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Viral Marketing
October 8, 2013 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Today, there was an FPP that was a single viral marketing video. This is not the type of thing I want to see here. Are my views way out of line?

I hate viral marketing more than most people. I devote a good amount of energy to avoid seeing ads, and am partially successful. My feeling is that advertising is a terrible thing because it distorts the ideas that are shared, so people with more money get their opinions disproportionately represented. We can't stop this from happening without overthrowing capitalism, but we don't have to be working for the corporations for free, either.

I think that any advertising is something that communities must work to protect themselves from. Sometimes, there's ads that you can't get away from and that you can be pretty sure most people have seen. For these, the best way to protect the community might be to call them out and discuss and critique them. But viral marketing isn't like that. The best way to protect ourselves from viral marketing is to not share it. So I even feel that there's negative value in critiquing viral marketing, because that only increases its exposure.

Now, I have recently discovered that my views on this are considered "extreme" and that I shouldn't assume that other people hold them. Do other people hold them?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon to Etiquette/Policy at 12:52 PM (137 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

You may want to look at the discussion in this previous post about advertising.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:53 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or many of these as well.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:55 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since the post specified "SLYT, viral marketing," it wasn't exactly hard to protect yourself from.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:57 PM on October 8, 2013 [76 favorites]


I almost flagged it mainly because the word "experiment" was used uncritically in the post, but A) what DirtyOldTown said, and B) it seems like the reason why it was produced doesn't detract from the fun of it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2013


Darn clearly labeled posts, forcing me to read them.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think that any advertising is something that communities must work to protect themselves from.

Well, it's tricky, because I don't really disagree with this in general; I think advertising is problematic in a lot of ways and probably agree with you in general thrust if not in degree about this stuff in general.

But at the same time, I'm much more concerned at a local, what's-on-Metafilter level with deceptive advertising/shilling/spamming than I am with people pointing out corporate marketing productions that they think are interesting as things-to-look-at. We hunt spam and self-linking on the site but we don't so much prohibit a "check out this neat/weird thing that is or is adjunct to an advertising campaign" because drawing a line between media culture and advertising culture is not a simple thing to do and we basically need to trust folks to display good judgement and transparency about what they share and why rather than say "no posting ad stuff".

As noted, this has come up before; no harm in talking about it some more, but if you want an idea of where some folks on the site (and where we as mods) are coming from, taking a looking through those previous threads may be useful. It's a somewhat contentious topic since people are very much in different places both about the role of advertising in (or as) pop culture and about how they'd prefer to see that reflected on Metafilter.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:03 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I usually use my mind to shut these FPPs out. Then I scream and fling books around.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:03 PM on October 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


you do not have to read everything posted on Metafilter.
posted by sweetkid at 1:06 PM on October 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


you do not have to read everything posted on Metafilter.

now you tell me >:(
posted by threeants at 1:07 PM on October 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


I think that any advertising is something that communities must work to protect themselves from.

Also, Metafilter is partially supported by advertising.
posted by sweetkid at 1:07 PM on October 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I do not like or read these sorts of posts and I appreciate if they are labelled correctly. Other people are not me. Advertising is, for many people, part of culture. My feeling is that I am not wrong and that the people who like these sorts of posts are not wrong either. So we muddle forward.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:08 PM on October 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


Are my views way out of line?

This seems to come up a lot. And, no, they're not out of line, but I am in congruence with Jessamyn's viewpoint here.

I do, however, tire of this same thing being rehashed again and again here.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:12 PM on October 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


The best way to protect ourselves from viral marketing is to not share it.

As a community member, I can honestly say that I do not feel the need to be protected from any sort of content.
posted by griphus at 1:12 PM on October 8, 2013 [70 favorites]


Great works of art have been created as advertising. This was not one of them, but I don't see any reason we should collectively avert our eyes from something potentially of value just because it's selling something.

In these cases I believe that forewarned is forearmed. So I'm thankful for the "viral marketing" warning above the fold in the FPP. That allows us to consciously decide that we are going to look at this piece of advertising because a mefite has claimed that the ad itself is something of value.

That's very different from advertising masquerading as non-ad content in order to slip through our (digital and mental) ad-filters and convince us that the product is something of value.
posted by 256 at 1:14 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


As others have alluded to, no one is forcing you to click on any post. If a post is labelled "viral marketing" then why not simply consider yourself warned and move on to a post that's more to your liking? The site is not going to eat itself alive and collapse into a dystopian pile of rubble because of a single or handful of 'pepsi-blue' posts. Nor do I particularly feel that I should be "protected" against seeing viral marketing or any other kind of content. A warning label suffices. We're all adults here, and have the free will to be able to choose what to (and not to) click on.

Galaxor Nebulon: "I think that any advertising is something that communities must work to protect themselves from."

Which is fine. You're entitled to your opinions, of course. But advertising isn't always going to be blatant or even labeled as such (trust me on this: I'm a publicist,) and Metafilter is supported by both member- and non-member-facing ads.

It's harder to avoid advertising than you might think.
posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Like any community, some people here hold these views, and some don't, many views probably fall somewhere in the middle with a hefty dose of "it depends on..." Sometimes the people that hold the "extreme" views you have don't flag or even see these FPPs. Sometimes if they are told what the FPP is ahead of time, they simply stay away. Sometimes, just for today, they may not care.

Depending on the proportion of people who also have your views who are currently viewing Metafilter's front page and their current desire to flag posts, you can usually tell the current ratio of like-minded people to you as compared to those who aren't, based on whether the FPP gets deleted or not.

While I don't share the "extremeness" of your views, I do see your point, and would not prefer to commonly have videos on the front page being pieces of viral marketing. However, I would also bet the farm that this would never occur.

I personally don't think Metafilter is a big target market for the makers of these videos, who are probably more interested in the big social media giants and other aggregators (reddit, live leak, etc.) to spread the word back to their video. Granted, you could say that we're being part of the problem by even linking to it, but I don't think a rule against posting these in the current moderated community environment would decrease their prevalence as a advertising tool.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:15 PM on October 8, 2013


Although I mean I guess my views can be considered extreme as well, in that I have and continue to enjoy things that are both blatant and viral ads, and I consider advertisement to be an inherently necessary aspect of capitalism. And if there have to be ads, they should at the very least be entertaining, and if they're entertaining, well, I want the opportunity to choose whether to be entertained by them.
posted by griphus at 1:15 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I enjoy these types of posts because I like a heads-up on what I'll see my friends post on Facebook next week.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:17 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Look, its viral marketing. If we weren't passing it on, it wouldn't be viral. But it is, so we kinda have to. Otherwise the universise would explode.
Or something.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:25 PM on October 8, 2013


In the future it is okay for you to not read anything you do not want to read, not only here, but everywhere on the internets.
posted by elizardbits at 1:25 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, Metafilter is partially supported by advertising.

