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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Redneck - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/mar/04/featured-comic-redneck/
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
The Lightning Orb - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_Lightning_Orb/, by AWilsonnn, rated T.
Jul 23, 2018
In this Quackcast we talk about where the line is for YOU in your work about what subjects and imagery are too far for you. What is too horrible, too controversial, too extreme for you to approach? Is it blood and gore, something controversial and political, swearing, religious, sexual? Maybe you have other borders… perhaps something is too cute, sickly sweet and saccharine?
Jul 9, 2018
This week we talk about maintaining suspension of disbelief: the way you have to convince people of the world your story is set in and keep them there. Everything you do is done for that, to convince them your characters make sense and the world works. There's a very mistaken idea that this ONLY applies to fantasy or SciFi. No, it applies to ALL fiction and even non-fiction in the case of stories and jokes from your friends, biographies and autobiographies. You have to maintain a suspension of disbelief in all these things in order to fully enjoy and be a part of the story.
Nov 13, 2017
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!
Jun 12, 2017
FLASHbacks… you have to do them right or they will screw up the flow of your story. That's the theme of the newspost by Tantz Aerine that we stole this podcast topic from. :) Flashbacks can be expository, they can explain story elements and plot to you, they can push the narrative forward in a (seemingly) non-linear way, they can do all sorts of things, but one of the very worst is when they ruin the flow of your story and irritate your audience! That's what we're chatting about today, the poorly handled flashback and how to avoid it! Now let me tell you about that time… JUST KIDDING! Our music theme by Gunwallace this week was Galactic Nebula Race. This is all about speed! Racing, acceleration, hyper-velocity!! Watch those lights fly past faster and faster until they become just a single coloured blurred line… only to see your rival speed past as if you were standing still.
May 15, 2017
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!!!!
Apr 17, 2017
Photocomics don't get nearly enough love. A while ago Banes did a great newspost on the subject where he did some great little promotional reviews of some prominent photocomics on DD. I thought that was a cool idea and I've been meaning to return to the subject for a while. In this Quackcast Pitface and I use funny voices to talk about photocomics. But what ARE photocomics? Well the artist sets up models, toys, artwork, or themselves, and shoots photos of them in certain scenes in order to create a narrative. Later on they'll edit those together in something like Photoshop, adding captions and word bubbles and basically turning them into a conventional comic. People like Bravo1102 go the extra mile to construct elaborate sets and shoot the entire comic as you would a film, taking photos out of sequence because sets have to be broken up and new ones constructed. He even does greenscreen! Gunwallace and and Kdog buy special sets of Playmobile or Space Lego in order to expand and continue their elaborate stories. Trevor Mueller used himself and his friends as models. VinoMas creates really cool artworks out of collage. Rawdale uses stock photos to create his political commentary comics. Sameth uses Superhero figurines… there are so many approaches to the concept. Bellow I've linked a few examples to check out! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Neander Chan, it's the primal beat of life! This is an utterly danceable sound, driving syncopated rhythm travels up your nerves and down deep into your bones, spiky, distorted electric guitar adds a touch of lyricism.
Apr 10, 2017
The most important thing when doing your comic is to maintain your enthusiasm- THIS is what helps you keep working, not feedback, not praise, not fans, but your own internal passion. Feedback is great, but you can become addicted to it and when it's not there or there's not enough of it your work can die. In order to be able to keep creating your passion for your work should be internal, not external, you need to be self sustaining: A readership is nice and feedback is great, but you really have to do your comic for yourself, not for other people. But there's more to it than that. Bored by doing your webcomic? Why is that? What do you need to change to make it interesting to do once more? What is holding you back? Those are some of the things we talk about in this Quackcast! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for the previously featured comic Numb. This is the sound of a long road trip under the burning sun in the hot, dry, dusty, desert air, and on into a cold night through a desolate city lit by retreating streetlights. Progression, but where to?