Matthew Freeman

Those interest in the workings of historical forms of cross-platform promotion and branding in the days long before the rise of digital media and viral marketing might be interested in my article published in The International Journal of Cultural Studies. In ‘Branding consumerism: Cross-media characters and story-worlds at the turn of the 20th century’, I provide a historicised intervention on the configuration of what have come to be known as cross-media characters, fictional story-worlds, and indeed media branding at the turn of 20th-century America.

The article examines a number of innovative cross-media practices that emerged during the first decade of the 20th century, practices encouraged by the slippage of commercial logos, fictional characters, and brands across platforms, which altogether occurred through the broader rise of modern advertising and the industrialisation of consumer culture. I offer two examples of what can be termed respectively as cross-textual self-promotion and cross-media branding during this historical period, grounded in such cultural factors as turn-of-the-century immigration, new forms of mass media – such as, most notably, newspapers, comic strips and magazines – and consumerism and related textual activities.

The full article can be found here.

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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