If by "partially" you mean "nearly entirely" supported through advertising, then you're right.

And on the original complaint:

While I don't think the word needs yet another Carrie remake I though that video was fairly clever, but then I am one of those people who likes to study advertising in general, and branding in particular, for fun. This is pleasure for me! Don't take my sunshine away.

Now, if you want to talk sports...

I think that any sports are something that communities must work to protect themselves from. Well, actually, I just skip those posts.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:26 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Enh, it was labeled as viral marketing, so feel free not to click. I didn't--but I tend to think viral marketing just tries too hard, rather than being pernicious for the community.

To me, the pasta thread is more problematic, given that it's just a link to a page to order a poster (though, to be clear, I will be ordering that poster, because it is awesome).

I personally really hate Improv Everywhere threads (again, trying too hard) and single link posts to the cover story of the NYT magazine (not trying hard enough), but I just keep on walking by, protecting my precious buttons from being pressed. You won't be pressing these bad boys today, MeFi! Try again tomorrow.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:26 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meh, Michelangelo and Titian worked in advertising too.

Everybody's gotta serve somebody.
posted by spitbull at 1:30 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]



Also, Metafilter is partially supported by advertising.

If by "partially" you mean "nearly entirely" supported through advertising, then you're right.


Yes, I just didn't have time to look up actual stats but yea nearly entirely is correct.

Meh, Michelangelo and Titian worked in advertising too.


This is what I always think when people complain about advertising being some evil anti art force.
posted by sweetkid at 1:32 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


IvoShandor: "I do, however, tire of this same thing being rehashed again and again here."

Boy, are YOU on the wrong sub-site.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:34 PM on October 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


Meh, Michelangelo and Titian worked in advertising too.

Yeah, but Mike was working for the Catholic Church, an organization of unquestionable virtue and goodness.
posted by Mister_A at 1:37 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I appreciate things being labeled clearly as what they are, so I can decide whether or not to click on the link and read more. Thank you to everyone who does that!
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:39 PM on October 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


MetaTalk: this same thing being rehashed again and again
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:43 PM on October 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


My feeling is that advertising is a terrible thing because it distorts the ideas that are shared, so people with more money get their opinions disproportionately represented.

How many billions of dollars would someone have to spend on advertising to make you believe that a bad idea is good?
posted by Tanizaki at 1:48 PM on October 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is what I always think when people complain about advertising being some evil anti art force.

The less charitable part of me thinks that a lot of those people want more to Be Like Bill Hicks (or George Carlin or whatever other popular loud guy you want) than have a serious, ethical problem with the concept of advertisement.
posted by griphus at 1:49 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Male peacocks' plumage is advertising. I fucking hate those birds–what makes them think I want to mate with them?
posted by Mister_A at 1:52 PM on October 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Now, I have recently discovered that my views on this are considered "extreme" and that I shouldn't assume that other people hold them. Do other people hold them?

I hold your basic assumption that capitalism is a bad system for promoting human enlightenment, but not your conclusion that avoidance of ads is a way of end-running it. I think being conversant with the culture produced by bad systems is a better way to gauge the degree to which one is complicit in their badness. And sometimes there are really interesting, cool things that appear even within generally-bad structures. So I don't mind ads too much, no.

I mostly mind them when they're billboards or signs out in the world, covering up other pretty things. But within information-sources, like the internet, or TV, or newspapers, I'm not too bothered by them.

They're another source of information, and, through the various details of their execution, they say a lot more about our world than just the opinion of the person paying the money.

I find ads pretty interesting within media, though I do wish billboards were illegal everywhere.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:54 PM on October 8, 2013 [8 favorites]



My feeling is that advertising is a terrible thing because it distorts the ideas that are shared, so people with more money get their opinions disproportionately represented.


Advertising is actually often a reflection of opinions that are already out there - Moms make all the meals and cleaning, teen girls love jeans, etc.

I always say if suddenly super rich old white men started buying cleaning products, there would be special targeted commercials in private jet television programming for mops and Mr. Clean.
posted by sweetkid at 1:54 PM on October 8, 2013


I too have an irrational hate of viral marketing. I saw a great video yesterday, but I'm not going to share it because in the last 15 seconds it revealed itself to be an ad for a yoga company.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:56 PM on October 8, 2013


The viral marketing video isn't so bad, because there is actual content to consume and discuss. That Amazon post that's up there now, however, that's about as weak as you get.
posted by slogger at 2:00 PM on October 8, 2013


And I see it's been taken down. Yay.
posted by slogger at 2:00 PM on October 8, 2013


I love to analyze ads, scope out techniques, etc. because it's fun and I have very high sales resistance as a result.


It's all in how you look at it. Either that or I am easily entertained.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:04 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I fucking hate those birds–what makes them think I want to mate with them?

It's the way you put yourself out there. Tease.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:05 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


it is okay for you to not read anything you do not want to read, not only here, but everywhere on the internets.

For instance: Golden Girls slash fiction.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:11 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Once I was at a movie, several years ago, I think it may have been, or may not have been, the Ring II, and before the previews came on there were some loud ads for Coke and Mitsubishi like there are. From a few seats away I heard a bellowing "They're showing up commercials! Before the movie! We deserve better than this! This is bullshit!" Sitting down the aisle was a big bearded dude in a tshirt with a Batman on it drinking a giant soda and eating popcorn. Everyone ignored him, just like they ignored the ads. In the end, we all learned something important: Don't go see the Ring II.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:13 PM on October 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh, that brief moment of cognitive dissonance when you want the commercials to just end already so you can watch all those cool trailers you were looking forward to.
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on October 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


And I see it's been taken down. Yay.

I will refer you to the classic 19th century manual on real-time moderation and user feedback systems, Pedro Carolino's Sausage As She Is Made.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:18 PM on October 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


So where were all you people when the lamp post went up? It's an arguably "viral" thing (it's being shared all over the Internet) that was met with general enthusiasm and taken in a spirit of play, and not at all treated as an insidious force of the Greater Darkness. Why does it get a pass and this gets a MeTa?
posted by Shepherd at 2:20 PM on October 8, 2013


The best thing about deleted posts is the cat with the laser eyes.
posted by Mister_A at 2:21 PM on October 8, 2013


I don't know, Shepherd, but it better not have anything to do with Julianne Moore. She is beyond reproach!
posted by Mister_A at 2:22 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ads can be works of art too. I don't understand your knee jerk bias against the medium.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:26 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was once shushed in a movie theater for talking during the advertisements. Not the coming attractions, mind you.
A fucking commercial. For Coke, or Verizon, or the Army, or some such shit.

