Trying to Collect my Scattered Thoughts

kellym78's picture

Well, this isn't an official response to much of anything, but I wanted to at least throw a little update out there.

First of all, living with twenty thousand thoughts and ideas running around my neuronal network constantly is frustrating, exhilirating, and exhausting. There are twenty articles to which I want to respond, thirty different ways to track and promote my progress, contact lists to be exported/imported, stats to assess...you get the drift. O_O

An amusing development is the three (?) threads about our ads at Democratic Underground. Unfortunately, two have been archived and one is in a donors only section, so I wasn't able to invite them over here for a nice healthy debate on the definition of pornography, the objectification of women, and maintaining rational and effective marketing. No matter what our individual desires or wishes are concerning the more...primitive... parts of our brain, I feel that in order to achieve our goals as a group, it would behoove us to work with those inclinations rather than against them. Statistics support that theory, and I would even argue that part of our success would fall into that category as well. (Not trying to sound conceited--just saying...) Of course, most of you already know this since it has already been beaten to death on the forums.

The other amusing thing is that Laura Ingraham, who had Brian on her show last year and was absolutely, insanely, mortifyingly rude and dishonest, has a new piece of sh...oops...book out and talks about Brian and us godless heathens for about three pages. (p. 294-6) I don't think she realizes that she manages to acheive the elusive self-pwn in the transcript of the small parts of the interview during which Brian's mic wasn't muted. She says, "I believe love comes from God..." and Brian responds with a much more plausible scenario--that it is a combination of natural selection and societal pressure, essentially--and she goes on to say, "Why do we have Good Samaritans?" (p. 296) Hey Laura, try opening that bible some day! The whole point of that parable was that the only person who stopped to help the man who had been robbed and beaten was not only a heathen, but an enemy of the man that he helped. The moral of the story is that the Samaritan was a good person despite all of that, and that claiming an affiliation with a particular religion does not make you a paragon of virtue. I still stand by the name she was given from that day--which isn't really suitable for reprint here. (F.S.C. *Lolz*)

Anywho...tomorrow I will take on His Holiness, former Nazi sympathizer and torturer of theology students everywhere (you try reading two hundred pages on the eucharist and transubstantiation--I'm bitter), Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict. I'm already excited. Laughing out loud

Later,

Kelly

 

links to DU.com threads:

1

2

 

 

    oh kelly, always

    oh kelly, always keep your work fun, anything else seems unhealthy, go laughing all the way, so that we can learn to better laugh too !  JOY to the world ... laughing from indignation,... and making time for riding sea doos ... abolish work , do 12 beers, then piss on the pope.

Mabey you'll like this,

http://www.laweekly.com/news/features/virgin-whore/165/   

totus_tuus's picture

I'm quite certain His

I'm quite certain His Holiness was unable to sleep last night in dread of your ferocious onslaught.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II

vjack's picture

Admittedly, I don't spend

Admittedly, I don't spend much time on the forums here (or anywhere else for that matter), but I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about when you say:

"No matter what our individual desires or wishes are concerning the more...primitive... parts of our brain, I feel that in order to achieve our goals as a group, it would behoove us to work with those inclinations rather than against them. Statistics support that theory, and I would even argue that part of our success would fall into that category as well. (Not trying to sound conceited--just saying...) Of course, most of you already know this since it has already been beaten to death on the forums."

kellym78's picture

The concept of using

The concept of using semi-provocative and/or sexual imagery in ads/videos/the site, etc...It's been discussed a gazillion times here. You could see the ads themselves in the DU.com threads.

Brian37's picture

In a utopian word it would

In a utopian word it would be nice if dictators, which is what the Pope is, the Vatican is it's own country....in a utopian world, he would have the guts to face the people he is trashing and say it to our face and debate us. But what do you expect from intelectuall cowards?

I also find it telling that these people who become Pope do the same thing as Hollywood actors by changing his name. At least with actors you know they are acting and they dont pretend to be anything but actors. GO GET EM KELLY, he doesnt stand a chance. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

An ad at DU was my introduction to atheist movement

I've been an athiest for over 20 years, but did not think about it much.

 

I saw an ad at DemocraticUnderground.com (DU) for "The God Who Wasn't There", ordered the film, opened the package not expecting much, and was bowled over by the film. I decided to follow up by reading "The End of Faith", checking out books by Robert M. Price, and Earl Doherty, and found Reg Finley's "Infidel Guy" show, where I watched RRS form out of the void, beginning with something called the "Book of Sapient".

And then came "The God Delusion", Dennett, the Blasphemy Challange, the War on Christmas, the whole shebang...but it all started for me with an ad on Democratic Underground. Just thought folks might want to know...

Eloise's picture

kelly wrote:

kelly wrote:

No matter what our individual desires or wishes are concerning the more...primitive... parts of our brain, I feel that in order to achieve our goals as a group, it would behoove us to work with those inclinations rather than against them

JMHO Kelly, but I find I don't agree that it behooves your cause at all. It seems calculating and undermining of the alleged compassion of the RRS message to play statisical odds against the sensitivities of a demographic in your target outreach. I realise provocation is a popular tool of rhetoric in western culture but I think it's exponentially overrated when it becomes your only, or even your most favoured brand image tool.

advice, offered with the kindest possible intention please read and consider:

http://newsblaze.com/story/20071024115605tsop.nb/newsblaze/NEWSWIRE/NewsBlaze-Wire.html

 PS: I know you guys are small, but cogitate the principles herein anyway, see what you come up with.

 

 

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Sapient's picture

Eloise,  I can see how you

Eloise, 

I can see how you might feel as if that article is of importance to us.  I'm having a hard time finding how we're really working in contrary to the points being made in that article.  Which I agree with.

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.

Hambydammit's picture

Huh? Did I miss something?

Huh? Did I miss something? Are we on about Kelly's boobs again?

