Episode 417 - Can we be better?

Mar 11, 2019

What is Social Marketing? Basically its word-of-mouth and viral marketing smashed together and weaponised: Marketing companies hijack hot-button social issues and hitch their client's brand to them in clever campaigns (“We can be better”, etc). The purpose isn't really to make a brand seem progressive, modern or new, rather it's another way of getting it trending on social media that's guaranteed to work, unlike the legion of hit or miss but mostly failed “Viral” campaigns. Whether people say negative or positive things about this issue is irrelevant to the marketer, as long as people are talking about the brand is all that matters. Free advertising is the goal, but it has a social cost.

Topics and Show Notes

This has led to issues because the so called “culture wars” divide people in artificial ways. The way the social issues are presented in these campaigns is often overly simplified and so can sometimes be harmful to the issue itself. Fallout over community discussion can bring unwanted attention to the brand… People are random factors and can run with things in unexpected ways: actors can go off-message, people can get together and organise campaigns to review bomb things or even hound actors off-of social media, studios can get nervous and throw their weight around using their advertising budget (the threat of withholding it) as a bludgeon to kill websites…

So much for the theory, what are examples of social marketing?
A recent famous example was the “We can be better” video done for the razor company Gillette. The message was didactic and simplistically constructed, but what you'd expect from a marketing company. It was an enormous success though: it was fuel to the fire of the “culture-wars” and massively increased the profile of the Gillette brand. The campaign was trending on all social media, videos were made about it, blog posts, comments, rants, news articles and so on. The Gillette got far more than their money's worth with what they paid their marketing company.
The social marketing of recent movies, the Ghostbusters reboot and the new Captain Marvel film caused problems (not the films themselves). Social marketers wanted us to think they were socially progressive and politically aware, promoting female empowerment, when in reality they're simply big budget, well-produced mainstream entertainment, the same as any other. The social marketing added to their profiles but also caused them to become pawns in the culture wars: by advertising love or hate of them people signal allegiance to a raft of other social issues and positions.

Another early, but good example is the famous “Fearless Girl”
This is a bronze sculpture that was commissioned by an advertising company, its purpose was to market a new female focussed investment fund on Wall street. As an aesthetic piece of art it's awful, looking like a Disney figurine; pure ugly kitsch. It also unfairly re-contextualised the older Charging Bull statue which it was put in front of. It looked like the girl was bravely facing it down which made the bull an evil villain. The bull sculpture had been created by an artist to celebrate the vitality of and dynamism of American business culture while this new sculpture was essentially fake art, a marketing gimmick created by an advertising company. However the unintentional result was that the sculpture became an icon of female empowerment, far beyond the small scope of the investment fund it was promoting. Bad, false art that it was, it actually became a successful “Good” art piece because it resonated and communicated so well with people everywhere, albeit with a far different meaning than was originally intended. It's now world famous.

The problem with social marketing
Companies ARE made up of individuals and they can support whatever ideals they like, as they should. This can genuinely be reflected in the products of those companies, this is perfectly ok. The problem comes when marketers insert issues as an artificial layer as part of a marketing campaign. Progressive issues are too important to be hijacked by marketers.
The world is being divided more and more and the power of the individual is getting smaller, social marketing campaigns usually only exacerbate the problem. They hijack left-wing progressive issues and attempt to manipulate masses of people. They are not a genuine contribution to the cultural discussion, they aren't sincere, they are not organic, and they have more resources and a bigger voice so that they cause imbalance and contention. The web used to be a massive, chaotic, democratic morass, now it is dived amongst a much smaller number of media companies: Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter etc, so that it's very easy for corporations to manipulate and attempt to control social sentiment while also shutting down the voice of the community.

How can we combat social marketing?
Calling out social marketing for what it is, that's a start: Recognise when something is attempting to manipulate you and instead of engaging with it (“This movie will be amazing because it's about this social issue!” or “This film is horrible because it's about this social issue!”) say what it's really doing: “This film is no more an advocate for that social issue than any other, I will see it because I like the content. The marketing campaign attempting to promote it as socially aware is false and manipulative”. But simply ignoring fake controversies the same way we do with viral ad campaigns is probably best.
Progressive people should not be fooled into thinking a corporate entity properly represents issues and nor should those who are against them. No one should be tricked into doing the work of a marketing company, you are not being paid and they don't deserve the free help.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to The Lightning Orb: Zaps, shocks, sparks, electrified plasma arcing through open air with the hot burning smell of fresh ozone… invisible pulses through flat gold wire circuits printed on green silicon as electrons are exchanged at almost the speed of light.

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
Redneck - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/mar/04/featured-comic-redneck/

Links:
Banes' newspost about Gag orders - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/feb/28/gag-orders/
Banes' comic strip We Can Do Better - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/jan/16/we-can-do-better/
Fearless Girl and the bull - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fearless_Girl

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean

Featured music:
The Lightning Orb - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_Lightning_Orb/, by AWilsonnn, rated T.

Episode 416 - Making cuts

Mar 4, 2019

3 likes, 6 comments

The entire team is here this time, no one was cut… So we're chatting about CUTTING, as in cutting out scenes to make a story cleaner, leaner and less flabby, but also NOT cutting because in a webcomic you don't have to, and when you cut badly you end up with a “D movie” effect where story scenes don't follow, don't make sense and plots seem to go nowhere or happen for no reason.

