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 400 - Pros&cons of webcomic creation!

Nov 12, 2018

3 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast DD members tell us about their history with us as well as the pros and cons of webcomicing. This is the 400th episode of the Quackcast! That means we've been doing these for over 8 years now. That's quite a milestone for a podcast. We have JustNoPoint over to help us out, he's a Patron at the $20 “Royal” level so he gets a few perks. JustNoPoint has been with us since 2006 with his comic The Devon Legacy. He managed the awards for many years and was crucial to us getting the site back online when we had our hard crash in August of 2013 that destroyed the site so thoroughly that it had to be rebuilt, a job which took us all TWO months!

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!

Episode 353 - Beautycast

Dec 18, 2017

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This is the Beautycast. We decided to have a chat about beauty. What IS beauty? is it universal? I would contend that it's not and that's what we tended to agree in the Quackcast. Beauty is a highly relative concept dependent on many factors like symmetry, rarity, ethnicity, time, geographical area, economic conditions, exoticism, what you're used to, aspiration, age, clothes, hair, health, fashion etc. Add to the fact that it's not really just based on what a person looks like but what they look like in relation to others around them. There's also the much derided old aphorism that “beauty comes from the inside” or that it's based on personality. We discus the fact that this is surprisingly actually quite true! Personality, expression and the way a person conducts themselves hugely influences your perception of their beauty or lack of it. This was a very interesting and enlightening discussion. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Mercenary Bound: This one has a slightly disco, early 1980s feel to it. It pumps along with the nice easy pace of a trained fighter, with a hint of threat and a touch of danger, like the music to a level of a side scrolling beat-em-up videogame. —————————————————————————— Don't forget our campaign to give YOU comment and reply notifications so that you can see who has commented on your comic pages easily, you can respond to them right away, then they'll KNOW you replied and they can respond back and so on. But before we can do that we need to raise money via Indiegogo to pay for it. YOU will be helping to pay for a feature that you want. That's how the site works these days, it's our site: yours and mine.

Episode 352 - Help make DD better! Comment notifications! More play

Dec 11, 2017

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n this Quackcast we cover a few different things! FIRST up is our latest campaign to give YOU comment and reply notifications so that you can see who has commented on your comic pages easily, you can respond to them right away, then they'll KNOW you replied and they can respond back and so on. But before we can do that we need to raise money via Indiegogo to pay for it. YOU will be helping to pay for a feature that you want. That's how the site works these days, it's our site: yours and mine. In the next part of the Quackcast we have a series of short plays that we act out. They're based on comics here at DD. We start out with custom scripts written by Tantz Aerine for Without Moonlight and Brave Resistance. And then we have a go interpreting comic pages of The Epic of Blitzov, Bottomless Waitress, Typical Strange, and Pinky TA. Which brings us to our next thing: One of the perks you can pay for to help us out with our campaign will be a custom script based on your comic. WE will write it and act it out. YOU don't have to do anything but donate. Finally we have a note from KAM that we read out, informing us of the experience of adapting his comic into a script structure and we talk about that ourselves. If you'd like to write a script for us to act out on the Quackcast, just PQ me and I'll tell you where to send it. :) This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Bram and Vlad: Welcome to the mysterious, echoing notes of a celestial funhouse. Then settle down to a demonic, yet friendly game of cards accompanied by a jaunty, yet cheeky tune on the piano!

Episode 324 - The *Bleeping*cast!

May 22, 2017

5 likes, 2 comments

In this Quackcast we discuss the interesting notion that censorship can actually be a positive force for creation. Sometimes working WITHIN restrictions of censorship can make you more creative and your work a lot more individual, special and more interesting. I came to this subject after reading a review of how Canadian standards forced very specific and particular changes on the TV show Reboot. Had it been made without the censorship restrictions then it would have been more of a generic show, because the methods they had to use to get around or appease the censors helped to differentiate it from similar children's shows. We also discuss how metaphor in song lyrics and symbolism in art and movies are used to talk about restricted subjects like sex, drugs, politics, and religion and how this is another example of how censorship has given rise to interesting creations. Great examples of obvious coded messages about sex are the song lyrics of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin. We also talk about howl ove songs with secret political messages were used in Greece to foment political revolution. And lastly we mention Heintai and ecchi in Japanese comics and anime and the Drunkduck ratings standards. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Silly Sweetie, it's a dreamlike tour through clouds and wide heavenly vistas, this in turn leaves you feeling warm and refreshed!

Episode 323 - A space of your own

May 15, 2017

2 likes, 0 comments

Drawing in public can be a pain! You really need to find somewhere comfortable, with lots of space, good lighting, and the right atmosphere to be able to settle down and work on your drawings… It can be tricky to find just the right posy. But it also depends on the types of materials you use and the atmosphere that you want to experience while you're working. In this Quackcast we talk about Hyena Hell's newspost on the subject and people's comments, as well as our own experiences with trying to draw in public places and the annoyances of public harassment. Speaking of knowing where to draw, there's the cautionary tale of Canadian Archie artist Gisele Lagace, who was detained and body-searched by US border guards for carrying unfinished drawings! She was intended to finish them at her hotel so she could sell them at the convention, but according to the US border guards and their extremely “strict” interpretation of the regulations due to the current political climate in the US, that constituted “doing work” while on US soil, so she was denied entry and missed out on the convention she was booked to appear at. So there are other considerations to finding the right place to do your drawings! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Slaughter at Camp Notamoovi - Dark, suspenseful, mounting dread… it’s dark outside and something horrible is lurking, but it turns out to be a man with no trousers on chasing a raccoon with a pair of pants on its head… who are then both BRUTALLY MURDERED!!!!

Episode 320 - Making the reader believe

Apr 24, 2017

4 likes, 2 comments

In this Quackcast I wanted to talk about the magic of authorship: how the creator of a story sets up the whole situation so that they can convince the reader of anything. You can write a story about the smartest man in the world, and the reader will believe that they are, within the story, because you set it up that way: not just by having other characters reacting to them and forming that impression, but also independently convincing the audience of it as well by having them solving riddles and such or knowing lots of languages, quoting literary texts etc, but the creator doesn't have to be a very smart person themselves… Like Sherlock Holmes is seen as super smart because he's meant to, but Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't a super genius himself. You can write about a Casanova type charmer who's fantastic with the opposite sex and readers will believe, but only if you set the stage well enough. You as the creator set the parameters for anything to happen. Without having certain abilities or skills yourself, you can create a character with totally convincing skills far outside of yourself. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for The Gloom, it's creepy, ghostly, unsettling, uneven. This one gets under your skin and keeps you off-balance.


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