If we are talking about that, then will someone please explain to me what it is about good looking people that doesn't sell? I mean, all the marketing I've ever seen in my life shows that people overwhelmingly prefer products that depict attractive people enjoying them. I'm still at a complete loss as to how RRS is doing anything other than using our most attractive member for posters.

Quote:
It seems calculating and undermining of the alleged compassion of the RRS message to play statisical odds against the sensitivities of a demographic in your target outreach.

So, you'd rather us ignore demographics, and not figure out the best way to market our idea?  Remind me not to hire you for my businesses.  

When did it become a mandate that only atheists are held to the standard of not being calculating, or using demographics to our advantage? 

Quote:
I realise provocation is a popular tool of rhetoric in western culture but I think it's exponentially overrated when it becomes your only, or even your most favoured brand image tool.

If we're not talking about Kelly, what in the world are we talking about? Brand Image is related to the perceived integrity of the product, of course. Atheists are the most reviled group in America. We are already perceived lower than lawyers and Muslims (you know, those people we're at war with) as political candidates.  For comparison, imagine a Japanese person running in World War II against an atheist.  Who do you think would win?

What, exactly, could we do that wouldn't be perceived as bad? If we're open and honest about our beliefs, we're attacked for being arrogant and pushy. If we promote other atheists, we're accused of being commercially motivated. If we use an attractive spokesmodel, we're accused of using sex to sell atheism.

We have an atheist charity website. We promote atheist authors. We work with Margaret Downey, for FSM's sake! Has anyone you've heard of done more for the atheist cause in the last twenty years? Every one of the mods is donating at least their time. Many of us donate our money. This is being run on an amazingly small budget, primarily because everyone who is involved knows how honest and open RRS is about everything it does, and is willing to donate their resources.  If we were less open, we'd have to have a much bigger budget.

Just out of curiosity, Eloise, what do you think is the most non-controversial thing we could market, that would also attract enough attention to become the number one atheist site in America?

That's not a rhetorical question.  I'd like to hear your answer.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Books about atheism

Eloise's picture

Sapient wrote:

Sapient wrote:

I'm having a hard time finding how we're really working in contrary to the points being made in that article.

Hi Brian,

That's because I'm not by any means saying that you are working in contrary to those principles, just that the brand image of RRS might be hurting when your campaign doesn't express the core social conscience of the brand.

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Hambydammit's picture

Quote: That's because I'm

Quote:
That's because I'm not by any means saying that you are working in contrary to those principles, just that the brand image of RRS might be hurting when your campaign doesn't express the core social conscience of the brand.

This makes me feel better.

Could you please explain exactly what you feel is:

The core social conscience of RRS Brand?

The image you believe to be contrary to th CSC?

How, exactly, you think the image is contrary?

I'm not trying to be confrontational.  I'm really curious, because I have always felt that we're doing a pretty fair job of representing exactly what we stand for, and I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

kellym78's picture

Eloise wrote: JMHO Kelly,

Eloise wrote:

JMHO Kelly, but I find I don't agree that it behooves your cause at all. It seems calculating and undermining of the alleged compassion of the RRS message to play statisical odds against the sensitivities of a demographic in your target outreach.

And to whom exactly are you referring? Our target outreach is people, typically young(ish), who can see through the shtick to the actual content. Part of that involves being able to rationally analyze our attitudes towards sex and women. More broadly, people who are that easily offended probably wouldn't like it here anyway. Next I'll be getting emails about how being a stripper is degrading and I should quit my job so as not to offend anybody and that I can't say the word "cunt" because some women don't like it. 

Also, what part of an advertising campaign is not calculated? Calculation is the key to any successful ad, and if you read the threads to which i linked, you'll see that the majority of people who came to the site liked it and understood why we would create an ad like that. Those are the people we want on board. Not the ones who think that ad was "offensive". Puh-leeze. 

Quote:
I realise provocation is a popular tool of rhetoric in western culture but I think it's exponentially overrated when it becomes your only, or even your most favoured brand image tool.

advice, offered with the kindest possible intention...

PS: I know you guys are small, but cogitate the principles herein anyway, see what you come up with.

I understand that you aren't trying to be rude, and it's fine for people to offer advice. I just hope that our decisions are given the same respect when we agree to disagree.

I don't see what that article had to do with us--it seemed to be more about social responsibility (ie environmental impact, etc) than ads. I also haven't seen Abercrombie and Fitch go out of business since their catalog went soft-porn.

 

 

 

Eloise's picture

Hambydammit wrote: Huh?

Hambydammit wrote:

Huh? Did I miss something? Are we on about Kelly's boobs again?

No, I wasn't on about Kelly's boobs. Kelly talked about campaign strategy and the statistical value of a campaign appealing to base desires and I was speaking to that point, simply saying that just because 'sex sells' doesn't mean it's the only or even best adverising strategy, moreover provocation can be divisive as to hinder a campaigns success while there are other angles that don't suffer this malaise.

 

 

Quote:

If we are talking about that, then will someone please explain to me what it is about good looking people that doesn't sell? I mean, all the marketing I've ever seen in my life shows that people overwhelmingly prefer products that depict attractive people enjoying them. I'm still at a complete loss as to how RRS is doing anything other than using our most attractive member for posters.

It's not that you're using Kelly's image to promote yourselves, (btw brian, rook and greydon have a fair bit going in the looks department too in their own ways)  it's how you're using it which is the point of interest. it's up to you guys, ultimately, of course. I am only offering up my opinion that you might be limiting your brand too much.

 

Quote:
Quote:
It seems calculating and undermining of the alleged compassion of the RRS message to play statisical odds against the sensitivities of a demographic in your target outreach.

So, you'd rather us ignore demographics, and not figure out the best way to market our idea? Remind me not to hire you for my businesses.

