The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing Derp’

Posted by Matt on January 29, 2011

Another continuation of an old old post that sucks.

I’ve been watching commercials from children’s programming blocks again. From this, I have come to a new conclusion: advertising fast food to children is vile. The toys, the sugar cereals, the snack foods, and all the other junk you don’t need that clogged the commercial breaks are nowhere near as disagreeable on a most basic level of fast food.

Here’s why: I’m sure most people of my age or older remember a time when going to McDonalds was a big deal. Like, when you were a kid, you wanted to eat there, it was something special. As most people get older, they realize something: McDonalds food, and pretty much all other fast food, is bland and boring. How could I ever be convinced this food was ever even satisfactory? It’s fucking wafer-thin ‘meat’ coasters and microscopic french fries drenched in salt. It really makes you appreciate the thick, juicy, hand-crafted motherfuckers you get at home. Even if you still eat fast food, it’s out of convenience or cheapness, not out of a desire for the food itself. It’s never “Let’s go to Burger King!”, it’s “I need something quick…look, there’s Burger King. That’ll work, I guess”.

So, the food sucks, and it’s the worse thing for your health unless you eat caramel and chocolate-covered steak stacks deep-fried and coated in salt and sugar, so why are kids so obsessed with it? I guess it’s been sweetened quite a bit (the buns especially are very obviously filled with sugar), and when they don’t know any better that draws them in. But that can’t be the only thing. And that leaves the marketing, which came to us primarily through commercials aired during kid shows.

Now, we all know kids are more susceptible to advertising than adults are. They just haven’t had the chance to become savvy, to know when they being marketed to (hell, many adults still haven’t figured that out). And that’s why fast food commercials aimed at kids were so bad, all things considered: they were aiming to get kids to want something that is very definition of something you don’t need, something that essentially has no redeeming qualities. And as far as my anecdotal evidence goes, it worked.

Now the things are far more regulated than before, and you know what? I don’t care. Fuck ’em.

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Posted by Matt on March 13, 2010

The Worst Words #3

Hype

I truly have a hard time believing in the concept of real ‘evil’. For the most part, I can only see it in the dilutions that are only viewed as evil by weaker minds. However, if there is one thing that I would consider truly an example of evil, it would be marketing. The evil of marketing is multi-faceted: it could only appear in a society that is economically, scientifically, and culturally advanced enough that excess is even possible, meaning that even our greatest human achievements can be easily tainted; it is inherently manipulative, as it based around convincing people to buy things of wildly varying value by any means necessary; it abuses science and art, two of the great facets of human civilization, in order to perform that manipulation; and in the end, it is a mindless entity which exists solely to make money, and everything else involved does not mean a damned thing to it: it could be selling the next great human advancement, it could be selling a worthless trinket, it could be selling genocide, but that doesn’t matter at all. It doesn’t care about anything other than maintaining the endless cycle that is its existence. It is far beyond the minds that created it at this point; the marketing ideals are now in control.

So yes, I don’t think much of marketing.What disturbs me along with that is that not only are people being manipulated by the marketing devices, many of them do so willingly.

As I said in a previous post, the Internet age has given people a vast knowledge base from which they can access at any time. The people of the Internet culture has accumulated an absurd amount of information about the things they are interested in. I doubt anyone decades ago could tell you as much about the inner workings of their favourite TV shows or movies as the fans could today. It’s not just that viewers are becoming more obsessive, it’s that it’s all there for them. People seem to have accepted this new freedom of information as an essential part of the culture. People scour the Internet for casting rumours and early script reviews. They know the industry, and they know (most) of the tricks used by the marketeers to make things appealing, whether they be entertainment or other kinds of products.

I remember being struck while studying media texts in a sociology class how close the concept of the ‘media-savvy’ was to my own experience. The definitions and problems posed by the text almost exactly described what I had observed during my years as part of various media discussions. The problem with the media-savvy is that, with all their knowledge, with all their capacity to gain discerning taste and reject some of the cruder elements of pop culture, they choose not to. They watch and they buy just as anyone else would; no matter how embarrassingly mediocre something like SNL gets, they’ll still pay attention to it, even if they complain about it the entire way. They still don’t think twice about what the commercial is trying to do, they will enjoy it nonetheless. This says something not only about how hypocritical and intellectually lazy western society can get, but also in the kind of power marketing has. Even when the Emperor is naked, the crowds will still praise his regal look.

I’d typify the type of person I think of above as the average reader of the pop culture blog (which includes stuff like The AV Club, although they are usually of more integrity than the rest of the media-savvy world). Another offshoot of this culture are the type who I see often on videogame message boards, the ones who not only accept marketing, but actively seeking to be marketed to. This is where ‘hype’ comes in. Hype is the artificial kind of anticipation that these types obtain, a short-lived high that, like a drug addiction, needs to be administered in increasing doses in order to maintain the same level of satisfaction. It is entirely unnecessary, of course. Surely a big game should hook you on what it has, and doesn’t need the regular bluster.

To see someone in a discussion go from ‘totally hype’ to ‘zero hype’ is a total non-event. The shift usually happens when there has been proper marketing for a lengthy period, and usually doesn’t mean a thing. Like a difficult child, they’ll say they are running away, and maybe they’ll even pack a bindle filled with crayons and cookies; but they are too reliant on the product to ever leave it. As soon as the producers drop another bombastically-presented slice of information, they’re back at the forefront, and the cycle begins anew. But no matter what mood they are in currently, it’s almost guaranteed they will buy. Even the most indignant fan, filled to the brim with entitlement, cares too much about their object of fandom to leave it alone.