I'm still a little angry just thinking about it.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:33 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I relish good effort and creativity - MeFi is exceptional at separating the wheat from the chaff....be it art, books, politics, TV Shows, internet memes or the occasional advertisement. And really, which of those things I listed don't usually have a commercial sponsor?

This is the internet, hucksters gonna huck. Enjoy the content, not the motivation.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 2:42 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was once shushed in a movie theater for talking during the advertisements. Not the coming attractions, mind you.

I would tip the worst busker in the world if he/she went up and performed in front of the screen during the ads.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:43 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was once shushed in a movie theater for talking during the advertisements.

On the one hand, I'd be just as WTF as you in that position. On the other hand, from a place of cold dispassionate distance, I can imagine the situation as that shusher not so much trying to make sure they can hear the commercials as trying to make sure plenty earlier that they weren't gonna put up with chatting during the movie. A pretty muddled sort of pre-emptive strike since, yeah, but still.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:48 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


If I ever see a viral for scrollwheels I'm totally posting it.
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on October 8, 2013


Don't go see the Ring II.

See, once again, I don't get what you are complaining about. It said on the poster and your ticket and above the door: Ring II. You knew what you were going to get before you even sat down! Don't click the link, don't go to bad movies.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:59 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well it wouldn't be a lesson if I didn't have to learn it less than once.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:01 PM on October 8, 2013


Or more than never. You get what I mean.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:01 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Advertising agencies also created such things as the Back Streets of the Internet video, which was posted without an accompanying MeTa of frustration/dislike.
posted by sweetkid at 3:21 PM on October 8, 2013


It'll never happen, but I personally would love it if FPPs that were primarily based around an ongoing advertisement campaign were prohibited here. I know that this isn't the will of the mods or the community, but I don't like those FPPs either. I settle for just not clicking on them.
posted by Scientist at 3:58 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


But what's the next step? No links to active movies or shows, since that would just be promoting these shows? No links to food you could buy? No links to sports you could watch or models or clothing or anything you could actually buy?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:01 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


A few people have mentioned the fact that the post in question was clearly labelled as viral marketing, something which I definitely appreciated and would be happy to see become the norm for pertinent information.

If posts start carrying multiple (SLYT, viral, triggerwarning) and similar [headsups], I wouldn't mind some mod or community brainstorming on uniting the actual tags and the in-post labelling conventions though. I assume that subject's been discussed in MeTa before, but e.g. couldn't specific tags or the first three be exposed on the front page or something? Effectively having two differently-exposed tagging systems seems a bit daft.

[nsfw] [imho] [canofworms]
posted by comealongpole at 4:04 PM on October 8, 2013


But what's the next step? No links to active movies or shows, since that would just be promoting these shows? No links to food you could buy? No links to sports you could watch or models or clothing or anything you could actually buy?

There's an arbitrary and kind of willfully naive stance behind the "all advertising must be banned" thing that doesn't bother me overmuch, but undermines my opinion of this community as a bunch of people who, generally speaking, have nuanced opinions on things. "All advertising is bad" is the kind of Manichean thinking that I'm accustomed to hearing from people to tell me that all politicians are scum and all lawyers are sharks.

If these people were flying the anti-marketing flag in a thread celebrating a re-thought cinema poster promoting Drafthouse, or promoting the work of a London photographer, or encouraging people to check out a small-press comics publisher, I'd have a little more respect for the argument.

Just shouting about it when it's something benefiting a major media outlet feels like people are getting easy feel-good digs in at the low-hanging fruit, but when the wedge gets a little thinner, all the anti-advertising folks don't seem so keen to man the ramparts.

Label it advertising, move on, and trust the grown-ups to choose what they want to click on or not.
posted by Shepherd at 4:15 PM on October 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was more shocked by whoever in that thread got Carrie and Firestarter mixed up.

I do think it's sad that this braindead, cynical and manipulative viral marketing crap gets posted on MetaFilter, but flag and move on etc.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:44 PM on October 8, 2013


I would agree with almost everything the OP said if you replaced "advertising" and "viral marketing" with "professional sports" (and changed "distorts the ideas that are shared" to "encourages violence"). But I wouldn't say there should never be any sports posts on Metafilter.
posted by John Cohen at 5:07 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Another ad!
posted by cjorgensen at 5:28 PM on October 8, 2013


I respect your opinion and I too find advertising often super problematic, but I find ads absolutely fascinating as an indicator of what is now baseline acceptable culturally. A lot of advertising is pretty conservative because you don't want to alienate people who might buy your product so if something appears in a basic, generic ad for a major company it seems to me like a pretty good indication that we as a society are at least reasonably okay with it. Yeah, there are plenty of ads that intentionally set out to shock people, but I'm always really excited when I see an ad for something like KFC or cell phone service with a same-sex or interracial couple because it shows me that the dominant culture is accepting these things.

At the very least, in many ads you see lots of diverse groups of friends and that means that a) people want to believe they have friends from varied races and backgrounds or b) that at the very least businesses want to advertise to different groups of people using the same ad. It means that advertisers are not worried that most people will shy away from buying their product because they are afraid of diversity. There is still a long, LONG way to go in terms of gender and racial and orientation and general discrimination issues; there are a lot of ads that literally make me scream at the television because why is that woman wearing heels while she vacuums? That said, it's also nice to see ads that wouldn't have existed fifteen years ago become perfectly acceptable because things are actually getting better.

Clearly advertising is often cynical and mercenary, but I think that helps give it value because it reflects what people are comfortable with and what they want, and I really enjoy seeing this progress being made, even if ads themselves are often dumb.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:49 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was more shocked by whoever in that thread got Carrie and Firestarter mixed up.

*raises hand*

Early King runs together in my mind. Fuck, anything not The Dark Tower runs together in my mind.
posted by carsonb at 5:57 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fuck, anything not The Dark Tower runs together in my mind.

I genuinely think that's what he wants to happen now.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:03 PM on October 8, 2013


Viral Marketing (especially in the form of YT prankstervising) is not Best of the Web.
posted by Exchequer at 6:25 PM on October 8, 2013


On the one hand, I'd be just as WTF as you in that position. On the other hand, from a place of cold dispassionate distance, I can imagine the situation as that shusher not so much trying to make sure they can hear the commercials as trying to make sure plenty earlier that they weren't gonna put up with chatting during the movie. A pretty muddled sort of pre-emptive strike since, yeah, but still.

This would be why I would do it. It is the same reason I glare at people who chatter away while the symphony is tuning up. I want them to know that I have my eye on them and they need to shut up when it is business time.