Um ... Hamby, my suggestion is that you are already ignoring demographics, furthermore, how you don't get that my whole post is directed at figurng out the best way to market your idea is beyond me. I'm baffled. Where do you get any of that from? You wouldn't hire me? Your loss.

 

Quote:

When did it become a mandate that only atheists are held to the standard of not being calculating, or using demographics to our advantage?

What advantage? What demographic? The campaign says believe in god? we can fix that? what demographic is that aimed at? What does a wide angle of Kelly's DD's have to do with their interest in your brand?

That ad in its current form is pulling and pushing with the same hand? the message is split down the centre and one half has little or nothing to do with the other.  The Tagline Believe in God? targets the market in a general demographic of believers, does the image target believers too? Only if you're trying to provoke them.

 So then the ad, pulls the god believer in, insults their intelligence with 'we can fix it' then compounds it all by an image which can be construed as another direct attack on their sensibility. 

If the aim of the ad is to push believers away from RRS and into the ready waiting arms of congregational empathy then thats the right way to do it. Go for it.

 

Quote:

Quote:
I realise provocation is a popular tool of rhetoric in western culture but I think it's exponentially overrated when it becomes your only, or even your most favoured brand image tool.

If we're not talking about Kelly, what in the world are we talking about? Brand Image is related to the perceived integrity of the product, of course. Atheists are the most reviled group in America. We are already perceived lower than lawyers and Muslims (you know, those people we're at war with) as political candidates. For comparison, imagine a Japanese person running in World War II against an atheist. Who do you think would win?

So you are not injecting the war mentality into your advertising, it's there in spite of you.... right.

 

Quote:

What, exactly, could we do that wouldn't be perceived as bad? If we're open and honest about our beliefs, we're attacked for being arrogant and pushy.

 

 Of course your point is valid, (my above comment is jokingly intended) and there's very little you can do that won't be criticised simply because you are atheists. You guys have no choice but to campaign in unfriendly districts, and for the moment, that's not going away. However, what you can do which won't add to the prejudice unecessarily, is at least worth considering. 

 

[ quote]

 If we use an attractive spokesmodel, we're accused of using sex to sell atheism.

 As I said, I'm not talking about this at all. I'm a blonde blue eyed size 10 E cup FWIW, I'm not going to betray the sisterhood, Kelly is beautiful and smart, and she makes an excellent front for RRS. My question was to wether Kelly was right that appealing to sexuality as an advertising tool was wise in the RRS campaign, I brought up some counterpoints.

 

Quote:

Just out of curiosity, Eloise, what do you think is the most non-controversial thing we could market, that would also attract enough attention to become the number one atheist site in America?

That's not a rhetorical question. I'd like to hear your answer. 

The themes you guys already use aren't innately controversial. The extraneous controversy arises when the coupling of target messages kill the synergy. For example "Freeing the world" coupled with "mind disorder of theism" is a mixes liberation with denigration, they cancel each other out at best. (i notice you guys don't use that one anymore, but this notion is still relevant to the ad at the DU). 

I posted the link to the socially responsible branding article not because I don't think RRS is socially responsible, but because when your branding image leans perpetually controversial it only makes a wilting violet of your socially responsible edge; it is also, IMO, too calculating (ie lacks warmth and creativity) an approach.

Forgive me, but this idea of attracting atention is so 80's, the approach that works on these later generations is to tap into the collective consciousness of your target group and harness the synergy of already existing memes. There are numerous uncontroversial memes that you can harness in today's world, there is a massive religious war going on that most americans think is terrible which you can tap into. The religious right strong-arming america into power brokerage that hurts the average citizen, is another pool of synergy that RRS can tap to bring people to the table of the argument over god here. With the current campaign the RRS is only linked to these collective memes indirectly, where otherwise you could link directly to them and recieve a share in the attention that they are already getting.

If you're going to advertise at the democratic underground, BTW a socially responsible political edge would be far more effective than invoking a second tier political controversy. The RRS has an ally in the DU synergy which goes begging when the ad campaign focuses on alienation.

To tap into a political collective mind you need a political angle, Global Warming is an angle that would work at the DU, how doesthe RRS stand on the GWB admins refusal to ratify Kyoto? the war budget? Faith based initiatives? Use these issues to leverage the synergy of the question the RRS asks about the future of America, what is theocracy doing to the world, the people? Focus directly on it, that's my suggestion.  

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Eloise's picture

kellym78 wrote:

kellym78 wrote:
Eloise wrote:

JMHO Kelly, but I find I don't agree that it behooves your cause at all. It seems calculating and undermining of the alleged compassion of the RRS message to play statisical odds against the sensitivities of a demographic in your target outreach.

And to whom exactly are you referring? Our target outreach is people, typically young(ish), who can see through the shtick to the actual content. Part of that involves being able to rationally analyze our attitudes towards sex and women. More broadly, people who are that easily offended probably wouldn't like it here anyway.

That last sentence, if you'll forgive my forwardness, ain't smart marketing. You can't know that, and certainly imposing the 'liking it here' boundary on yourself and your campaign is all you're doing. It doesn't necessarily exist in your market. To whom are you referring?

But the question ultimately is, if the schtick is a necessary tool of promotion or not. My suggestion is merely and simply that it's not and nor is it even the best for that matter. That's it, that's my whole point.

Quote:

Also, what part of an advertising campaign is not calculated?

Advertising is both creative and quantitative, IMHO, you need more of one, less of the other, but that is just my humble opinion, you don't need to defend your intellect so staunchly.

Quote:

Calculation is the key to any successful ad, and if you read the threads to which i linked, you'll see that the majority of people who came to the site liked it and understood why we would create an ad like that. Those are the people we want on board. Not the ones who think that ad was "offensive". Puh-leeze.

Well there you go, that answers everything. You have chosen your marketing strategy and it is to pre-choose your customers. That's fine, but I think you may want to consider raising your prices then.

