Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One Million Moms is Good for Business

For a while now here on Augoeides I've covered the antics of self-proclaimed "media watchdog" One Million Moms, which I have alternately characterized as "Nowhere Near a Million Not Necessarily Moms" and, more accurately, "A Couple of Thousand Crazy People." The group's pathetic attempts at media censorship border on self-parody, as if somebody called a brainstorming session to generate the most trivial possible things to be offended over.

Even sadder, assuming the group is indeed serious and not some sort of satirical joke, is that according to this article from Slate, their actions actually help to drum up business for the companies and products they criticize. So much business, in fact, that it makes me wonder if the whole thing might be a false front supported by the very companies and organizations that the group tries to boycott.

By now, this is a familiar template: 1. Brand implicitly endorses a mainstream progressive cause. 2. Small band of monsters reacts predictably. 3. Right-thinking Americans rush to embrace and defend the brand.

Sometimes the backlash comes from stray jackasses on social media, other times from organizations such as the conservative media watchdog organization One Million Moms, whose recent efforts have included protesting Campbell’s Soup and Chobani ads for featuring gay couples. No matter how the fracas plays out, everybody wins in the end: The trolls get attention, responders get the warm and fuzzy pleasure of combating hate, and the brand comes out looking like a crusader for justice.

When racists objected to a charming 2013 Cheerios ad featuring a mixed-race family, the brand closed the comment section on YouTube because some reactions were so ugly. But the hubbub was unquestionably a boost for the brand. A marketing firm that analyzed the campaign’s performance online found that overall online exposure to Cheerios rose 77 percent in the wake of the backlash, and that Cheerios trounced rivals like Wheaties and Rice Krispies in views on YouTube, social media, and elsewhere online. They ended up producing a Super Bowl ad featuring the same actors, which prompted a whole new round of positive press.

I will say that this sort of worked on me. The only reason I watched the Lucifer television series was because these chuckleheads protested it, and as I'm a sucker for over-the-top paranormal shows I wound up enjoying it. I stream television without commercials on Netflix and Hulu so I can't say that their actions with regard to brands or commercials have had much effect on me, but from the statistics presented in the article it sure seems like they have an effect on the population at large.

I imagine that in reality the members of One Million Moms are probably sincere and just deeply, deeply stupid rather than the group being some sort of marketing plot. But they are literally so terrible at what they claim to be trying to do that they are increasing both the popularity and the profitability of everything they protest. Good job, morons!

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