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 405 - Escape from Tumblr!

Dec 16, 2018

2 likes, 5 comments

On the 18th of December people who post things with nudity on Tumblr will be kicked off the site. That means all the adult bloggers, comicers and things that made that journalling site stand out above the rest of the vast sea of blog sites and image hosts are being screwed out of what they helped build up! The reason of course is to make the site more attractive to advertisers and so it can more easily fit the standards of puritanical companies like Apple and Google who have taken it upon themselves to scrub the world clean of anything that defines us as adult human beings.

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 348 - Action Talking

Nov 13, 2017

3 likes, 2 comments

Special treat at the start of this Quackcast, a Spang news announcement from the oooooold days of DD! This week's Quackcast is on the interesting notion that talking CAN be action. It's based on a newspost of Tantz's. I'm not quite bright enough to fully explain it here so I'll quote Tantz: “Often in making webcomics, creators may try to have more action than discourse, as it tends to make the comic more visually interesting and give opportunities to avoid ‘talking head’ scenes. However, I think that sort of conundrum is a potential trap that might prevent creators from truly making use of all the potential their story and characters have- because if done right, everything on the webcomic page IS action. Discourse or discussions between characters have a natural dynamic and pacing that has to be tapped in, in order to make the scene itself dynamic and powerful even though the character’s aren’t physical with each other.” Basically, even the talking IS action, not separate from it. The talking give the action meaning and context after-all! This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Energize: Serious beats, plodding purposefully, harsh guitar, flashing like the pulse of a police light, eclectic electric rock, flavours of early 80s ska and post-punk create an unusually tasty mixture!

Episode 345 - Horror no horror

Oct 23, 2017

3 likes, 3 comments

Does a horror film without the horror still make sense? If it does then it's probably a really good film… that's what we're talking about in this Halloween themed month! The idea was based on a recent newspost by Banes. We also tapped the massive resource that is Banes for our cover image, which comes from a horror short by Bane's film director brother. Check it out, the link is down bellow. That film, Little Matthew, is a good example of the topic… I won't spoil it, but the scenario and the setup of the film could work just as well without the horror part. The characters are believable and you want to know more about them, this helps you start to care about them, which makes the advent of the horror scenes more effective. In the Quackcast we chat about that, examples that fit the model and possible exceptions. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Pulse Comics. It's Creepy, creepy pulsing electronica, like the burrring, burning and zapping sounds of industrial lasers and mechanical robot arms moving in precise, regular rhythm with delicate movements in a vast, echoing fully automated factory of the future.

Episode 325 - walk the line

May 29, 2017

3 likes, 1 comment

In this Quackcast we cover the Importance of good linework in comics and different line techniques such as Herge's Ligne claire, the traditional thick line for characters and thin for everything else as exemplified in the work of Mucha, variable line widths as in Manga, solid blacks like in American comics, and complex lines like Durer or Hyena Hell. I really seriously thought I could get an entire Quackcast out of the concept and techniques of linework, but honestly I was struggling… Okay, so linework constitutes the skeleton that most comics are built on, with the notable exception of painted comics, photo comics, 3D and vector comic among others… But for most comics line is a pretty essential element. There are a lot of different techniques involved in the use of lines. Herge popularised “ligne claire”, which means that all lines have the same thickness and that there's no line shading. A popular style that I was taut was to have thick lines around characters and overlapping elements, with thin lines for internals and backgrounds. This is popular in a lot of manga, US comics and famously the work of Alphonse Mucha. Part of my technique on Pinky TA involves making my lines grey, so that when I set the line layer to “multiply”, the lines take on some of the background colours beneath them and don't show up as darkly as traditional black lines. The work of Hyena Hell on the Hub is interesting for her use of very complex internal shading line to build up texture and shapes, this can also be seen in the works of Albrecht Durer. Manga is notable for its extensive use of very stylised shading, crisp lines and the use of variable line widths for outlines, while American comics make heavy use of solid blacks for areas of shadow, basically extending the width of the line as far and as solidly as it can go. How do YOU approach your linework? The music for this week by Gunwallace is for The Wallachian Library. It's a dark, black future sounds, neon glows, pulses of energy and ideas, vectors and virtual circuits.Sorry, no link to this comic, the user deleted it from the site.

Episode 309 - boring action scenes

Feb 6, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

What makes an action scene boring? Action scenes should be exciting and fun, but often it's just the opposite! In this Quackcast we discuss the topic of Tantz's newspost from the other day and tackle this hard question. These were Tantz's conclusions: - You don’t yet care enough for the characters involved in the action to worry about them; - If the action is introductory you don't get to understand what's happening enough to care; - The action is badly choreographed or ‘cut’ in a way that the audience can’t understand what is going on; - The action is too much too soon, and back to back; In this Quackcast we try to delve a little more into that :) The featured music this week by Gunwallace was for Starfox Adventures The Comic: Firing the main rockets and racing through space, laser pulses and bolts of plasma streak past in glowing lines of destruction as you smoothly barrel roll to avoid them.

Episode 91: The Quack Always Casts Twice, 2012 DD Radio Play

Aug 20, 2012

8 likes, 14 comments

Banes introduces the 2012 DD radio play! Maxwell McDuff must face his most diabolical trial yet in... THE DUCK ALWAYS QUACKS TWICE! He's joined by many other notable and fiendish characters in this new and epic adventure involving anvils, Maltese quails, crocodiles, and terrifying torture! This fine story was written by Gunwallace, organised heroically by Ayesinback and edited together by Banes. This story of the amazing Maxwell McDuff and many other characters was the product of many hours work and organisation by many different participants. Before the play there are some great interviews with members of the cast, but if you’d like to jump to the play, that starts at 38.41 minutes.


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