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 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 Quackcast 367 - reply notifications And titles!

Mar 26, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we discuss a couple of things. First we chat about the prototype comment reply notification system that Alexey our programmer has just now come up with and people like Albino Ginger helped to pay for! And we talk about ways to make it more user-friendly, like having the first line of a comment show up on the comment notification pages… We'd LOVE more feedback on that! So please consider testing out the system and giving us your take on it. Then we chatted about the art of the TITLE! Why do things have the titles they do? What are some good or bad titles? Why did you choose YOUR title? Star Wars is an example of a good title for a movie: it told people exactly what to expect in a time when there weren't many other films like it, this is why it was never called “A New Hope” or “Episode 4” the way we mistakenly call it today, because no one in 1977 would have gone to see it ;) Happy birthday!!!!!!! Mr Banes! Banes Had his birthday DURING the Quackcast! Woot! Please show some love for this amazing guy ^_^ This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Holy Bible the Albino Ginger Version: Wonder into the giant cathedral of our lord, the revered and sacred Albino Ginger, watch the dust motes dance in the multicoloured sunbeams, tinted into rainbow shades by stained glass windows depicting the mighty feats of the Albino Ginger god as he was creating our world… This is techno trance church music for a new age!

Episode 290 - Characters coming alive

Sep 26, 2016

3 likes, 1 comment

The idea fr this Quackcast was inspired by a Korean TV series that Tantz Aerine recommended called “W” (http://myasiantv.se/drama/w/). The show is about a manga artist who does a super popular webcomic. He wants to quit doing it and has decided to end by killing off his main character, but his main character seems to have ideas of his own about that… Tantz and I thought about how that could apply to us real webcomicers. That's a fantasy situation, but if it could happen, which of your characters would do that? Which one is independent enough from you that they would want to take on a life of their own and fight you? Incorporated in this are the idea of characters “breaking the fourth wall” and the fictional characters becoming so well realised and independent from the author (so to speak), that they seem to influence the direction of a story against the intentions off the writer. People will often talk about characters seemingly writing the story themselves or taking things in directions the writer never wanted to go. So that's what we chat about! You really should check out “W”, it's a great series! This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to HardLuckComics. It's full of energy and vive, driving. This is working music! This is the intro to the drive time program on the radio! This is “the news”!

Episode 289 - Managing your personal brand

Sep 19, 2016

3 likes, 2 comments

This time we're talking about the weird notion of managing your online brand: what name do you publish your creative works under and how do you go about curating that? It's an idea I had after a great artist friend of mine known as Hyena Hell lost her online presence on Facebook, the main venue for publishing her artistic projects. Both her her private and public creative lives had been merged into the persona that is known as “Hyena Hell” because the act of creation was very personal to her, it was her brand as well as herself. But after a nasty little scum sucking piece of excrement loser arsehole rectum faced coprophagiac reported her name she lost her right to have that as her personal account. Rather than challenge it or compromise she retired her creative persona from Facebook, and it was a shame because we lost a vibrant artistic, thoughtful presence from there. But many of us also have an online brand/persona/nom-de-plume of some sort that our work is collected under and that's the topic of discussion! Gunwallace's theme this week is for Urthe, featuring lashing cymbals and electric guitar that blasts out like a deadly raygun! This is hard rockin’ goodness!

Episode 206 - Turning An Idea Into A Comic

Feb 16, 2015

7 likes, 12 comments

Back in January our own HippieVan was in a quandary as to how to turn a creative idea she had into a webcomic, so she decided to put it o the DD community and croudsource their wisdom via a newspost. Banes and I thought the topic would make a good Quackcast, especially since we could read out all the interesting and informative posts people made on the subject! Banes has also approached the idea previously for Quackcast 68 where he outlines a screen-writing method called "save the cat", also known as "The Banes' Method". That Quackcast was since deleted but as a special treat I will re-upload it!

Episode 204 - Talisman returns from exile

Feb 2, 2015

5 likes, 6 comments

Way back in 2012 Ozone interviewed the marvellously talented and professional Barb Myers about her art and her fantastic comics. Well it's 2015 now and Barb has finally been able to put out the whole of her comic "Talisman: Return of the Exile" for sale on Amazon! So of course now was the perfect time to catch up for another chat. I first came across her lovely comic on Drunk Duck years and years ago when it was called "Return to Donelly", it was a beautiful looking piece of work and it rightly brought her to the attention of the pros. It was picked up for Keen spot and then a publisher wanted to sell it in bookshops everywhere. Well things went screwy after that and it never really reached its full potential unfortunately. It disappeared from radar totally. Well now it's BACK! You can buy this great 108 full colour fantasy comic book story for only $10 US dollars. Mine should get to me on about the 10th of February. ^_^

Episode 202 - The Lady is a Stranger

Jan 19, 2015

7 likes, 11 comments

Howdy Pardner, is you ready fer a western adventure? For Quackcast 202 we decided to build on the experiment we started in Quackcast 201. We constructed a play quickly with four people all working together. It took us all 3 hours to write, collaborating on a Google doc and over skype to make a half hour play, and it seems to have turned out pretty nicely! This is the last for now in our writing exercises. We only really show the play here and not the 3 hours of umming and ah-ing as we worked on it, because that was too much to edit down, but if it's something people would like to hear maybe we'll make a condensed version available some time in the future. For now please enjoy our little Western romance, train and bank heist adventure! And Bane's great piano playing! Oh, and the great intro music by Gunwallace called "Solosteel"!


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