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 414 - Bad Hollywood

Feb 18, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Hollywood has a tendency to simplify or completely alter stories to make them more mainstream and appealing to their idea of a popular audience. In this Quackcast we thought it'd be fun to run with that idea and re-imagine our works for “Hollywood”.

Episode 395 - Fighting ladies

Oct 8, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

Fighting ladies, female bad-ass characters… There are a lot more of them around now, but once upon a time they were pretty thin on the ground. I love a good badarse lady, my own comic character Pinky TA exemplifies that character type. There's something about a tough lady who can kick butt with the best of them that's especially compelling. They evolved from something a little more exploitative, ladies fighting in bikinis basically, then we had ladies that were just the female version of a male character (Batwoman, Supergirl etc), which is something we're starting to see a little more of unfortunately, but on the good side of things we ARE actually getting fighting ladies who're their OWN women: Original characters. In this Quackcast we talk about some of our faves and some of the earlier incarnations of the character type, from Robert E Howard's Red Sonya and Valeria, to Catherine L Moore's Jirel of Joiry, to Wonder woman, then later characters like Red Sonja (from the comics), She-Hulk, Sarah Conner, Ripley, Buffy, Xena, Aeon Flux… What are some of YOUR faves? Mine are Tank Girl, Lara Croft, Motoko Kusanagi, Garnet and many more :) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Dolphin Bros: Jump, jump, jump up and down to this mad dolphin party scene. It’s all over the place but all it wants you to do is MOVE!

Episode 393 - Set the scene!

Sep 24, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In THIS Quackcast we chat about shots! The kind you get from a camera… Long short, bird's eye view, worm's eye view, high angle, low angle, wide angle, fish eye, close up, ultra close up… You can use them to set the pace of the narrative, increase drama, reveal or conceal elements and so on. Shot types and angles are really important in story crafting. This was based on a newspost by Banes. I was actually IN Athens in Greece sitting next to Tantz Aerine for this Quackcast. It was cool to be in the same place with at least ONE of our fellow casters. Banes was still in Canada and Pit was in London, making a very brief cameo appearance at the very end.

Episode 389 - Intimidating Baddies

Aug 14, 2018

4 likes, 2 comments

What makes bad guy intimidating? Tantz Aerine made a great newspost about the question, carefully outlining various key bad-guy properties like confidence, composure, efficiency, and amorality. Banes, Pitface, Tantz and I stomp ALL over that, traipsing about like drunken, muddy rugby players, as we blather on about our opinions of the idea and finish up with no idea what we're talking about...

Episode 387 - History and Pastiche

Aug 7, 2018

6 likes, 1 comment

In this Quackcast Tantz and I chat about the differences between working with historical settings and the different approaches we take. Tantz's comics (Without Moonlight and Brave Resistance), are both set in a real period of history: Nazi occupied Greece during WW2. Pinky TA is set in the 1920s in an alternative version of history, with Pinky coming from the fictional “Crimean Empire”. Tantz has to keep times, places, and details close to real history while with Pinky TA I can pick and choose the things from history I like the best and create my own idealised pastiche. The advantage of Tantz's approach is that everything is there, nothing has to be invented, just researched and reproduced, whereas my approach involves a lot of creation which slows things down and makes it harder. On the upside Pinky TA is much more flexible, I can easily fit whatever I want into the story, whereas Tantz's comics are bound by the rules of the history she's presenting.

Episode 378 - Your best work, Comicsgate, Mark Wade, Tantz comic spotlight, Twitter

Jun 11, 2018

3 likes, 6 comments

We have community contributions for this Quackcast! Many DDers told us about their best work and we read that out and chat about in on the Quackcast. We talking about promoting comics through DD's Twitter account. The DD awards have begun, get in on them and get nominated! Tantz Aerine wants to promote comics so send stuff to her.The we had a really long and interesting chat about Comisgate and Mark Wade and then Pitface had a meltdown :D This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Completely unrelated. Slide into coooooool. This is crystal white acrylic decor, this is a level above, this is music for the sophisticated. Feel your stresses melt way as you float off with the smooth jazz. Pure pleasure.

Episode 377 - Your Best Work?

Jun 4, 2018

4 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we're talking about your best work… Our best work in this case. What are YOU most proud off? Please share it with us so that we can promote it. We all talk about some of the projects that we think came out the best for us. For me it was Pinky TA 6 which came out 12 years ago now! But I'm really quite proud of the art on each new page. For Banes it was the “Pop goes the World” chapter of Typical Strange. For Pitface it was ALL of Putrid Meat. And for Tantz it's the movie that she was a writer on, 731. What is yours? Please tell us and give us a link. Describe the work you're most proud off and why you're most proud of it. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Captain Galactose. Fast, frenetic side scroller beat-em-up action! This tune slams into you, rolling with a flurry of quick punches and kicks, overwhelming you in seconds and moving onto the next levelboss!


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