 

 

Quote:
Quote:
I realise provocation is a popular tool of rhetoric in western culture but I think it's exponentially overrated when it becomes your only, or even your most favoured brand image tool.

advice, offered with the kindest possible intention...

PS: I know you guys are small, but cogitate the principles herein anyway, see what you come up with.

I understand that you aren't trying to be rude, and it's fine for people to offer advice. I just hope that our decisions are given the same respect when we agree to disagree.

There's so much I'd like to say about demanding respect, but I don't have the same emotional investment in any of this as you, it's your baby, and your talking as if I'm trying to take it off you. You're projecting that and it has nothing to do with what I said.

 

Quote:

I don't see what that article had to do with us--it seemed to be more about social responsibility (ie environmental impact, etc) than ads. I also haven't seen Abercrombie and Fitch go out of business since their catalog went soft-porn.

That's a misattribution. They didn't just switch to soft-porn they harvested synergy from an existing fashion movement. However, you guys aren't in the fashion business, you're in the media business. And ultimately of course, as I said, it's your business, just ask me to step out if that suits you better.

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Eloise's picture

Hambydammit wrote: If

Hambydammit wrote:

If we're not talking about Kelly, what in the world are we talking about? Brand Image is related to the perceived integrity of the product, of course. Atheists are the most reviled group in America.

 

Just one more thought, atheism isn't your product RRS. Your products are open rational discourse, informative and thought provoking broadcasting and conscientious activity. 

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Hambydammit's picture

Quote: simply saying that

Quote:
simply saying that just because 'sex sells' doesn't mean it's the only or even best adverising strategy, moreover provocation can be divisive as to hinder a campaigns success while there are other angles that don't suffer this malaise.

We're after theists, mainly age 18-35. To the best of my knowledge, sex is the best seller/motivater for the 18-35 market, with 18-35 being the only limiter. In other words, I don't think it's possible to hit a wider demographic.

There's more later on this point. Keep this on the front of your brain for a minute.

Quote:

It's not that you're using Kelly's image to promote yourselves, (btw brian, rook and greydon have a fair bit going in the looks department too in their own ways) it's how you're using it which is the point of interest.

Oddly, I've yet to hear any aggravated men bitching about the fact that we use Greydon's looks, or Brian's. Brian changed his clothes in the same video as Kelly, but nobody bitched about Brian. Only Kelly.

Quote:
Um ... Hamby, my suggestion is that you are already ignoring demographics, furthermore, how you don't get that my whole post is directed at figurng out the best way to market your idea is beyond me. I'm baffled. Where do you get any of that from? You wouldn't hire me? Your loss.

I'm being completely sincere about this, Eloise. The main reason I wouldn't hire you is your ability to say so many words without making your point clear.  You often seem as if you are more interested in sounding intellectual than making yourself understood.

I still don't know which demographic you think we're ignoring, and it's not for a lack of trying.

Quote:
What advantage? What demographic? The campaign says believe in god? we can fix that? what demographic is that aimed at? What does a wide angle of Kelly's DD's have to do with their interest in your brand?

To the best of my knowledge, virtually all of the theists we're trying to reach are human.

Quote:
So then the ad, pulls the god believer in, insults their intelligence with 'we can fix it' then compounds it all by an image which can be construed as another direct attack on their sensibility.

Again, I'm not trying to be flippant. Have you considered beer ads? When you see an ad with beautiful people drinking beer and having fun, the message is "Drink beer, and you'll be like us," -- implying you'll be popular enough to be with that crowd.

The beer ad is not just something I pulled out of my head. Did you know that kind of ad is particularly effective on non drinkers? Granted, there aren't too many tactics that work on non-drinkers over the age of 21 in the U.S. Most people have made up their mind by then. (Sound familiar?)

The point is, when you're advertising to a hostile audience, you need to get them with something they are interested in. One way or another, virtually everyone is interested in sex.

Quote:
So you are not injecting the war mentality into your advertising, it's there in spite of you.... right.

Yes.

I'm not going to bombard you with quotes from Christians unless you ask me to, but we didn't start the war.

Quote:
However, what you can do which won't add to the prejudice unecessarily, is at least worth considering.

Seriously, if you give us a marketing technique that you approve of that is as successful as Kelly's left boob, we'll definitely use it. I've seen the google numbers.

Quote:
My question was to wether Kelly was right that appealing to sexuality as an advertising tool was wise in the RRS campaign, I brought up some counterpoints.

Did you know that we've been the number one atheist site on the web for two weeks now? Again, I've seen the numbers, and there are only so many things we've changed. The jump in popularity has to be due to something. We know what people clicked to lead them here. We know what works and what doesn't.

It may not seem like it, but we put a lot of time into researching this stuff. Again, my challenge to you is to come up with something as good and less provocative.

Quote:
The themes you guys already use aren't innately controversial. The extraneous controversy arises when the coupling of target messages kill the synergy. For example "Freeing the world" coupled with "mind disorder of theism" is a mixes liberation with denigration, they cancel each other out at best. (i notice you guys don't use that one anymore, but this notion is still relevant to the ad at the DU).

Yeah, it turned out not to be our best marketing strategy. Care to take a guess which banners turned out to be our best? I'll give you a hint... somebody's boob was on them.

Quote:
There are numerous uncontroversial memes that you can harness in today's world, there is a massive religious war going on that most americans think is terrible which you can tap into.

Oh for fuck's sake! You want us to go into politics to be less controversial? Have you looked at the thread about pulling out of Iraq? We couldn't pull together ten atheists who agree on it!

I'm sorry, Eloise. If your best suggestion is politics, my money's still on sex.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Eloise's picture

Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
That's because I'm not by any means saying that you are working in contrary to those principles, just that the brand image of RRS might be hurting when your campaign doesn't express the core social conscience of the brand.

Sorry Kelly, I don't want to overstay my welcome, but I realised I've ignored Hamby's questions so I hope you won't mind my big feet still on your toes while I answer them.

