Monday, August 22, 2016

To the Contrary

Early last week I went to a book marketing presentation at the library.  Since lack of effective marketing is my downfall and the ad promoting it promised time saving strategies, I figured I didn't have anything to lose.  But, to the contrary, it was a time suck of everything I already knew and refused to do.  Focusing mostly on social media and the images writers can use to draw attention to their work.   So, I left during the break feeling satisfied that no marketing is better marketing than disingenuous time sucking marketing.    

So, I got back to work. 

The next day I wrote a blog post on the burkini.  Of course, if I wanted anyone to read my words, I'd need a photograph to accompany my story.  So, I put on my burkini, went out to my backyard with my phone and tripod and took a photo.  Then I reread my post, making sure that the content of my post was both clear and concise.  When I deemed it was, I posted it.  Then linked it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the most passive, time effective marketing tool and also extremely free. Which is pretty much the extent of my massively ineffectual, but cost effective, marketing plan.

Then, suddenly, it seemed like it was starting to work. 

It was my new found confidence in my long standing belief that marketing is bullshit and that I didn't want any part of it, I was sure of it.  But, to the contrary, it was an image that got the attention of the PBS show To The Contrary.  The photo of me in a burkini that caught their interest.  Could they use my image for an upcoming show discussing the ban on the burkini in three French cities?Um....really?  Because, surely, a Muslim woman wearing a burkini at the beach would be a better image to portray the controversy.  This must be some kind of scam.  So I googled the show and their social media.  It wasn't.  

Then, I started to work out how I felt about that.

About how many ways my image on its own without my accompanying words could be misconstrued.  We live in a world where there are some crazy people who have nothing better to do than look for new and exciting ways to be outraged.  Like Gabby Douglas not putting her hand over her heart on the medal stand.  I mean clearly that heinous act is worthy of all the press it's gotten.  (That's clearly written in the sarcasm font if there are any crazies out there reading this.)  My conclusion was that potentially there was something for me to lose, but yet nothing for me to gain by allowing them to use my photo.  So after much contemplation, I replied to them, not expecting to hear anything further from them.  

The problem with our society is that images trump words.
Unless you say something really stupid, of course. 

Wait, did they say they'd post a link to my blog on Twitter?  I'm pretty sure they didn't read my blog post in which I used the term "banana hammock" before making that kind offer.  Because my post is more Comedy Central than PBS. (You can find my post The Great Burkini Debate here.)  But, this would give me exposure for my words.  So, I wrote back agreeing to let them use the photo in exchange for a Twitter link to my writing.  And, just as I expected,  I never heard back from them again.  And they didn't tweet a link to my post.

The next day, the program aired.  But, since my local PBS channel doesn't carry the show, I could only listen via podcast.  Unfettered by whatever visual they ultimately chose to accompany the content of the program.  However,  I didn't find that they got to the crux of the issue.  To the contrary, I found their discussion to be both lackluster and disappointing.  I can only hope that at least one college intern at To The Contrary got to read my blog post and consider whether or not we should be banning banana hammocks (there is a huge invasion of them on the beaches in France after all) instead of burkinis.

This is my brilliant, ineffectual but really cheap marketing plan hard at work.  Getting me nowhere, but like really, really fast.

Also, To The Contrary should actually be To the Contrary.  So, who got the last word now?

You can listen to the To The Contrary podcast discussing burkinis here.


Joy Page Manuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joy Page Manuel said...

I feel you made the right decision. After all, we already know what kind of society we have, with people forming opinions so quickly with just pictures and headlines. And yes, they shouldn't capitalize 'the'...hehehe....You have my utmost respect, Marie. Not too many people can tame and temper their hunger. xoxo

Nasreen Iqbal said...

That's kind of random and amazing.

Anonymous said...

I spend way too much time doing online marketing for our retail business, because allegedly it will drive millennials to our flooring store--Todd and I attended a 4 day conference hosted by "Flooring America" in Dallas in mid July --which focused on FB advertising SEO (search engine optimization) and boosting posts! I have not seen a significant increase in our biz...actually I've seen nothing that supports all the hoopla that was drilled into our brains for "Building Buzz" .... Todd's always been skeptical about Social Media advertising being ineffective, now I'm beginning to wonder -I'm thinking nothing really beats just good ol' building relationships at BNI's and Cold call marketing --which sucks even worse in my opinion, because you have to go out and meet people and follow-up and all That....You know A.B.S. (Always be selling). I prefer behind the scenes marketing like social media --but it's not working very well...anyway, gotta go follow up with 25 insurance agents I met two weeks ago to get business ...��....anyway,
Good Luck Marie --but heck in Hollywood they say "even negative attention (I'm thinking Britney Spears here) is better than none"....we just live in strange times and have to somehow adapt! Love the article and the expect more out of PBS. But who knows maybe this is the beginning of something?

Anonymous said...
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Janine Ripper said...

Marketing ugh the bane of our existence (bane...bain...meh). It's weird when known entities contact you and try to lure you in by their name or a promise which often goes unmet / unfulfilled. And when they don't actually read your article *facepalm*

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

The first place my mind went was: the photo goes viral and then PBS gets attacked for cultural misappropriation and then you get attacked as part of the deal. Glad the story didn't actually go that way!


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