If I were only slightly more aggressive about making sure people know to shut up at performances I'd do that thing where you point two fingers at your eyes, then point the same two fingers at them, then point the two fingers at your eyes again. Now that I think about it, I'm going to totally do that next time someone won't shut up during a chamber music concert. I can't imagine what is the point of going to a chamber music concert if not to listen to the music, but whatever it is, it is apparently a popular reason around these parts.
posted by winna at 6:25 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


But Carrie did burn down the gym, right? Did she just knock over candles or what? (I am being sincere with this question; it's been bugging me since it was pointed out as an error in this thread.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:30 PM on October 8, 2013


you do not have to read everything posted on Metafilter.

I'm 500 posts away from asking Metafilter to marry me.
posted by crossoverman at 7:10 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


But Carrie did burn down the gym, right?

I always figured that was an electrical fire, the result of her tearing the place apart.
posted by mr. digits at 7:11 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have complicated and anger-infused views about advertising, but I will say that the refrain of 'if you don't like it you don't have to read it' every time someone starts a thread here about policy in terms of front page links, well: I find that Very Fucking Annoying.

If your comment pertaining to community policy discussion in the area of the site dedicated to community policy discussion is, in essence, 'like it or lump it', then I'm going to suggest that you're not adding much of value and perhaps it might behoove you to follow your own damned advice.

(For what it's worth, I'm fine with -- *spits on the ground to ward off evil* -- viral advertising attempts being linked here, as long as they are clearly identified as such, to the extent that that is possible.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:22 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


So Stavros, you're more on the Bill Hicks on marketing and advertising kind of wavelength?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:27 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Advertising is an art form. It's a commercial art form, but often there is a lot worth looking at beyond simply, "BUY THIS BUY THIS!"

I'm okay with links to advertising that is otherwise worthy of being linked.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:36 PM on October 8, 2013


What makes that commercial not art is (assuming it's about the new Carrie movie) it subverts the entire meaning of the original novel and film. By making Carrie a petulant brat who throws a fit because her precious MacBook gets coffee on it, stunning a coffeeshop full of placid, easy going "regular" people is the absolute antithesis of what the book was about.

So, by making Carrie a freak, the commercial ain't art.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:50 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree that the video isn't that great, but that doesn't make it not art. We were just having this conversation about horse_ebooks, American Beauty, blah blah.
posted by sweetkid at 7:57 PM on October 8, 2013


I think if you're really sensitive to certain things (NSFW'ness, ads, feminism, etc), then using MyMefi to exclude them via the tags is a good way to go. If MeFi was overrun with viral ads I'd probably argue against having them in the first place, but since the amount seems pretty manageable at the moment then excluding them via a per-user preference seems fairest on everyone.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:15 PM on October 8, 2013


Once I had a case of viral marketing that was so bad I still have the receipt.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:22 PM on October 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Posts linking to cool/interesting/funny/stupid ads have been part of the site since the beginning. The site's founder had a clear interest in marketing and advertising and regularly linked to ads he found worth discussing, setting the tone for their acceptance over the subsequent decade or so. Seriously, go to the last page of results in a "Posts tagged with advertising" search and see what shows up from the 1999-2000 era. Ads have been an approved subject for front page posts for as long as Metafilter has been Metafilter.
posted by mediareport at 9:01 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Exchequer: "Viral Marketing (especially in the form of YT prankstervising) is not Best of the Web."
- "best of the web" even though it's a deprecated phrase

posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on October 20, 2009
posted by Chrysostom at 9:04 PM on October 8, 2013


The best way to protect ourselves from viral marketing is to not share it.

I don't need your protection. Seriously, you sound like the S-E-cross-sign bird from The Goodies.

The best way for you to protect yourself is to not watch stuff that's clearly labelled as viral marketing.

(Except you'll be lying awake knowing everybody else is watching it. They're watching it now. Watching it, and talking about it, and sharing it.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:06 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


you do not have to read everything posted on Metafilter.

⊙.⊙

BRB. Going to find a job.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:06 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I agree that the video isn't that great, but that doesn't make it not art. We were just having this conversation about horse_ebooks, American Beauty, blah blah.

Wow, I had never heard of horse_ebooks before this thread. It's amazing! So I guess all is forgiven.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:07 PM on October 8, 2013


stavrosthewonderchicken: "I have complicated and anger-infused views about advertising, but I will say that the refrain of 'if you don't like it you don't have to read it' every time someone starts a thread here about policy in terms of front page links, well: I find that Very Fucking Annoying.

If your comment pertaining to community policy discussion in the area of the site dedicated to community policy discussion is, in essence, 'like it or lump it', then I'm going to suggest that you're not adding much of value and perhaps it might behoove you to follow your own damned advice.
"

I think it's actually an exceptionally good and useful piece of advice. Especially in this case. The post had a note on it: something the OP added voluntarily. We have been told time and time again that such warnings are nice and helpful but not required. They alert people that if the post topic or genre is disturbing or offensive or simply not one's cup of tea they can ignore it.

If a post is turning the community inside out and people are screaming at each other, then we can look at that specific post and determine if it's good or bad for the community. We can set a higher bar for posts like it if necessary. If there is clear precedent that they cause problems.

But lobbying to ban an entire class of content that isn't overt flamebait (like racism or sexism or hate speech) just because you personally think people need to be protected from it is pretty much the epitome of a special snowflake request. A situation where perhaps the person should be advised to adapt to the community's mores, rather than the other way around. Especially if we didn't ask to be protected in the first place. Or see a reason why such censorship would be necessary.
posted by zarq at 9:22 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


So Stavros, you're more on the Bill Hicks on marketing and advertising yt kind of wavelength?

Though I am more pragmatic, perhaps, once I get myself worked up into a lather, I kinda make Hicks look as if he's just brimming with lovin' advertorial kindness.

I am not a fan, to put it mildly, of how the invasion of marketing and advertising into our culture has twisted it into an evil consumer dystopia, and I am horrified how people have gotten so deeply sucked into the scam that they're keen to jump up and defend the debasement. I loathe it like I loathe cancer. Not cancer in general, but a Very Personal Cancer, one that might, for example, be eating my ass from the inside out.

But I am neither a lunatic nor a visionary, and I am well aware that there is no going back, and only a fool who recognizes those things spends more time than the occasional paroxysm of cathartic fury on fighting what he cannot beat. And hell, it's not like the ubiquity of advertising is the only thing about the culture we've made for ourselves that grips my guts with disgust.

So: I abide, try not to berate people with my Important Opinions most of the time, and do my best to minimize in my own life the things that kindle rage and resentment.

I think it's actually an exceptionally good and useful piece of advice.