 

Quote:

This makes me feel better.

Could you please explain exactly what you feel is:

The core social conscience of RRS Brand?

 Libertarian humanism and compassionate self interest. The title Rational Responders encompasses best what I think is the core social conscience of RRS. "Rational" encompasses the principle of personal empowerment, it promotes informing your own individual consent and enabling individual power through education and investigation. "Response" encompasses the principles of cooperation and equality, it promotes listening and openness, and it is highly suggestive of a human interest over all political, moral or other abstracts. 

 

Quote:

The image you believe to be contrary to th CSC?

How, exactly, you think the image is contrary?

I don't think the image is contrary, I think only that the prominence of low tier controversy, or schtick (as kelly said) ultimately detracts from the CSC to the detriment of the brand.

 

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I think Eloise is asking

I think Eloise is asking fair questions, but I'm not sure the answers she has in mind would leave the RRS the RRS (as I understand it). The slogans they use are combative, controversial, inflammatory, upsetting, frightening, obnoxious and direct. Their image is young, arrogant, racy, and mainstream. They will alienate a lot of people; but in doing so, may be in a position to reach an audience that can only be reached to the exclusion of some others. Consider the history of rock music, which pandered to a newly financially-empowered youth market, to the detriment of its reach toward the older mainstream audience. The same story repeats with punk and hip-hop. If you choose a youth market, you must simultaneously and explicitly reject whatever straw-man for stodginess the culture upholds. When I checked out Richard Carrier's talk at CFI-West, I was one of maybe six people under thirty-five in that audience. That is what the market for freethinking organizations hitherto generally looks like, which is fine. The idea isn't to replace every approach with a single “correct” one, but to fill in the gaps between mainstream culture and ideas like freethinking and skepticism. But, as the CFI-West audience shows us, ideas must be made part of lifestyles -- they must be cool, or controversial, before they can be considered on their own merit by a youth audience.

 

To paraphrase Sam Harris, again, this is something that must be approached a hundred different ways.

Eloise's picture

Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
simply saying that just because 'sex sells' doesn't mean it's the only or even best adverising strategy, moreover provocation can be divisive as to hinder a campaigns success while there are other angles that don't suffer this malaise.

We're after theists, mainly age 18-35. To the best of my knowledge, sex is the best seller/motivater for the 18-35 market, with 18-35 being the only limiter. In other words, I don't think it's possible to hit a wider demographic.

There's more later on this point. Keep this on the front of your brain for a minute.

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It's not that you're using Kelly's image to promote yourselves, (btw brian, rook and greydon have a fair bit going in the looks department too in their own ways) it's how you're using it which is the point of interest.

Oddly, I've yet to hear any aggravated men bitching about the fact that we use Greydon's looks, or Brian's. Brian changed his clothes in the same video as Kelly, but nobody bitched about Brian. Only Kelly.

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Um ... Hamby, my suggestion is that you are already ignoring demographics, furthermore, how you don't get that my whole post is directed at figurng out the best way to market your idea is beyond me. I'm baffled. Where do you get any of that from? You wouldn't hire me? Your loss.

I'm being completely sincere about this, Eloise. The main reason I wouldn't hire you is your ability to say so many words without making your point clear. You often seem as if you are more interested in sounding intellectual than making yourself understood.

I still don't know which demographic you think we're ignoring, and it's not for a lack of trying.

Age is not the only demographic in your market. 

But seriously Hamby, your passive agressive ad hominem tactic is starting to really annoy me. you could simply say, "because I don't understand your talking points" instead you've launched into vitriol against my supposed 'intellectualism'. it doesn't warrant my time. 

 

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What advantage? What demographic? The campaign says believe in god? we can fix that? what demographic is that aimed at? What does a wide angle of Kelly's DD's have to do with their interest in your brand?

To the best of my knowledge, virtually all of the theists we're trying to reach are human. 

Quote:
So then the ad, pulls the god believer in, insults their intelligence with 'we can fix it' then compounds it all by an image which can be construed as another direct attack on their sensibility.

Again, I'm not trying to be flippant. Have you considered beer ads? When you see an ad with beautiful people drinking beer and having fun, the message is "Drink beer, and you'll be like us," -- implying you'll be popular enough to be with that crowd.

The beer ad is not just something I pulled out of my head. Did you know that kind of ad is particularly effective on non drinkers? Granted, there aren't too many tactics that work on non-drinkers over the age of 21 in the U.S. Most people have made up their mind by then. (Sound familiar?)

The point is, when you're advertising to a hostile audience, you need to get them with something they are interested in. One way or another, virtually everyone is interested in sex.

You say yourself, it's 'One way' to get the interest. You're all too defensive over nothing, all you're doing is lynching me for pointing out the same thing.

 

 

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So you are not injecting the war mentality into your advertising, it's there in spite of you.... right.

Yes.

I'm not going to bombard you with quotes from Christians unless you ask me to, but we didn't start the war.

I never said anything about starting it. I was referring to perpetuating it.  

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However, what you can do which won't add to the prejudice unecessarily, is at least worth considering.

Seriously, if you give us a marketing technique that you approve of that is as successful as Kelly's left boob, we'll definitely use it. I've seen the google numbers.

Quote:
My question was to wether Kelly was right that appealing to sexuality as an advertising tool was wise in the RRS campaign, I brought up some counterpoints.

Did you know that we've been the number one atheist site on the web for two weeks now? Again, I've seen the numbers, and there are only so many things we've changed. The jump in popularity has to be due to something. We know what people clicked to lead them here. We know what works and what doesn't.

It may not seem like it, but we put a lot of time into researching this stuff. Again, my challenge to you is to come up with something as good and less provocative.

FACT: You're not open to it.

Quote:
 

Oh for fuck's sake! You want us to go into politics to be less controversial? Have you looked at the thread about pulling out of Iraq? We couldn't pull together ten atheists who agree on it!

