There’s a message here to politicians from marketers: Grow a spine, stand up for something sensible
Martin Daubney on Breitbart describes a new form of internet-era marketing. Companies that put out provocative ads predictably get attacked by the holier-than-thou. But if they stand up to the thought police, they suddenly find themselves in the middle of a social media war and at the winning end. Because they didn’t cave in to the PC, they get thousands of passionate defenders online, lots of new customers, loads of free PR, and the “wave” breaches the social media world and spills into the mainstream.
For example, Protein World got attacked for an ad with women in bikini’s. They didn’t pull the ad under the condemnation from the usual quarters; instead they baited the “Offendotrons” with a parody twitter pic of a beached whale “Are you Feminist Body Ready?”. In response to the furore, Protein World has “added 20,000 customers and driven revenue in excess of £1 million – in the last four days alone.”
Likewise, BarberBarber, which does men’s haircuts, banned women from its premises. It got death threats, but sales are booming, there are queues to use it, and new branches are opening. It’s not just “controversy sells” but about calling the bluff and standing up for something. In the BarberBarber case, the offensive insult is not that women aren’t welcome at a place that trims beards, but that people think women are so insecure that we might be offended by a banal common-sense rule. Who is vulnerable and precious? Most women want to cheer – Not me!
Daubney doesn’t say it, but there’s a message here for politicians, especially polite conservative ones who so frequently cave in to the namecalling bullies. The public are sick of being told what to think, treated like babies, and being called sexist, or racist, homophobic, polluting “deniers”, ignorant, stupid, immoral, etc.. There is a wellspring of passionate support waiting to be tapped for any politician willing to turn the tables back on the name-callers. But it is, of course, a high risk game, and those playing it need to get their house in order before they play. If they are at all sexist, racist, or homophobic etc, it will blow up in their face, and in a terminal way.
No wonder voters are cynical to the end
Politicans fail both sides of the spectrum. Left leaning politicians stand for something (though often the wrong thing on “science”), the left-leaning media whips them into messiahs, then they predictably fail to deliver. (Think Obama, think Rudd.) Right leaning politicians stand weakly for the same things, and pander to the outrage-crowd in an effort to avoid the flak. They aim for what they think is the “middle-ground” only to find they are still called misogynistic deniers (even if their deputy and chief of staff are both women and they spend billions to reduce “carbon”).
The big-lie under the outrage crowd, or Offendotrons as Daubney brilliantly daubs them, is that they pretend they represent “most people” but often they’re just the loudest five or ten percent of the population. (Look out, the noisy fringe yells “extremist” — it’s projection, projection, all the way down.) Conservative politicians who pander to this earn no votes from those-who-shout, but lose passionate support and feet on the ground from the 50% of the population who’ve had enough. And the national conversation swirls a sinkhole of nothingness while real issues beg to be noticed.
Tony Abbott stood for something when he made a blood oath to get rid of the carbon tax, but when he panders to the vested interests in the RET (Renewable Energy Target), gives money to UN Green Funds, or gives in on free speech with Section 18C, he burns off the once fired up defenders. Appeasement has a price.
For seekers of easy offendotron-targets the flak is the clue, advertising where the best targets are. Occasionally armouring up, and judiciously heading right into the flak, would be a welcome change from being driven around the paddock like a herd of sheep by a veneer of flak-spewing offendotrons on social media.
Bullying is brittle, it depends on an audacious bluff, but cracks up under pressure
Where is the politician who will brave up to the Emperors with No Clothes — the little-dictators who pretend that air-conditioners control the global climate, or that windfarms can stop storms? Close relatives of offendotrons cloak themselves in “science” but don’t even know what science is. They chant consensus, but consensus is the antithesis of science. They don’t want replication, public data, or public debate, they’re anti-science but toss that term at anyone who disagrees with them. They use “tricks to hide declines” and pretend that’s scientific. They claim one thermometer can measure 200,000 cubic kilometers of water to a hundredth of a degree and never ever protest when thermometers are placed next to hot tarmac, industrial machinery, or above asphalt in car parks. Breathlessly they swear we must reduce “carbon”, but they ignore the cheapest, best solutions for doing just that, and choose instead the expensive, wasteful options that reward their friends and punish their enemies. They fake-out that they want to help the poor, then deny them cheap energy. Their leaders buy waterfront properties and clock up huge flight miles, while telling us how evil air travel is and how rising seas endanger us all. Then, to top it all off, they accuse the volunteers who protest their bogus “science” as cynically in it only for the money.
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