Fair enough. We'll disagree, then. I'm OK with that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:26 PM on October 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken: " Fair enough. We'll disagree, then. I'm OK with that."

*hugs* man. Me too. :)
posted by zarq at 9:39 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is unfortunately no way to stop other people swiping their finger along their own buttcrack and then sniffing it.

It's nice of them to give us a heads-up so we don't have to watch.
posted by flabdablet at 10:45 PM on October 8, 2013


There is unfortunately no way to stop other people swiping their finger along their own buttcrack and then sniffing it.

This has never happened. You can't convince me that it has.
posted by 26.2 at 10:59 PM on October 8, 2013


It's like you've never taken the subway, 26.2. What happened, man?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:19 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is unfortunately no way to stop other people swiping their finger along their own buttcrack and then sniffing it.

It's nice of them to give us a heads-up so we don't have to watch.


Let's not get derailed into talking about presidential politics.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:13 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is exactly why I didn't make a FPP for the "Man in a Cube" video that's making the rounds. It's clever and funny and I think a lot of MeFites would like it, but the very last shot reveals that it's promoting some corporate meditation retreat outfit... I think. I don't know for sure, because the company name was only in the shot for a couple of seconds and I didn't really care, because it was still a clever and funny short that would stand on its own. Despite all those existing posts tagged with Pepsiblue, I don't feel like I can navigate these waters well enough to add another.
posted by usonian at 5:49 AM on October 9, 2013


stavrosthewonderchicken: I am not a fan, to put it mildly, of how the invasion of marketing and advertising into our culture has twisted it into an evil consumer dystopia, and I am horrified how people have gotten so deeply sucked into the scam that they're keen to jump up and defend the debasement. I loathe it like I loathe cancer. Not cancer in general, but a Very Personal Cancer, one that might, for example, be eating my ass from the inside out.

I'm honestly curious, stav (and others who feel similarly), where do you draw the line as to what is advertising and what isn't? To my way of thinking about it, just about everything we call culture is advertising for something or other. For example, just about any content on the Internet these days is designed to draw eyeballs to banner ads so that someone can make a living off of it. I respect your position even though I disagree, and I'm interested to hear your stance on this.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:57 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


To my way of thinking about it, just about everything we call culture is advertising for something or other.

That's pretty much the endpoint the sainted Hicks was hoping we'd avoid.
posted by flabdablet at 6:42 AM on October 9, 2013


Viral Marketing (especially in the form of YT prankstervising) is not Best of the Web.

Make me a list of all the FPP from the last 30 days that you feel meet this Best of the Web standard. Then make me a list of the ones that aren't. I bet your "not" list will be much longer. Now get 5 other mefites to do this. I bet your lists don't have a strong overlap.

Best of the Web hasn't been a standard here (if it ever was) for as long as I've been here. It was once a motto that popped up under the logo, but that may have stopped before I joined as well.

I have complicated and anger-infused views about advertising, but I will say that the refrain of 'if you don't like it you don't have to read it' every time someone starts a thread here about policy in terms of front page links, well: I find that Very Fucking Annoying.

If your comment pertaining to community policy discussion in the area of the site dedicated to community policy discussion is, in essence, 'like it or lump it', then I'm going to suggest that you're not adding much of value and perhaps it might behoove you to follow your own damned advice.


Except this has been asked and answered enough times that move on if you don't like it is the community established policy. It sounds like you have issues that you are trying to make into other people's issues, and they're having none of it. Even the people who agree they hate advertising are saying move on.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:43 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meh, Michelangelo and Titian worked in advertising too.

It is also important to note that this was in the pre-capitalist era, so overthrowing capitalism isn't going to remove advertising.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:50 AM on October 9, 2013


flabdablet: " That's pretty much the endpoint the sainted Hicks was hoping we'd avoid."

We were already there. All public, persuasive argument can be thought of as a form of advertising: the promotion of one idea over another. The focus should not be on whether or not advertising as a whole is "evil." There are many forms of advertising, and not all of them have a deleterious effect on modern society. Should cancer screening labs not advertise? Should food banks? Blood banks? Disability assistance programs? Drug addiction treatment centers? Even if those programs and organizations are profitable? They clearly benefit society and support those who have been marginalized.
posted by zarq at 7:04 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't really mind ad posts, but I can't help thinking it'd be better for MetaFilter if all advertisers had to pay to show their ads here. And then I can't help thinking that that'd be the worst thing.

So, maybe, fuck those posts?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:36 AM on October 9, 2013


There are many forms of advertising, and not all of them have a deleterious effect on modern society.

No, merely the overwhelming majority.
posted by flabdablet at 7:37 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Arguable.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on October 9, 2013


I used to find those people who posted 'is that something I'd need a TV set to understand' really irritating. Why the hell wouldn't you have a TV set? They cost about three pence for a screen the size of a cinema.

Then I visited the USA, where the programmes seem to be a brief incidental thing that happens between the advertisements, and it all became clear to me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:41 AM on October 9, 2013


Why the hell wouldn't you have a TV set?

Well, for example: because you're not interested in watching TV?
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:45 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, for example: because you're not interested in watching TV?

I don't understand this, could you speak English please?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also some of us can't afford an entire set like we're J. Rockefeller Vanderbilt. Right now I've got a CRT, a UHF dial, a remote control battery lid cover and an issue of TV guide from March 1984. Cut me some slack.
posted by griphus at 7:53 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


All public, persuasive argument can be thought of as a form of advertising: the promotion of one idea over another.

I'm aware that this is one way to look at it. It is not mine. I draw a really firm line between a thing that is clearly one person with an opinion who is trying to convince another person or people of that opinion and things that are intended to look like one sort of argument but are actually another sort, especially when that second sort is coming from big money people who 1. have a vested interest in the outcome of the argument and 2. have a vested interest in obscuring their involvement in such a thing.

So viral ads/marketing bother me personally (and again, this is me, I am not saying people need to agree with me) because they involve deception and manipulation of people's emotions without their consent (i.e. you go to a horror movie and you know people are going to try to scare you, you watch a video on MeFi you don't really know what is coming down the pike). They take advantage of people's natures to become interested or fascinated by certain things and push that button while at the same time not being above board about the fact that the performance/display/thing is because ultimately they are trying to form associations between your emotions and the product. A link that many people would not want to be created if they were given full information along the lines of "I'm going to show you something that will delight you and it was sponsored by Coco-Cola, would you like to see it?" Some people would say yes (which is fine) and I would say no (which should also be fine).