No. Not less controversial, just sans invoking the same controversy in the marketplace in every campaign. But anyway, who cares, you've got the google numbers so you're right and nothing you haven't done could compare.

 

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shelley's picture

Eloise, I'm starting to

Eloise, I'm starting to wonder if you are talking about the same two ads... This woman is clothed - granted you can see some cleavage and her middrift is showing but I wore shorter skirts than that in catholic high school. 

I have sympathy for the argument of not objectifying women but this is just an attractive woman being, well, attractive.  The most attractive woman in the world might get clicked on by everyone but it wouldn't get people to read what's on the site if it was all a bunch of crap.

If an attractive cop was responding to an irrational emergency and came knocking on my door I'd let her in.  The content (reflecting her intelligence) would keep me listening.  As far as a technique that is more effective than Kelly's left boob, I'll go with Kelly's right boob.

shelley's picture

Eloise wrote: But

Eloise wrote:

But seriously Hamby, your passive agressive ad hominem tactic is starting to really annoy me. you could simply say, "because I don't understand your talking points" instead you've launched into vitriol against my supposed 'intellectualism'. it doesn't warrant my time. 

I read some of your posts 3-5 times to determine the actual argument and many times I think the same things could be just as well said more succently.  I don't think it's a personal attack but more of a suggestion.

Eloise's picture

magilum wrote: I think

magilum wrote:

I think Eloise is asking fair questions, but I'm not sure the answers she has in mind would leave the RRS the RRS (as I understand it). The slogans they use are combative, controversial, inflammatory, upsetting, frightening, obnoxious and direct. Their image is young, arrogant, racy, and mainstream. They will alienate a lot of people; but in doing so, may be in a position to reach an audience that can only be reached to the exclusion of some others. Consider the history of rock music, which pandered to a newly financially-empowered youth market, to the detriment of its reach toward the older mainstream audience. The same story repeats with punk and hip-hop. If you choose a youth market, you must simultaneously and explicitly reject whatever straw-man for stodginess the culture upholds. When I checked out Richard Carrier's talk at CFI-West, I was one of maybe six people under thirty-five in that audience. That is what the market for freethinking organizations hitherto generally looks like, which is fine. The idea isn't to replace every approach with a single “correct” one, but to fill in the gaps between mainstream culture and ideas like freethinking and skepticism. But, as the CFI-West audience shows us, ideas must be made part of lifestyles -- they must be cool, or controversial, before they can be considered on their own merit by a youth audience.

 

To paraphrase Sam Harris, again, this is something that must be approached a hundred different ways.

 I can see your point Magilum but I don't see how that advertising campaign bucks adult stodge at all. If anything it bucks progressive youth more than it bucks cultural stodge because it represents cultural stodge IMHO.

Anyhow. I'm leaving this discussion now I can see that the general concensus is that I have nothing worthwhile to contribute and I'll leave you all to that. 

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Eloise wrote: I can see

Eloise wrote:
I can see your point Magilum but I don't see how that advertising campaign bucks adult stodge at all. If anything it bucks progressive youth more than it bucks cultural stodge because it represents cultural stodge IMHO.

Anyhow. I'm leaving this discussion now I can see that the general concensus is that I have nothing worthwhile to contribute and I'll leave you all to that.

Bah! don't be like that. I think it bears discussing, unless someone actually objects.

I don't know that any youth movement ever had the ideological potency attributed to it. I've assumed the hype was an invention of the middle-aged history writers who were once those self-important young spenders. We're all sheep at some point, to some extent, until we get a little perspective and decide not to be. Not to degrade youth ideology; it's a necessary step for a person to be young and full of crap. That aside, I think I get your complaint about the seeming ideological rift between the simplistic ad message and the actual product, which is a little more sophisticated. I mean, here's a group of largely anti-dogmatic, gender-enlightened people, selling their message via the tits. Arguable contradiction recognized and noted, but it may not be the problem it seems (or it may be, I don't know, really).

I don't know if abstract concepts of free thought, rational inquiry, or self-scrutiny can be encapsulated in any way that would make sending such a message worth the expense. I've launched a few commercial websites in the past, and I was paid to track traffic patterns, develop advertising campaigns via Google Adwords, and so forth. I came to the frightening realization that the site I'd gone through more than a year of constant revisions with my client to 'perfect' was being scrutinized by the viewer an average of fourteen seconds. That's barely long enough to load the site, and click a link or two, before closing out or navigating away. That's an incredibly short span of time to have to grab someone's attention, so the necessity of controversy, and appealing to the reptile brain, is one I can sympathize with.

I assume the RRS is interested in developing different campaigns that can take advantage of the evolution of the mainstream atheist market, so I think this discussion is worthwhile.

Hambydammit's picture

Exactly,

Exactly, magilum.

Accusations of passive aggression aside, I have not yet heard a viable alternative to advertising with what works. Pretty people work.

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I came to the frightening realization that the site I'd gone through more than a year of constant revisions with my client to 'perfect' was being scrutinized by the viewer an average of fourteen seconds.

I have the last traffic reports in my google inbox. We know what makes people click, and we know how long they stay. We're constantly working to increase the number of people who click and stay.

It's no accident that "The Mind Disorder known as Theism" is no longer a prominent ad for us, and simpler slogans with Kelly are suddenly all over the place. We use what works.

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I assume the RRS is interested in developing different campaigns that can take advantage of the evolution of the mainstream atheist market, so I think this discussion is worthwhile.

A short anecdote. When I was a touring musician, I played with a band whose members had extremely diverse music backgrounds. We had a Berkeley Guitar School boy, a seventies prog rock junkie, a country girl, a hippie, a jazz guitarist, and a rasta-wannabe. For a while, we tried to reach as many people as possible. After all, we had something for everybody!

