nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
[ profile] zoethe wrote a plausible, vivid piece about the Coke ad executives celebrating because their Superbowl ad received nitwitted jingoistic, attacks, thereby gaining much more publicity and enthusiasm than just having a minute at the Superbowl gets you.

It's a sad thing, but my years online have made me a more cynical person in many directions. One is reading about Tetlock's research on prediction-- people (or at least pundits) are dishearteningly bad at prediction. And you might say.... well, that's just pundits. And the people who publish them. And the people who read the pundits, and don't seem to notice the mistakes. Maybe there are experts somewhere.

It seems to me that people in charge seem to get surprised by events rather a lot, but maybe the smoothly competent ones don't get noticed as much. Any nominations?

So, it's possible the Coke ad execs knew exactly what they were doing, but I'm not going to call it likely. Maybe some memos will turn up. I feel confident predicting more data leaks, though not any particular data leak.

I'm not sure how much of a risk Coke took, though I think the response to the criticism of the ad suggests we're at a cultural tipping point, or possibly that the efforts to make the US a lot more xenophobic weren't that successful.

Predicting a changed past is even harder than predicting the future, but at least you can't be proven wrong. I find it hard to believe that many people would have found that commercial offensive till maybe the nineties, but I could be naive about that. What do you think?

I've heard that Coke is the preferred drink of Boomers, while younger people prefer Pepsi-- if true, then Coke may have taken a bit more of a risk than [ profile] theferrett thinks.

And finally, if criticism was a crucial part of the Coke's advertising plan, would they have left it to the mere voluntary action of human beings? I think not. Here I am, making a prediction, but I think they would have used fake trolls.

The argument against this (though perhaps it's just Coke ad execs are more proactive) is that the inclusive ads in general weren't attacked enough to get attention. Maybe next time.

Conspiracy theories are consoling because they leave you with the feeling that someone knows what they're doing, and you're smart enough to figure it out. This doesn't mean all conspiracy theories are false, though.

Date: 2014-02-05 07:52 pm (UTC)
zenlizard: One lizard to another:  "Please to be shutting up now!" (Default)
From: [personal profile] zenlizard
all things are true, even false ones.
all things are false, even true ones.

Date: 2014-02-06 12:42 am (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
So, it's possible the Coke ad execs knew exactly what they were doing, but I'm not going to call it likely.

Really? While I'm with you on the general principles of people aren't as smart as they think they are and people like conspiracy theories because they come with the reassuring presumption that at least someone is in charge, I think this is a pretty obvious example of deliberately courted outrage.

The people who did this for Coca Cola, Inc, are highly paid specialists in knowing exactly this sort of thing, and they are a type of professional which, as a class, pride themselves in being "edgy" as a occupational value. It is their stock and trade to know what is presently considered transgressive and to manipulate that into attention for their employers.

Arguing that they did this by accident seems to me the social sciences analog to someone arguing that fireworks are accidental explosions because we all know that chemistry is an experimental science and accidents happen and science still has so much to learn.

There's really no question in my mind that Coca Cola, Inc, knew full well it was taking a baseball bat to a wasps' nest. It was like a check list of triggers for xenophobia. "Iconic American song suddenly switched to being sung in Spanish? Check. Random unidentifiable other languages? Check. Hijabis? Check. Gay parents? Check. Black urban youth dancing? Check. Jews? Check." The meticulous thoroughness of what was done suggests the people who did this knew what they were doing.

And finally, if criticism was a crucial part of the Coke's advertising plan, would they have left it to the mere voluntary action of human beings? I think not. Here I am, making a prediction, but I think they would have used fake trolls.

...So, how do you know they didn't use fake trolls?

In any event, no, I think they set themselves a win-win scenario. If there are no xenophobes turned off by the message, well, yay, everyone thinks Coke is a morally righteous company they can feel good about giving their money to for sugar water. If there are xenophobes who are triggered to public outcry about the message, well, yay, Coke is now a corporate martyr to the cause of peace on earth good will to men, and even more well thought of by their target demographic.

Because if it's true that Coke's demographic is aging out, they're on a train speeding towards a broken bridge. They need to get off that train by any means necessary. The risk of alienating their present customer base by courting a hipper younger crowd may be nothing compared to the risk of not doing so. Dead people do not buy sodapop.

Date: 2014-02-06 03:38 am (UTC)
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
From: [personal profile] mishalak
I like the idea that they were trying to put themselves in a win-win. Either the wrong people take offense and it gets giant free information or they make a nice ad that just a few dead-enders hate from their fortified compounds.

If they used fake trolls it would be terribly foolish. Like the slightly too clever murder who tries to make the perfect crime and would have gotten away with it if not for the last little touch of a phone call to get the police moving on this rather than waiting for the crime to be discovered.

And personally, though I do not actually drink soda, I approve of the move. Free entertainment for all of us watching the conservatives get trolled.

Date: 2014-02-06 01:13 pm (UTC)
madfilkentist: (Mokka)
From: [personal profile] madfilkentist
Interesting thought, but possible, that it was the conservatives who were being trolled. I wouldn't call it entertaining if that was what was happening, though, just disgusting.

As far as I can tell, the number of people who objected to the ad was tiny. Aside from a few dozen people on Twitter and whatever may have happened on Farcebook, I know of just one website by an actual person that objected to the ad. If you search hard enough, you can find that many people taking offense to anything that's widely known. But Twitter makes a great opportunity for reporters to brew a tempest in a teapot.

It's the media reaction, not the handful of trolls, which is interesting. Maybe Coca-Cola did expect that the media would find an irresistible story in these idiots. Maybe some people at the company somehow encouraged the story. But, as you say, using fake trolls would have been a really risky move. I don't think that's what happened.

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