Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marketing Musings

I don’t want to be rude, and I’m not trying to offend anyone, but writers, and actors, and directors… sometimes they say the things they know people want to hear. And I’m not against that. I was a marketing student before I decided to switch to human resources. I know that these people understand that no matter what they want to do, if the audience doesn’t like it, they’ll lose fanbase, and if they lose fanbase, they lose money, and if they lose money, well… they may lose their creation.

I’ve once had someone tell me that they hated marketing. Marketing was evil, plain and simple. Nothing good ever came from marketing. Her example of marketing being evil is for a song. On the regular track on the album, it has a bagpipes solo – which is awesome. I love that solo, I think it’s awesome, and it fits perfectly into the song. However, when the band decided they wanted to put the single on the radio, they changed that solo into a guitar solo. And I’ll be honest – it sucked. In fact, it sorta stole away from ‘oomph’ the song had. So instead of having a great song play on the radio, the band now had an okay song. Many people thought the song was ruined. Because marketing said “No, we can’t have a bagpipes solo. Too many people hate the bagpipes.”

So, marketing is evil? Because of a bagpipes solo? Okay, fine. Great Big Sea chose the wrong people to help market their music. I’ll admit that. But to say that marketing is good for nothing is ridiculous. The woman arguing this point to me was American. Great Big Sea, her favourite band, was Canadian. And I hate to break it to her, and to others, but this band is barely known in the States, compared to Canada. In fact, I’ve even had people from Newfoundland (the province the band originates from) become surprised when they found out I love the band. They had no idea how popular the b’ys were on the mainland. And you know what? The only reason I know about Great Big Sea is because of marketing. Yes, I said it. Marketing. Without marketing, that band never would have gotten off The Rock. They’d still be playing pubs, or maybe even theatres, in Newfoundland. Marketing includes some of the most basic things from posters to word of mouth. But without marketing so many things would not be so well known today. Without some marketing genius saying “Let’s get your album over to the mainland in Ontario,” Great Big Sea might never have made it as big as they did. And no one, including myself, would know they existed.

The same goes for the X-Files. People say things, people do things, but it doesn’t mean they agree with them. It’s with the understanding of “I need more money, so I’ll cater to the wants of the people.” Shows like this, that last as long as they do, they are not made solely as something that the creators want. They have to make compromises. They have no choice. I know this. And you know, sometimes the marketing choice is a big flop. Look at the ‘new Coca Cola’ they had made. It flopped so bad they brought the old Coke back, slapped ‘Classic’ on the bottle, and fired the bugger who had said, “Let’s make a new Coke!” I can only assume they fired him/her, I have no proof. But if I were to have an employee botch up that bad I’d make sure their ass was on the street by the end of the week. It was a poor decision on the marketers’ part, as well as whoever created the recipe, and whoever agreed that it tasted good. In fact, I bet Coca Cola was having a fit when that idea fell through. I wonder how much money they lost because of a bad idea?

Now I’m not saying that everything they’ve come out with is against what CC wants. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying it’s not carved in stone. He certainly won’t admit that he didn’t want something to happen. It would give an air of bitterness, and the fans would be disappointed. So really, anything that comes out (cards, magazines, books) has to be taken with a grain of salt. It has to be. Because it is all just a marketing scheme. Whether or not CC approved of the marketing scheme is another matter. For all we know, he could have approved of everything, although that’s highly unlikely. Just as his disapproving of everything is highly unlikely. I’m sure there are certain things that we, the consumers, have snatched up, that Carter looked at and said, “But why? No, I don’t like it.”

It’s not whether or not you’ll like it, it’s about whether or not you’ll like it enough to buy it. That’s not CC. CC put his name on it, yes, but CC created the show and the movies, not the merchandise.

Don’t get me wrong. I love merchandise. However, I am completely aware of the main goals of producing the stuff. It’s a win/win situation, although, truth be told, the consumer is getting robbed blind usually. This is why I usually end up buying my merch second-hand. Come to think of it, I buy most of my stuff second-hand. Clothes, merchandise, movies. Why buy it at full price when I can buy it at a fraction of that, and have fun searching as well?

That’s really all I have to say.

Just don’t think that the merchandise is something special and created because of CC, and not because of marketers out to get your every penny.

Whack fall the day!

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