Turns out, nobody wanted us. It wasn't until we all lost our individuality and concentrated on selling a single style that we got popular. While it may seem bad that we are not targetting a wide enough audience, 18-35 year old theists is a HUGE group. Within that group, the number who respond positively to attractive women in ads is VERY, VERY HIGH.

Anyone who's done advertising for any length of time has learned that you don't advertise what you want people to buy. You advertise what people want you to sell.

This is one of the main reasons we have a ring of websites. Atheist Volunteers reaches a particular market. Same with teens, Margaret Downey, etc...

As we grow, we may well divert more resources to other campaigns, but all the marketing wisdom I'm aware of says that you concentrate on your target demographic. We've got the biggest one out there as far as internet users in our peak marketing hours (which, incidentally, are the middle of the night). Why would we change that now?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

    ... the pope needs a

    ... the pope needs a blow job, and we girls are willing to help .... "the pope , is just another dick" ....

Hows that for an ad ?

Hambydammit's picture

controversial

controversial Smiling

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

     Reality check ,

     Reality check , ask the girls .... sheeezzz.  Promote humor , from a girl perspective,  boys will always follow girls. GIRLS get brave, in the name of virgin mary, who had a little extra fun !  .... no thanks to the jealous silly boys, shake it girls ....

Tits for god, I mean no god .... not mans god ....

oh such wisdom on 15 beers ....

Eloise's picture

shelleymtjoy

shelleymtjoy wrote:

Eloise, I'm starting to wonder if you are talking about the same two ads... This woman is clothed - granted you can see some cleavage and her middrift is showing but I wore shorter skirts than that in catholic high school.

Hi Shelley,

I just wanted to say, quickly, for the record. This has nothing to do with any personal distaste or moral condescension on my part.  I am not in any way shape or form, as a woman or otherwise, offended insulted or displeased at the notion of Kelly (or anyone) doing a Pammie for a few extra clicks. 

To be entirely clear, To Kelly's statement about capitalising on 'reptilian' human instinct behooving the RRS cause I have posed questions about the RRS brand image and it's connection (or lack thereof) to that promotion. No anger, no disappointment, no political correctness here. In fact you might notice, I'm of the opinion that some of the guys would have the same pull, and why not, that's what the christians are doing with their male lookers.

One more time, in case you missed it. I haven't a single objection to the promotion.  Only questions regarding the strategy of its use. (at the Democratic Underground for example, where another tack may have had much more positive effect in todays political climate) 

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shelley's picture

Eloise I'm glad you came

Eloise I'm glad you came back to the discussion.  As Magilum said, if you have a concrete objection we should discuss it.

 The link you posted talks about emphasizes social responsibility and "employee treatment and active community engagement are the most important aspects of corporate social responsibility."  Since we've now clarified that the cop ads aren't prostitution or objectification they can't create the perception that women aren't being treated properly.  As far as community engagement, to me, the ad creates the image that a hot cop is on the case, rapidly responding to my irrational emergency. 

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That ad in its current form is pulling and pushing with the same hand? the message is split down the centre and one half has little or nothing to do with the other.  The Tagline Believe in God? targets the market in a general demographic of believers, does the image target believers too? Only if you're trying to provoke them.

 

 Are you suggesting that she wear a rosary or something? That probably would offend people.  The only way I think you *could* target believers would be to use some sort of religious object or position and I can't imagine that not being taken offensively.  (Actually that might be a good controversial ad Eye-wink jk )

I don't think the cop ad pulls in two directions.  I think it says, hey, look at us, not only are we cool but we have a response to this religious crisis.  She's not just randomly dressed in skimpy clothing.  The cop outfit is the link.

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 So then the ad, pulls the god believer in, insults their intelligence with 'we can fix it' then compounds it all by an image which can be construed as another direct attack on their sensibility.

I thought you just said it doesn't pull believers in?  If it offends their intelligence then maybe that will motivate them to come here and defend those beliefs.  I, for one, would love to hear a good defense.

 

 

 So are you saying the ad itself doesn't make sense or are you basically saying that while appeals to sex are effective it wasn't the proper choice here?  Could you perhaps suggest a specific tactic/stragety that would have a more positive effect?  It doesn't have to be perfect but maybe if you had a general example I could see what's wrong with my interpretation of your argument.  As far as the issues you gave such as global warming, the only atheist consensus is 'non-belief' but even if that wasn't the case a complicated position on an issue doesn't make for a small photograhic ad.

I made the statement about

I made the statement about appealing to the 'reptile' brain, which I justified by pointing to my experiences with web promotion and visitor retention. I'll agree that the message of the advertisements is a bit scattershot -- people make big bucks to refine messages to the point that they seem 'simple' -- but I'm not sure what to compare it to in terms of efficacy. If the idea is to communicate a sound ideological stance, I'm not sure how to do it. Communication such as this depends on the prerequisite ideas being known to the audience, which places the RRS at a steep disadvantage. Few people know what atheism or agnosticism are beyond straw-men conceptions, and this applies to collateral subjects like evolution. So I'm going to work off the assumption that the idea isn't to communicate anything ultimately useful, but to shock, tantalize, intrigue. If a theist comes here, guns a'blazing, it's preferable to an unknown visitor clicking in for three seconds and leaving without participating. The goal, as I see it, is to engage people on whatever level is available; because even adversarial interaction presents more potential than none at all.

Is there a better way? Let's figure it out.

Eloise's picture

Hi Magilum and

Hi Magilum and Shelley,

Sorry about the misattribution of the 'reptilian' comment, I couldn't recall how Kelly referred to it at the moment I was typing so I just went with what was front of my mind.

First, to Shelley, I see your point about the relevance of the police outfit - rational emergency imagery;, maybe it's a bit too vague in the actual promotion, but forget that nitpicking is a waste of time; the thing is, although I personally don't have an irrational politic about objectification, others do, and especially 'good little pollyanna' theists do. At the same time, I'm not suggesting anyone pander to the political correctness of the theist target audience either, so don't jump to that conclusion, please.