Ultimately I think these are cheats. The product does not create these emotions but the people who create the product and promote the product would like you to associate these emotions with the product so they put a pretty lady or a tree next to it and hope for the best. And these associations become part of culture (see original MeTa thread) and after a while you just expect to see a "hot chick" next to a muscle car or a green color next to a petroleum company and that becomes normalized in a way that is ... I'm not even sure what it is, it reinforces dumb stereotypes we have about the way the world works at the expense of our true emotions. Which is not to say that there's not a lot of neat stuff flying around the web that has, at its core, an advertising message, just that I'm happy if it's been filtered down to have a big "By the way, this is an ad" indicator next to it by the time it gets to me.

When the blood bank advertises, you generally know you're watching a blood bank ad. Because they spend most of their money keeping the blood bank running. As I said above this is a topic on which I Have Opinions that are not all relevant to how MeFi is run. And I do not have a TV.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:54 AM on October 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm one of the few Australians who grew up in a home with no TV, and I agree 100% with everything Jessamyn just wrote.
posted by flabdablet at 7:57 AM on October 9, 2013


I agree that advertising is often a desperate waste of human endeavour, but a huge amount of resources are put into it and there should be something we can learn from it as alluded to by various users upthread. Advertising is pretty much noise as far as I am concerned, but it is handy to have viral clips parsed by the hive mind so I don't have to. People are capable of having discussions on worthwhile subjects as well as the Superbowl ads.

The Superbowl ads are a worldwide cultural phenomenon, which also tells us a lot. Points for combining sports and advertising?
posted by asok at 8:09 AM on October 9, 2013


All public, persuasive argument can be thought of as a form of advertising: the promotion of one idea over another.

All advertising is rhetoric; that doesn't entail that all rhetoric is advertising.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:09 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: " I'm aware that this is one way to look at it. It is not mine. I draw a really firm line between a thing that is clearly one person with an opinion who is trying to convince another person or people of that opinion and things that are intended to look like one sort of argument but are actually another sort, especially when that second sort is coming from big money people who 1. have a vested interest in the outcome of the argument and 2. have a vested interest in obscuring their involvement in such a thing.

So viral ads/marketing bother me personally (and again, this is me, I am not saying people need to agree with me) because they involve deception and manipulation of people's emotions without their consent


Most advertising, and in fact most viral marketing promotions, do not involve deception. There is a difference between astroturfing, which is what I believe you are describing here, and viral marketing. There is a huge realm of viral marketing that involves no deception or manipulation. It merely tries to increase word of mouth in different ways, including (perhaps) contests on social media, ads in a variety of media that clearly, prominently mention the advertiser by name, etc.

Astroturfing is by definition unethical.

When the blood bank advertises, you generally know you're watching a blood bank ad. Because they spend most of their money keeping the blood bank running. "

I agree. What you are describing is not what I was referring to.
posted by zarq at 8:15 AM on October 9, 2013


octobersurprise: " All advertising is rhetoric; that doesn't entail that all rhetoric is advertising."

I disagree.
posted by zarq at 8:16 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm happy if it's been filtered down to have a big "By the way, this is an ad" indicator next to it by the time it gets to me.

and:

Most advertising, and in fact most viral marketing promotions, do not involve deception

Same planet, different worlds.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Most advertising, and in fact most viral marketing promotions, do not involve deception.

I think there's an argument to be made that delayed transparency is a real form of non-transparency. The ad that is 30 seconds or two minutes of non-ad engagement followed by ad content is different in how we experience it (as a naive, unprimed viewer, i.e. as the idealized viewer from the ad's perspective) from "advertising company presents: 30 seconds or two minutes of clever media production".

The distinction between that sort of delayed-disclosure format and astroturfing is definitely important as well, but there are reasons that a lot of designed-to-be-viral ads bury the lede and it's not because they're indifferent to where the plug goes. More people would decline to engage immediately if presented with "this is unambiguously an ad" immediately.

This is maybe analogous to clipboard-carrying canvassers who lead in with a question about the weather or a proffered hand rather than "I'd like to talk to you about x". Canvassers are pretty self-identifying by nature to anyone who has run into one before, but it's still an effort to package the sales pitch around engagement-before-business.

I think this stuff is variously fascinating and maddening and structurally worth looking close at. I mostly keep passive ads out of my day to day experience where I can but I don't feel strongly repelled by them as media objects, maybe significantly because as a homebody with no traditional TV habits I don't end up consuming as many of them as I might otherwise. Half the time when I see actual TV in a hotel room or whatever the commercials suck me in for a bit because it's all, oh, hey, the new ads are on! What new shit are they up to now? But that's just me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:28 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is maybe analogous to clipboard-carrying canvassers who lead in with a question about the weather or a proffered hand rather than "I'd like to talk to you about x".

I've learned that direct, very intense, silent eye contact and a subtle shaking of the head makes them back off like nothing else.

♒☆
posted by griphus at 8:40 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is a difference between astroturfing, which is what I believe you are describing here, and viral marketing. There is a huge realm of viral marketing that involves no deception or manipulation.

I am quite certain that you are not trying to be patronizing here but you appear to be saying that I am incorrect in how I think and feel about these things due to a simple misunderstanding about vocabulary. This is not the case. If advertising that was created intending to be viral marketing was prefaced by "We really want you to pass this video around to your friends in order to increase awareness of our brand!" it would not be as effective. That pause before the reveal is what marketers and advertisers want to fill with stuff to make you think "Well sure it's an ad but it's REALLY GOOD/SOPHISTICATED/SUBTLE/COMPELLING..." and so pass it around despite people's built in misgivings about being advertised to.

I really believe this is a thing on which reasonable people disagree, and I agree that the study of advertising as a social phenomenon is really interesting but I believe that advertising and marketing by their very natures involve a certain amount of "We think we can manipulate your preferences" behavior on the part of the people creating it. Whether they are correct or not, or whether they are "good causes" or not, is not my concern.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:44 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


One night during that hazy summer after high school, several friends and I were sitting around on our buddy Ed's couch after a heavy session of bong rips and underage beers, watching infomercials on the big cabinet TV in Ed Sr.'s living room. I have a vague recollection that it was a Marshall Silver moneymaking scheme but that could be wrong, it could have been a Ronco-style kitchen value item demonstration with a Paid TV Audience. Whatever, it was a 30-minute commercial.

Ed's parents appeared, home early from their anniversary dinner. They both greeted us and Mrs. K went upstairs while Ed Sr. poured himself a brandy and plopped down in the middle of the couch with us. We shot the shit for a little bit -- he grilled us about our Big Plans for the Future -- and eventually we all subsided into silence and let the TV take over.

About ten minutes later Ed Sr. slammed his glass down on the table, leaped to his feet, and shouted, "Hey! This is a commercial!" He leveled the most disdainful look at each of us, like we had tricked him and now he could see that we were all headed for failure, and stormed out of the room.

