Stuff that sells itself — literally.

In the course of my noodling on the commodification or art, I stumbled on this little gem of a talk by Bob Levy of Alloy Entertainment, about the art of commodification, aka pointed trans-media IP creation and marketing : the bit starts at 08'00" into the track.

Trans/cross-media properties are nothing new, nor is book-packaging or algorithmic storytelling, obviously. What Alloy Entertainment does could be seen as mere incremental refinement of established forms of commercial artistry (think cartoons as promotional vehicles for toys) and IP franchising as a brand strategy, but the outlook here sets itself apart in its conceptual purity.

No longer is it simply about synergistic marketing, nor opportunistic milking of a successful IP through every possible adaptation or derivative, it's about the design of IP blueprints that 'tap into the zeitgeist', then handing those wireframes over to contractors or licensees, for them to develop and iterate in every possible format.

[Kirk examining a tribble] "Character development is gonna be a bitch…"
Character development is gonna be a bitch…

What I can't help but find disturbingly poetic here is the mechanization of the entire creative drive, from impulse, through process, to purpose : in the absence of original or initial art or product to derivate from, the entire 'art vs commerce' debate is moot. It's so perfectly commercial art — the artefacts exist only to promote their own existence — it's as creepy and fascinating as watching robots breed.

Forget about Skynet : somewhere, a freak marketing hacker is busy coding the tween-lit procedural content generator that will eventually unleash the tribble scourge upon mankind. 


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