Because the theist audience has these quirks, and are inclined to get shirty about boobs, the promotion scatters it's shock value over two affronts which may have the result of cancelling each other out; for mine the wide angle breast shot essentially cancels the 'we can fix it' more than vice versa, i think, and I suspect that can go against the brand image of RRS (because the direct brand of 'smart, in your face, defiance of theism' is in the words not the picture).

But... one more but.. this probably does depend, also, on where the promotion is used. In some cases the schtick is highly effective, I won't deny that, I just don't think* it's the best option because it comes against this problem of being indirect to the point where it pushes away some theists instead.

*nb: I'm only human, I'm willing to accept I might be wrong.

In my view, the best option is not to be less hard hitting or controversial, but to be really really direct about it, not adding a third arm of controversy that doesn't carry the direct message.

Your suggestion about religious symbols is good, I think, but it's been done a lot, you'd have to be fairly unique to create a shock buzz that hasn't already been created before. The Blasphemy challenge was unique and brilliant, I might be biased because the blasphemy challenge was what pulled me to RRS, but I believe it was the best promotion to come from this site, and I think its main effectiveness was in its directness rather than the controversy.

 

Magilum, I differ with you on whether youth are all the ideology they purport themselves to be, In my experience they are usually most of it, it's not just rosy reminiscence. Youthful indignation and idealism is perfectly real, it may be not look as perfect when reflected in hindsight, but it is a powerful force in their lives and lifestyles in real time.

Okay, to the points at hand:

magilum wrote:

Communication such as this depends on the prerequisite ideas being known to the audience, which places the RRS at a steep disadvantage. Few people know what atheism or agnosticism are beyond straw-men conceptions, and this applies to collateral subjects like evolution. So I'm going to work off the assumption that the idea isn't to communicate anything ultimately useful, but to shock, tantalize, intrigue. If a theist comes here, guns a'blazing,

I agree with your last sentence. That is what I think is the best option. You could probably achieve this with a sexy campaign, but I think it would work best if it was directly provoking the theistic controversy of female modesty, rather than appearing as a side note.

On the rest of what you're saying, that is the job of the brand image, and it's worth establishing one because it can buy more action in that 14 seconds of attention than anything else. Brand image is basically what a persons mind sees when they see the facets of your image. This goes right down to what people associate with certain colours, and even the font type. It all adds up to positioning a picture of yourself in the average psyche of the target market. Position it well and it will be quickly and easily recalled, target that spot effectively and it will be recalled with better detail.

Now maybe I'mgetting too calculating here and I think I'm on a tangent... the point in all of that is, if you can see it, is that the disadvantage that RRS is at can be overcome by fine tuning the brand image, and, conversely, made worse by neglect of the brand image.

I hope that's not too much gaff for everyone, I am trying to be understood, I promise.

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shelley's picture

Eliose, I appreachiate the

Eliose, I appreachiate the clarification.  IMO good little pollyanna theists are going to object everytime Kelly wears a low cut shirt even if it's damn hot outside- like you said, you can't cater to everyone.

I think the basic jist is that this particular ad *might* not be effective everywhere.  I think Hamby did a good job addressing the fact that statistics have been looked at and analyzed in the past and it does sound like this is going to continue into the future.  If I recall correctly, he also addressed the history of trying various campaigns.  If another idea came along I don't think anyone's head would be in the sand. 

I'm not an advertising major but again, IMO, I think the badge is the brand image.  I don't think I've seen a single ad or promotion without it. 

Eloise's picture

shelleymtjoy

shelleymtjoy wrote:

Eliose, I appreachiate the clarification. IMO good little pollyanna theists are going to object everytime Kelly wears a low cut shirt even if it's damn hot outside- like you said, you can't cater to everyone.

I think the basic jist is that this particular ad *might* not be effective everywhere.

 

Not quite. Theres not really a simple gist to what I'm saying, but it's kind of like this: sexy is not the best angle if it's dislocated from the brand image because a pop brand is more powerful than nice looking chicks as a motivator. I believe RRS has a powerful brand but I don't think it's directly related to sex and (especially true in some certain circumstances) 

 

Quote:

I think Hamby did a good job addressing the fact that statistics have been looked at and analyzed in the past and it does sound like this is going to continue into the future. If I recall correctly, he also addressed the history of trying various campaigns. If another idea came along I don't think anyone's head would be in the sand.

I agree.

Quote:
 

I'm not an advertising major but again, IMO, I think the badge is the brand image. I don't think I've seen a single ad or promotion without it.

Ok, I'm not a ads major either, but I took a marketing course as part of my major (which was called Innovation) so if you don't mind me taking the liberty here- the Badge is the Logo. Brand Image is psychologically attached to Logo's. A promoter can take this principle as far as to choose a logo with an existing meme attached to it. To wit RRS probably chose the badge logo because of it's association with authority, and doing that is brand imaging.

The badge logo of RRS connotes something along the lines of Official Protection Agency, the image of an official agency in the customers mind is a part of the brand image. It will be one that is difficult to top if RRS reach their goal as numero uno young atheist group and the 'officialness' of the badge becomes a concrete idea. But in order to get there, in theory, RRS needs to build more psychological imagery around the badge. That's where synergy comes into the picture, synergy just means that all the images interwine in a meaningful way.

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shelley's picture

As this is probably

Eloise, I'll agree hands-down that you have more advertising experience than I do. My 'advertising' experience is limited to my perception of how ads I've come across have effected me.

So perhaps another jist or specifically a picture could be more effective. Do you have suggestions for what that picture might be? If not, I think everyone acknowledged before I even came into this discussion that they have in the past and will continue to use different ideas as they arise.  All technical jargon aside, I suppose I was probably trying to pull to hard from your argument because I didn't see this as any different than the constant evaluation of ads other people have metioned in this thread.