He was right on all counts.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:14 AM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is maybe analogous to clipboard-carrying canvassers who lead in with a question about the weather or a proffered hand rather than "I'd like to talk to you about x". Canvassers are pretty self-identifying by nature to anyone who has run into one before, but it's still an effort to package the sales pitch around engagement-before-business.

A few months ago I had just seen a Protomen concert, and bought wristbands to wear/as a weird gift for a friend. The next day, I was walking through Toronto a little bit early for lunch with a friend, dressier than normal, having come off of an interview. Wearing the wristbands, which said "with these hands we will rebuild" on one, and "with these hands we will destroy" on the other. Walking listening to the same band on my mp3 player, of course.

A canvasser with what I thought was a well-done one of those intros. In addition to being an attractive and friendly woman which at least gets the foot in the door, she said that if she could guess what I was listening to, I would give her 5 minutes of my time.

So she guessed, wrongly (naturally), and then tried to backpedal by getting me to give her a hint. I shrugged, and rolled up my sleeves to show off the wristbands. Still nothing. She tried to go into her pitch anyways, but I just said "sorry, we had a deal", put my headphones back in and left.

Moral of the story: man those marketers will try any gimmick to get a minute of your time, and/or I really hope she was a marketer and not just a pretty woman who wanted to talk to me that I blew off.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:34 AM on October 9, 2013


jessamyn: "I am quite certain that you are not trying to be patronizing here but you appear to be saying that I am incorrect in how I think and feel about these things due to a simple misunderstanding about vocabulary."

I am absolutely not trying to be patronizing. We seem to not be understanding each other and that's probably my fault. I'll try to explain myself further.

I think your original comment described something that fit the definition of astroturfing, not the term you used: viral marketing. I pointed out the difference since the point of my original comment was to say that I do not subscribe to the belief that all ads are inherently unethical.

An advertising (or public relations) campaign which deliberately masks or obscures the sponsors of its message is astroturfing. It is definitely possible for viral ads or marketing efforts to astroturf. The ad in the FPP was an example of, as cortex mentions, a form of delayed disclosure. Misdirection. But it wasn't astroturfing because the ad's sponsor was clearly mentioned at the end.

I totally get why an ad with delayed disclosure that is emotionally manipulative can be problematic. I do. And I think that different ads may engage in this to different degrees. There's a difference between the Carrie ad and say, Apple's famous 1984 ad. Both incorporate delayed disclosure. But only the Carrie ad made people think that something was happening that wasn't.

"If advertising that was created intending to be viral marketing was prefaced by "We really want you to pass this video around to your friends in order to increase awareness of our brand!" it would not be as effective.

Of course. Yet even though most ads never say it overtly that's what their sponsors are hoping for. Advertisers want their ads to be seen by as many people as possible. They want them to be talked about and passed around. They want to increase awareness of what is being highlighted in the ad. Whether they say so or not.

So they use a variety of techniques to attract attention. Some subtle, some unsubtle. This is an ad that won a clio award a few years back, for Sony. The ad doesn't mention a product until 2:24 and it also went viral to a degree. It bounced around on facebook and was mentioned by a number of websites.

That pause before the reveal is what marketers and advertisers want to fill with stuff to make you think "Well sure it's an ad but it's REALLY GOOD/SOPHISTICATED/SUBTLE/COMPELLING..." and so pass it around despite people's built in misgivings about being advertised to.

The most common form this takes actually seems to be either "FUNNY" or "SAD." But emotional appeals are logical hooks for an advertiser to take no matter which one is being targeted.

I really believe this is a thing on which reasonable people disagree, and I agree that the study of advertising as a social phenomenon is really interesting but I believe that advertising and marketing by their very natures involve a certain amount of "We think we can manipulate your preferences" behavior on the part of the people creating it.

To some extent, yes. I agree. But ads that solely exist to raise awareness (instead of sell a product) aren't necessarily trying to manipulate a preference for one thing over another. They're attempting to create/attract interest or spread information. We could say quite accurately that they are trying to evoke a response and push people to make a choice between taking an action or not. But that's not really the same as the purpose behind a deceptive, unethical ad.

Whether they are correct or not, or whether they are "good causes" or not, is not my concern."

OK.

My original point is that I don't understand why the motivations of an ad's sponsors shouldn't matter when we're trying to determine whether or not "advertising is a terrible thing" and if we should "protect ourselves" from it. If you're not concerned about that, no problem. But I am. Which was why I spoke up in the first place.
posted by zarq at 10:43 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also... and I probably should have said this before anything else: If I came across as patronizing in any of my responses to you I apologize. Sincerely, that wasn't my intention.
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on October 9, 2013


I think viral marketing is a GOOD thing, and I'd like to see MetaFilter become a more welcoming venue for it.

Basically, marketing has brought humankind many benefits - mainly in keeping us informed of the continuous innovations that the market produces. As such, it promotes efficiencies and lowers transaction costs, creating real value for consumers like you and me.

But why should mammalian organisms reap all the benefits of marketing? Viruses, which are a valid form of life or demi-life, can also benefit from marketing targeted towards their specific needs.

Take my herpes virus as an example - if it was able to access the benefits of marketing, maybe it wouldn't spend all its time causing painful sores on my genitalia. And then we'd BOTH maximise our utility, and I could concentrate on negotiating the exchange of goods and services with my gonorrhoeae infection, and also I have syphilis.

So keep on marketing to the viruses that wrack my body and feel free to cold-call any of my cold sores, or indeed my pustulent warts. Thank you.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I disagree.

Be my guest! You can call anything you like "advertising," but it doesn't seem very useful to simply call all rhetoric advertising, any more than it would to call the internet "facebook." I'm addressing you now rhetorically. Am I advertising? Not in any meaningful sense of the word, I think.

I'm not even in the GRAR ADVERTISING camp (My opinions on advertising are in this thread), I just think it's pointless to conflate advertising with speech.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:27 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Take my herpes virus...

You're a true romantic, quid.
posted by griphus at 1:02 PM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


VOTE #1 SIMPLEX KID
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:58 PM on October 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I believe that advertising and marketing by their very natures involve a certain amount of "We think we can manipulate your preferences" behavior on the part of the people creating it.

"We think we can manipulate their preferences" is marketing's basic pitch.

So here's a bit of market research, gratis, to anybody who wants to manipulate mine:

1. Make good shit.
2. Make a website that accurately describes your shit, lets me buy it easily, doesn't attempt to upsell me, and uses no animation or sound.
3. When I create an account with you, make email communication opt-in, not opt-out.
4. Put the money your peers would be spending on advertising into product support and development instead.
5. Rely on positive word-of-mouth (and word-of-fingers) from satisfied customers.