Thus is the artificial nature of hype. The nerd culture, as one should have been able to determine if you’ve read any of my rants, thrives on seemingly being doted upon by their entertainment supplier of choice, although it is only an illusion. And as stupid as they may appear (and, for the most part, are), they are still media-savvy, maybe even more than most, so they bring this entirely upon themselves more often than not. Every time I see someone online talking about being ‘hype’, I cringe – it often seems to have replaced genuine excitement for something empty. Which is just one of the many byproducts of marketing.

Posted in NERDS!, Observations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Matt on February 5, 2010

Who the hell is this kind of thing trying to surprise? “Oh my God, these characters who have hardly ever NOT been Avengers are going to be members of the Avengers!” Next big reveal: Vision, Black Widow, and Wonder Man are going to be Avengers!

You know, this ‘Heroic Age’ thing really doesn’t convince me at all. Aside from the fact that this is simple pandering and another attempt at getting mainstream attention, what exactly does turning this into a ‘direction’ really do for the comics? Are they going to force the notorious peddlers of morose to lighten up? I don’t see the point. And what exactly is their idea of going back to the good ol’ days?

You know what I think would produce the same effects without the same issues? Stop putting forward so many fucking editorial mandates and BIG EVENTS and just let the creative teams do what they want. Sure, there would likely still be knuckleheads putting out GRIM N GRITTY comics, but I’m sure the freedom given to the more talented ones, who are also more likely to make lighter stories, would easily balance it out.

But that’s just too much to ask, I guess.

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Posted by Matt on December 14, 2009

You know, I get a chance to fix an essay that’s worth 50% of my grade in one class. It was a research essay, and I did very little research for it. I could say that it was because I had to balance it between two other research (although certainly not research-intensive) essays of similar length and due around the same time, but that’s no excuse. I. Fucked. Up. And the prof called me out on it; said ‘this is not what I expect of a 3rd year student’, so you know it’s deep shit (and to be fair to me, I did honestly expect to be called out on that aspect of it). And I could fix some of the minor problems, taking out the useless or wrong words he’s crossed out, maybe even fix a few vague sentences…but I almost feel like it’s not worth it. The fundamental structural problems will still be there, and that’s the major issue with the essay. Plus, why make him reread the whole fucking thing if I’ve only fixed the minor problems? That’s just wasting his time. Better to take it on the chin and hope doing good on the other 50% of the course load will counterbalance it enough for like a B-. Disappointing; I was really sort of enjoying that class.

But enough of that mopey dross.

I didn’t watch the VGAs yesterday. I think I’ve only seen the first one they had, which would explain why I haven’t bothered to watch any of the other ones.
What was special this year was the announcement of several ‘major titles’ during the commercials. If you haven’t guessed already, those major titles included familiar titles, the number 2, and subtitles a-poppin’.

The videogame industry is boring and I hate it.

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True Murder Stories

Posted by Matt on September 9, 2009

Now that DC is finally reprinting Shade The Changing Man, and I couldn’t be happier. So now, I will drown my happiness in sorrow because the following series that I have read or have interest in reading are either not collected or are still out of print. And some of them may never see the light of the trade paperback day for one reason or another. And it’s a damn shame.

The New Adventures of Hitler by Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell
Numero uno on my list of series that may never see print again is this early-90s Morrison story from 2000AD-spinoff Crisis!. I honestly think this is one of Morrison’s best, and that’s no small feat considering his considerable high-quality output. It’s definitely his most angry work, something that combines the surreal, absurdly comedic quality (especially in Yeowell’s art) of Doom Patrol with the satire and vitriol of stuff like We3. Unfortunately, that controversial message (this is a book that basically says Britain’s long history of brutal conquest is a direct antecedent to the Third Reich, but even that is sometimes overlooked for the fact that the book is a humorous take on Hitler at all) and the relative obscurity of it means that it won’t be collected for a while, or ever, even with Morrison’s prominence. It’s almost as frustrating as the legal limbo that has trapped Zenith and Flex Mentallo. I am just glad I was able to read this on Scans_Daily before that site went under.

Automatic Kafka by Joe Casey & Ashley Wood
Here’s a series that I have not read, but is really up my alley. I’ve read Casey’s Godland, which was pretty good (although I think if I were a bigger fan of Jack Kirby I’d maybe like more), and the idea of a robot superhero tripping out and meeting his makers. Just read the Wiki entry. I want this. Yet DC/Wildstorm have yet to collect it. It’s possible that this oversight will be corrected sometime. But nearly 8 years after it was published is too damn long, and it makes me wonder if this is even too strange for the publisher. And if that is true, I want to read it even more now. To the torrents, I guess.

(Read Paul O’Brien’s review while you’re at it)

X-Statix by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred
Here’s a series that’s been collected in its entirety, but I assume has not been in print for a while, considering that I cannot find any of the books aside from some of the earlier ones at a decent price. Maybe that’s just Amazon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Marvel just hasn’t felt the need to keep its best series in years in print. I can only hope that they don’t pull the same bullshit with Nextwave, or at least not until I get my copies of the two trades.

Chances that are more that are even more outrageously not in book form, but you’d have to go to a real comics blog to find out about those. Like this one.

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I am going to say this once: Dante’s Inferno, as in the upcoming game version, may be the most aggressively stupid thing I’ve ever seen. When you think EA is done hyping it’s God of War clone with the dumbest damn marketing schemes and interviews with the creative ‘minds’ behind it, they throw another curveball of stupid at you. The game could be alright in the end, if hopelessly derivative, but goddamn, since Day 1 they’ve been trying their hardest to show themselves as having the mental maturity of 14-year-olds.

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