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 262 - DUCK Radio 3

Mar 14, 2016

6 likes, 5 comments

WELCOME to the final part of the Radio D.U.C.K. trilogy! This is where we put all the rest of Gunwallace's amazing songs AND a special treat for you as well listeners: Jimmy's Folly. Our radio DJs have gone just a little crazy this time… the brutish, hard rocking Jimmy Storm, demonic Anastasia Ravendale, and dried up old Rhet Blanket battle it out over the on air turf in the strangest way possible… BRINGING THE THUNDER! Gunwallace's amazing comic themes meanwhile are just as juicy as ever.

Episode 257 - Accents in Comics

Feb 8, 2016

4 likes, 2 comments

Using accents and different languages in comics can be a challenge, or at least a challenge to represent. Some people will actually have their text IN a different language or even a made up language in the case of aliens, and they'll have translations in a footnote. Some will use pointed brackets to represent the different language, some will use different fonts, and some won't bother showing that there is a different language being spoken at all. We spoke to Tantz Aerine and Pitface about this because that's something they both have to tackle in Brave Resistance and Tantz's solo comic Without Moonlight because it's very central to the plot: Tantz uses different colours for the languages. Pitface phonetically represents different accents in her comic Putrid Meat quite expertly. However, there can be challenges to phonetic representation when you get it wrong, most frequently in the case of Irish and Scottish accents! This was inspired by a newspost by Hippievan! Listen ad enjoy Gunwallace's audio interpretation of Aidana. VERY Pink Floyd!

Episode 194 - Adapted Adaptations

Nov 24, 2014

2 likes, 5 comments

This week the topic of our Quackcast was inspired buy my Friday newspost where I talked about how we relate to adaptions of created properties (fave comics or books turned into movies etc), and some of the challenges involved in creating adaptions. i.e. Hollywood will often try to create a sure fire hit by adapting an already successful property (like Lord Of The Rings) into a movie. That property has massive fame and name recognition plus a lot of fan love and popularity. The challenge is to try and create a vision that appeals to the fans while also translating the books into films in such a way that it will easily appeal to the wider population outside of those fans and it can be a tricky process. In this Drunk Duck community webcomic podcast Banes and I discuss some of the pitfalls, cases when it's been done right, wrong, and extra-special!

Episode 155 - A Moment with Modest Medusa

Feb 24, 2014

7 likes, 6 comments

After a terrible bathroom flooding incident Modest Medusa was born. That's sort of the beginning of the story of Modest Medusa, but also how the comic began too! In this Quackcast I interview Jake Richmond, the creator of the very successful and popular Modest Medusa: a pretty amazing webcomic success story. Starting out at Drunk Duck with his comic in 2011 he's been able to quit his main day job and work on his comic full time! He does some freelancing and teaching as well, but his comic is his main source of income. That's awesome! And this wasn't by luck either, or “being in the right place at the right time” that many have leveraged much of their success from, Jake got there though hard work and dedication to his readers. A real webcomic inspiration! This is the goal that every webcomicer should be aiming for and his success shows that it IS acheiveable! - Only IF you can put in that work though. It's not easy, no short-cuts.

Episode 114 - Behind the Bill

Feb 25, 2013

5 likes, 3 comments

In this special behind the scenes version of the Quackcast we take a look at the men behind the microphones, their struggles and triumphs as they work tirelessly week after week to put out Quackcasts- We cover the early days, the rising tensions between our two mega-popular superstars, the infamous post-post-post-fencepostmodernist-avantegaurde artsy experimental Quackcasts, Bane's personal hell with his Nesquik abuse issues and the resultant humiliating on air breakdown that shocked the world and brought to light the realities of the inner-city Nesquik problem, Skoolmunkee's short lived return and inevitable decent into evil (currently on death row), Bane's and Ozone's triumphant reconciliation and the return to Quackcast glory for our dynamic duo!


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