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 390 - Imprinting on your characters

Aug 15, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

We nicked the idea for this Quackcast from a newspost by Emma Clare. What we chat about is the unintentional process of giving your characters you own traits or even traits of people you know without realising it: Every time you draw an expression for your character you're not really creating a generic expression but basing it on yourself… when you character is being quizzical or irritated for example people may recognise that as you. It could be in other things too: their taste, the way they dress, what they like to eat, their furniture. things that annoy them, their hobbies etc. It's interesting how tied they are to us.

Episode 337 - Interview with AmeliaP of Kings Club

Aug 28, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

This week we interview the artist and creator of the comic Kings Club, AmeliaP! Her comic was featured and Gunwallace also gave it a theme tune that was featured in Quackcast 335. AmeliaP is a talented professional comic creator and game designer. We couldn't interview her directly because she's not confident enough in her spoken English, so what we've done instead is read out a written interview that I did with her especially for this Quackcast. Amelia has some surprising and valuable insights for comic creators. You can read the full text of her interview bellow. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Abejitas - This tune bounces in like a wild thing, spinning and buzzing crazily, full of black striped yellow techno sweet honey madness and rapid wingbeats of energy, this will sting you into full awareness!

Episode 308 - Hyena Hell

Jan 30, 2017

4 likes, 0 comments

Today on the Quackcast we interview Hyena Hell! You might remember the bombastic, punkrocker HyenaHell for her comic The Hub She used to be very active on all of DD (forums, comics, everything), before life issues took her away from DD. But she was still a prolific poster on social media after that when she wasn't creating comics, posting interesting and thought provoking blog posts about art, life as an artist, and living in a changing New Orleans… She has a unique art style- highly detailed, carefully inked drawings, which are quite similar to her work as a printmaker. You can see a great example of that in The Hub. We have sad news and hap[y news… The wonderful Hippievan has retired from doing Friday newsposts on DD. The happy news is that HyenaHell is going to dive into the driving seat of this out of control juggernaut! HyenaHell has a long history with DD and an amazing personal perspective on art and life that I think would be good for the site. It's always good to listen to a new and interesting voice! In the mean time, listen to Banes, Pitface, TantzAriene and I interview HyenaHell, who tells lascivious stories and her and I going into, Lipstixxx a stripclub in New Orleans… Gunwallace's featured music for today was: Mechaniko - it's the sound of nodes on a neural network firing, connecting, and cascading with shared knowledge: Multilayered, technological robo-future rock!

Episode 258 - Gunwallace music special

Feb 15, 2016

8 likes, 0 comments

We have a special treat this time! Gunwallace is our guest and he's brought with him 15 of his fave tracks that he created as themes for DD webcomics. For two years Gunwallace has been creating fantastic musical themes for webcomics, the total is now over 90! He, Banes and I chat about the background behind the tracks, there are some interesting stories, and the music is awesome! Gunwallace is the author of many great comics and a contributor to even more as a writer, such as the Drunk Duck Plays. We hope you enjoy his 15 tracks as well as the 5 bonus ones picked out by me, Ozoneocean, including the theme to Valentine's Dei in honour of the day we recorded on. If you want your own theme by Gunwallace, help up by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign and pick it up as a perk!

Quackcast 229 - Enter the Dragon's den: comic book shops

Jul 26, 2015

3 likes, 5 comments

Tantz and Pitface join Banes and Ozone to talk about comic book stores and the experience of going into them... Yes, that's right: webcomicers actually going into REAL bricks and mortar places that sell comics printed on PAPER! o_O It turns out that none of us really do that anymore for various reasons and we all have different recollections of going to cimicbook shops in the past. We also recount the experiences of other DDers who've described their comic buying adventures. Check out Gunwallace's haunting and desolate theme for the comic No Future, Vanish In Time.

Episode 173 - The Marvelous Tomorrowcast!

Jun 30, 2014

6 likes, 5 comments

In the AMAZING world of webcomics tomorrow Chromium printing presses will print out up to 6 pages an hour!!!! In all 3 colours! Black, White AND yellow!!! For your viewing pleasure comics from many different creators are all able to be viewed AT THE SAME TIME, fully updated every day on our state of the art pin-boards! Comic pages are affixed to a state of the art cork backed board with only the finest drawing pins and tacks! Well, that's not actually what we were talking about... In this DD community webcomics podcast of the future we talk about all the possibilities that will happen down the road for webcomics: the mobile space, more money for creators, the professional and amateur worlds of comic making getting closer and closer together, net neutrality, and the possible pitfalls that may befall us. We had some great contributions from some wise guys.


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