops  

August 24, 2018.
Big Tobacco’s Global Reach on Social Media.
The tobacco industry says it no longer tries to hook new generations of smokers. So what’s behind the legions of beautiful young people in smoking, vaping and partying posts with the same hashtags?
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/health/tobacco-social-media-smoking.html  

August 17, 2018.
Instagram influencers show how ads have changed. We need to catch up.
If it’s hard to decide what constitutes an ad now, it’s because YouTube vloggers and the Kardashians changed the rules.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/17/instagram-influencers-advertising-youtube-vloggers-kardashians  

August 16, 2018.
Social media celebrities under investigation by business watchdog.
Concerns ‘influencers’ are not declaring when they have been paid to post about products.
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/aug/16/uk-watchdog-investigate-payments-social-media-influencers  

May 16, 2018.
Kim Kardashian West shocks fans with ad for appetite-suppressing lollipops.
The star has been accused of being a ‘toxic influence’ but she’s not the only celebrity promoting dubious diet products.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/16/kim-kardashian-instagram-advert-lollipop-appetite-suppressing-scandal  

March 07, 2018.
Glam or sham: how the big brands cash in on YouTube's beauty vloggers.
As makeup ‘gurus’ bag swag and all-expenses-paid trips to paradise, the cosmetic companies make their presence felt.
https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/mar/08/glam-or-sham-are-youtubes-beauty-vloggers-selling-out  

October 05, 2017.
Social media stars breaching rules on promoting brands, watchdog says.
Rise in complaints as ‘influencers’ on sites such as Instagram and Twitter fail to declare that they are being paid to publicise products.
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/oct/05/social-media-stars-breaching-rules-on-promoting-brands-watchdog-says-instagram-twitter  

June 13, 2017.
93% of celebrity influencers don't signpost ads correctly on Instagram.
Over 90% of A-list endorsements on Instagram are in violation of rules around influencer marketing.
https://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/06/13/93-celebrity-influencers-dont-signpost-ads-correctly-instagram  

April 19, 2017.
THIS JUST IN: FTC Takes action against influencers, marketers over sponsored posts.
In a landmark bout of activity, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has announced that it is, in fact, watching celebrities, athletes, and other influencers on Instagram.
http://www.thefashionlaw.com/home/this-just-in-ftc-takes-action-against-influencers-marketers-over-sponsored-posts  

August 30, 2016.
Canada's ad industry cracking down on paid endorsements on social media.
Canada's advertising industry is taking long-overdue steps to curb misleading posts on blogs and social media that double as paid product endorsements in an effort to keep so-called influencers — celebrities and other individuals who have large followings online — honest. 
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/canadas-ad-industry-cracking-down-090000709.html  

August 22, 2016.
The Kardashians Could Be in Trouble Over These Instagram Posts.
Truth in Advertising sent a letter (PDF) to the Kardashians notifying them that they discovered over 100 Instagram posts that should have been marked as advertisements, the post reports.
https://archive.attn.com/stories/10881/kardashian-jenner-family-trouble-instagram-endorsements



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