That's your basic recipe for cracking the growing "fuck off and take your stupid purple monkey with you" demographic that a corrupt and cynical marketing industry has created with its grinding relentless noise machine. The underlying principle: if you get in my face, I will remember your name and actively avoid doing business with you.
posted by flabdablet at 4:57 PM on October 9, 2013


I would rather have herpes than advertising. Vote #1 QuidnucHerp.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:06 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


So if I were to make, say, a post on the works of Alphonse Mucha, should I tag it as "advertising" because he worked primarily in advertisement lithographs?
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:34 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't hurt, but clearly that's not what people are talking about here, so, you know: :rolleyes:
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:39 PM on October 9, 2013


I don't actually understand where the sarcasm is in your response! I legitimately, earnestly have been entertained and delighted by advertising in the past, regardless of my feelings toward the product, and I feel like maybe this isn't such an uncommon thing?
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:07 PM on October 9, 2013


Personally I see a clear difference between a post about an artist whose work appears in advertising and a post about an advertisement, but I can see how the distinction might be lost on some.

And although I feel much the same way as stav does about advertising in general, it's undeniable that the occasional gem does indeed slip through the marketing machine's mediocrity filter, and I have no problem with those showing up here - as long as they're marked as what they are.
posted by flabdablet at 3:16 AM on October 10, 2013


My job involves watching advertising, and I came here to tell you that Pepsi Blue is great and it hasn't corrupted my brain at all.

Seriously, I do enjoy some of the advertising posts on here, particularly the one recently about a mixed-race couple, as we see so many of these in ads in the UK that I found it baffling that it was still even notable in the US, never mind controversial.
posted by mippy at 5:04 AM on October 10, 2013


Now, I have recently discovered that my views on this are considered "extreme" and that I shouldn't assume that other people hold them. Do other people hold them?

I think a lot of people, including myself, would characterize these views as extreme, sure. Do other people hold them? Almost certainly.

But, as has already been pointed out elsewhere in this thread - the post was clearly labeled and you are under no obligation to click.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:57 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"All public, persuasive argument can be thought of as a form of advertising: the promotion of one idea over another."

Not in any coherent, meaningful way. That ignores the history of the term, the modern usage, and the salient distinction of commercial implication. It's a facile comparison that is the sort of thing that flacks tell themselves in order to believe they're not shills. (I say this currently working essentially as a flack.)

First off, advertisements don't primarily function as persuasion, but rather as grabbing attention or awareness. The easiest example is a flyer advertising a band's show. To argue that there's a competitive idea there, that the band is attempting to persuade beyond other competing activities, is to spin into sophistry — no other activities are named, no examination of claims is made.

So advertising isn't always focused on being persuasive. Is persuasive rhetoric always advertising? No, as in many cases of persuasive rhetoric, both sides are often already known and attended to. It takes a perverse misreading to imply that this MeTa is an advertisement for banning advertising here. The cases for and against advertising have been discussed many times; there's nothing novel that attention is being directed toward.

This isn't to say that much advertising doesn't have as a goal to also be persuasive; comparisons to brand X are an easy example. And certainly, there's a fair amount of persuasive writing that's aimed at bringing attention to an issue or product or idea. Most non-profit communications is like that.
posted by klangklangston at 10:04 AM on October 10, 2013


Despite being quite familiar with these arguments (like, I read Adbusters from 1990-1992), I don't really have strong opinions on it.

However, for many years now I've lived with a vastly reduced amount of exposure to ads. I never really watched television as an adult, and when I began to watch television again with Sopranos eleven years ago, it was first with DVDs and then downloaded on the net. I have a TV, but it hasn't been hooked up to an antenna/cable, for many years. And I've been browsing the web with adblock for years.

Especially with TV ads, I find that I cannot tolerate them at all, anymore. When I'm at someone else's house and they have the TV on, or if, god forbid, we watch a television program there and I see the ads ... they sort of boggle my mind now. They're so loud and stupid and full of obnoxious things. I now have a sort of strong visceral dislike of them, but it's not intellectual, it's not reasoned. My rational opinion about advertising is the same as it's always been. Somewhere between ambivalent to mildly hostile. But I can't stand to see them anymore.

Also, I feel this way about local television news, too, I've found, for similar reasons.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:04 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


octobersurprise and klang, those are interesting arguments, and obviously my thinking about all rhetoric being a type of advertising wasn't well thought out. Thanks.
posted by zarq at 10:07 AM on October 10, 2013


Especially with TV ads, I find that I cannot tolerate them at all, anymore. When I'm at someone else's house and they have the TV on, or if, god forbid, we watch a television program there and I see the ads ... they sort of boggle my mind now. They're so loud and stupid and full of obnoxious things. I now have a sort of strong visceral dislike of them, but it's not intellectual, it's not reasoned. My rational opinion about advertising is the same as it's always been. Somewhere between ambivalent to mildly hostile. But I can't stand to see them anymore.

I get back to Canada for a visit once every 3 years or so, on average. Briefly dipping my toe in that filthy pool at such extended intervals has been... interesting.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:37 PM on October 10, 2013


So I guess the main takeaway here is, people apparently feel the same way about TV commercials that I do about cable news.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:54 PM on October 10, 2013


Just an idea, thought experiment:

Add a flag reason called "I don't like this type of post and don't like seeing them." Upon clicking this you are given a list of "neg-tags," things like "AdFilter" and "NewsFilter" that are often used to decry a post by those who object to them. You select an appropriate neg-tag, or petition to create a new one, but the list is kept short, and perhaps established by community vote and mod veto...OutageFilter, NewsFilter, ChatFilter, PepsiBlue...

If at least ten people use that flag and neg-tag on a given post (assuming ten is a reasonable number of people, meaning that there are many posts where at least ten people find it distasteful for the same reason but the post stands) then the post is given a single distinct neg-tag, which can shift dynamically if more people flag but specify a different neg-tag.

Now, allow users to exclude specific neg-tags and can decide how to filter them out on the front page -- don't show them at all, show them with a red flag / neg-tag highly visible, and with the option to always override neg-tagging if a contact favorites a particular post.

BalkanizeFilter
posted by lordaych at 12:30 AM on October 16, 2013


Meanwhile...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:27 AM on October 16, 2013


you do not have to read everything posted on Metafilter.
posted by sweetkid at 15:06 on October 8 [11 favorites +] [!]


GAH! I was within a couple of weeks of catching up too.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:51 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


My job involves watching advertising, and I came here to tell you that Pepsi Blue is great and it hasn't corrupted my brain at all.

I'm sure you believe that, too.
posted by flabdablet at 7:39 PM on October 20, 2013


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