Episode 383 - Slow burn

Jul 16, 2018

5 likes, 4 comments

The idea for this Quackcast came from a rant by the irascible PitFace. She was talking about how there's a trend in modern SciFi and horror movies to bash you over the head with constant action and it doesn't allow you time to relax and take in the story, you're just bounced from one relentless scene to the next. In the biggest classics of the genre like Alien, Ghost in the Shell (animated 90's version) or Blade Runner they DO allow the viewer slow moments of reflection and it helps to make the action feel more intense by contrast as well as allowing the viewer time to assimilate and understand all the ideas and themes they've been presented with so far.

Episode 368 - the Blahcast!

Apr 2, 2018

5 likes, 0 comments

Welcome to another Quackcast! in this “blahcast” we talk about a lot of different subjects. This Quackcast also sees the arival of a NEW feature! It's the Princess January Show, by VinoMas! Where all the hot gos about popularity on DD is covered. Pitface tells us that Fury is the greatest tank movie ever, I correctly state that Tankgirl owns that honour. We chat about mistaken criticism of a movie or webcomic based on what we WANTED it to be rather than what it was, Suckerpunch being a prime example, but also the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Bad promotion also sinks projects especially films like John Carter on Mars. We chat about Star Wars The Force Awakens AGAIN! Which leads us to badly written female characters: a strong character is a well defined character that drives a story, not characters that are physically strong, they CAN be, but it has nothing to do with being a “strong” character. It's like the famous “survival of the fittest”: “fittest” does not mean “strongest”, it means the best “fit” for a situation. So those are some of the pop-culture things we “blah” about. We have a university student doing a study on webcomics. Please consider filling out her survey, linked in our links section! This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Project Prince. The simple plucked wire chords introduce us to a dark future scene. Synthesised organ and gentle patter of brushes on cymbals tip us off to the action to come. Loud distorted electric guitars give us the feel of a late night 1980s SciFi action movie

Episode 366 - Spicy times with Albino Ginger

Mar 19, 2018

6 likes, 2 comments

We have a very special Quackcast this week. We interview Albino Ginger, AKA Bo Knowles, creator of the hilarious and subversive Holy Bible The Albino Ginger Version! Bo gave a VERY generous donation to our Indigogo fund-raiser to help us pay for the a new comment notification and comment reply notification feature, and his reward was a Quackcast interview which we were more than pleased to give. After reading his Holy Bible you'll understand why, it's very funny and quite naughty. We look forward to more chapters! Bo was fun to chat to and we all had a great time ^_^ READ THE GINGER BIBLE! There is just so much hilarity in there and sneaky jokes on flat earth theory, young earth creationism, evolution denial and many more. Read to find out ;) This week Gunwallace has given us another theme to Cybertech! It's a slow panoramic introduction to a dark future, promising action and adventure across the dim blackness of space. You can listen to the first one on Quackcast 292.

Episode 364 - JUST DO IT!

Mar 5, 2018

6 likes, 7 comments

All the planning and set up in the world will never count for anything if you never start your webcomic, so just put your own to paper and begin! “Getting started on a webcomic” is what we chat about here. I was inspired by PitFace's newspost about a crappy horror film and how the creators just went for it. As a webcomicer that is what you HAVE to do! You can plan, research and gather resources for years, but the reality is that it just makes you more and more scared to take the plunge. You'll develop a LOT faster as a webcomicer if you throw caution to the wind and go for it. I'm not saying that research and planning are uneeded, it's just that most if it can be done while you're actually working. Do not worry about putting out a perfect piece of genius work from the getgo- your comic WILL get there regardless if you're dedicated and put the work in AS you work, but the first few pages or chapters don't have to be there. Your audience will appreciate the chance to grow with you a lot more than if you put out a polished gem to begin with. Starting out at a place like Drunk Duck is your best bet. It's a nurturing, easy to use, creator run platform, focussed around promoting webcomics. So what are you waiting for? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Flesh and Wires: Dirty and distorted electric guitar and determined fuzzy bass, weaving together over a haunting synthesized Melodica. Portentous and evocative, this music tells a story in it’s own runtime! The main riff reminds me a little of my fave part for We don’t Need Another Hero from Tina Turner.

Episode 355 - New Years cliffhanger!

Jan 1, 2018

4 likes, 0 comments

Happy 2018 everybody! Another year passes and a new one has just begun. We recorded this Quackcast on the 30th of December so it was the very last Quackcast of 2017. Pitface was drunk and very entertaining, drinking beer from her new drinking horn, you can hear her entertaining ramblings at the start of the Quackcast. Tantz, Pit, Banes and I all chatted about cliffhangers since the new year is the ultimate cliffhanger! It was based on Tantz's newspost of the other day. Cliffhangers are a great way to make a story compelling. But try not to abuse them… Lets see, the only other thing is our Indiegogo drive to raise many for the latest improvement to DD: Comment notifications! We know that everyone wants those. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Slither and Friends. It's down home, dirty, scratchy groove. Feel the outdoors and the sound of the country in this one. Cool, full bodied, and natural.

Episode 347 - Psychopomps and Death Personified

Nov 6, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

A psychopomp is a physical manifestation of death. These are of course impossible in reality since death is a process, not a force or anything that can be personified, but culturally death has very different meanings and resonances! Most cultures have a psychopomp in one form of another, like Valkyries and Charon the boatman to name two, and there are even more in literature and movies. In this Quackcast we go back to Kawaii's great Halloween newspost where she asked people about their fave psychopomps and we talk about a few of our own. ^_^ This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to The Constellation Chronicle - In the cold, blackness of space, suddenly a twinkle appears, bright light shoots out, supercharged particles race on their path into the void at the speed of light, travelling through glowing, spidery filaments as thick as a sun that make up the frozen explosion of a giant nebula, bending their course towards the radioactive chaos of an event horizon, to take a deep dive into eternity, towards the mysterious singularity within.


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