Creative Distraction The Digital Transformation of the Advertising Industry
Abstract: This thesis is primarily based on a case study on how the Internet affects the advertising industry in Oslo, Norway, and on how the digitization of advertising adds to our understanding of the geography of innovation and urban and regional development. The study argues that the Internet fundamentally changes and challenges the advertising industry, and that advertising merges into market communication and even user experience and product development. The interactive nature of the Internet and its parallel social and commercial worlds contribute to transcend the role of a traditional medium and to coalescence between production and consumption. Despite the fact that those involved in online and traditional advertising are located close to each other in Oslo, the extent of collective learning, knowledge externalities and innovation has been scarce. The study shows that the creative destruction of this industrial sector is ignited by actors outside the traditional advertising industry. Due to path dependency along one-way mass communication media incumbents within the advertising industry have left room for new actors, such as web agencies and technology consultants, to explore and take market share in online market communication services. The reconfiguration of market communication is regarded as the result of an industry mutation across advertising and ICT, and creates a need for bridging skills and competencies across creative, strategic and interactive domains. The implications of such an industry mutation across diverse sectors are used to discuss the evolutionary potential of the related variety perspective. The study argues that localized industrial change may be conceptualised in terms of a cyclical relationship between externalities from localisation economies and urbanisation economies respectively. The implications of the findings from the case study are in this way used to discuss more general drivers of urban and regional development.
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