Palace Intrigue Episode 611
2021 marks the 25th year for me in this martial business and not many folks get to travel and teach around the world, to such diverse groups, and as I do. I like to say that “I am not famous, I am just well-known amongst a small, disturbed group.” This could not be accomplished without advertising. Through the years I have experienced many pimples in the ad world, both in the martial and in the book businesses.
We all know about “road rage,” what about “ad rage?” Of late there have been many people complaining about ads they receive on their Facebook and social media news feeds, and I know this gets all conjoined with privacy-spying issues, etc. Yes, you, me, we have been profiled and pigeon-holed for advertising. This concept is NOT new, we always have been studied, but in with the new-age it is more surgically intense.
These digital ads are essentially the new version of the paper catalogue we use to receive in ye olde’ land mail box outside. We liked those catalogues, or we quickly threw them away. Somehow that catalogue company of yesteryear got your name and address to land-mail you one. They detected your interests – somehow – back then. Today, those catalogues are mostly gone. Even paper magazines are mostly gone. the surviving magazines on the disappearing stands are way full of ads between articles and are very much just catalogues of ads, ads, ads. Gun magazines are little more than snazzy, gun catalogues (they have to be, to fight the magazine stand, distribution process).
Capitalism (even shadow economies where capitalism is illegal) thrives on reaching new and old customers, and advertising is a main way. I would and could argue that our total life experiences, every choice we make, jobs, schools, religions, residences, underwear, hairdos…wow…everything is from some degree of “advertising” in some sort of manner. In short, civilizations “spin,” the world “spins” on advertising (and salesmanship) – from selling a pair of socks to electing presidents. “May the best ad campaign win!” Why pick on capitalism though, Socialism and even Communism need to be advertised and “sold.”
Here are some ad pimples I would like to pop.
Pimple 1: In the book and martial business, my social media ads go afar. Yes, of course, I use the “demographics machine.” I don’t want to spend my money advertising my books to people who can’t read, or self-defense to whack-jobs or couch-potatoes. The ads once spread, I get a small percentage of hate mail from strangers in return. They usually cuss at me in anger, add some nasty photo and the work “fuck” is usually in the response. Like “Fuck off.” Or, “Fuck you.” Or, “stay the fuck off my newsfeed, fuck-head.” The ad-rage people were so motivated, they didn’t just “toss the catalogue in the trash can,” they must have grimaced, growled, and with boiling blood, pounded out a fuck response, searched for and attached the demeaning photo, and hit “send!” Once sated…ahh…relaxed after their keyboard vengeance. (When they watch television news, do they cuss at the commercials too? Do they cut out with scissors, the newspaper ads) When I get these ad rage responses I shake my head and delete the message.
BUT! Once in a while I do look the especially hateful people up! Just for the fun of it and “Ralph the Plumber” case was fun one. Ralph told me to fuck off, stay the fuck off his newsfeed, etc. and added a derogatory Bozo the Clown photo (an interesting rage-response to an ad selling a western book, of which Ralph apparently reads or he would not have gotten the ad!). But Ralph has a very successful plumbing business in New England. With just a minute’s investigation, I found that Ralph’s company is pretty big and successful. Many employees, and Ralph…you guessed it…advertises his plumbing company like mad. I saw newspaper, TV ads and…and…wait for it…yes, Facebook ads. So, it is alright for Ralph to invade the population of New England news feeds with his plumbing, but I can’t advertise a book once a year that might pass through his blessed newsfeed, causing him such irreparable damage he must lash out. Ralph is an idiot. Ralph is a hypocrite. Ralph fails to see the big picture.
Pimple 2: Most folks know that I’ve been sending out martial newsletters for almost 20 years. They go out every two months and are chock full of so much diverse hand, stick, knife, gun, history, science and psychology information, I fail to see how ANYONE in the martial, survival world won’t find them interesting. My real job is education and the newsletters are about a 85% info – 15% advertising ratio. My mailing list is about 12,000 to 14,000 people. The list numbers shrink and grow. And every two months our mail service reports on the unsubscribers. Like all these services, unsubscribers may list why they left and one standard goodbye option always is – “I never signed up for your emails.”
I usually see this list and for fun once in a while I look up the “why they left” listing. After all, one of your most important customers is the unhappiest one. A “Jeffrey,” a resident of the European Union, said he never did sign up. I looked up unhappy, bothered Jeffrey. Well, he bought something from us in 2011. The purchase process says you may receive ads and newsletters in the future. Standard business practice. Buy a pair of Levi jeans and you will receive Levi ads. That common, ad-fishnet-method is not my point here. My point is that this guy has received and opened almost TEN years of these newsletters with clicking on many, many articles. Now, ten years later, he lists that excuse for leaving? After TEN years? (I might mention, these mail services keep track of these spammy kinds of reports, getting the senders in trouble.) Of all the options for leaving, after ten years of free education and entertainment that he took consistent advantage of, Jeffery picked THAT one reason.
Pimple 3: An acquaintance of mine will only wear blank, black t-shirts. He said it was his form of resistance against capitalistic advertising since so many shirts are ads for everything. He’s just sick of all capitalist advertising. But, when he wanted a high quality, 190% cotton, thicker black t-shirt he…you guessed it…searched the net for nice black t-shirts, saw the ad for best shirts and bought them. Of course he used his cellphone to do so, advertised to be the best. (Made by slave labor in a foreign country.)
Pimple 4: I know numerous people who would like to leave Facebook over privacy and censorship, but they realize that these other, newer, social media services have no advertising. And happy about it or not, these people must remain on things like FB because of their businesses. For me, despite all the unrest, and waves of folks leaving it all, my FB friend page still floats near the 5,000 person limit, with 14,000 more on my two business pages. I cannot leave the likes of Facebook or Twitter, even though I think the two owners are from the planet Mars.
Summary: When I watch TV, I sometimes comment to Jane, “Where would we be without car and drug commercials!” One after the other, these companies do pay a lot, for a lot of what you liked to watch. Some of your favorite shows through time have been brought to by the likes of Camel cigarettes. Mule Team Borax or Chevrolet. This has always been the way in radio and television.
There is a movement these days to turn TV channels into the Netflix model of subscriber TV. You’ll pay (not car companies) for shows to be commercial and ad free. I am prone NOT to do this for everything. For example, I would like to see the Mandalorian show, but nothing else on Disney. I pass on that monthly fee. Still, ironically, in order for these commercial-free aps to be heard of and sold? The ap companies…have to advertise their aps.
The great “they” say that happy “word of mouth” advertising is the best. But how many words and mouths can you actually reach in the business you run without print and digital advertising? Not many! So, what I would like to say to Ralph the Plumber and other angry people, take it a little easier, be a little more understanding when you see an ad, anywhere. TV. Facebook. Wherever. It’s just a business trying to stay alive. To grow. Like hypocrite Ralph the Plumber desires for his plumbing business. You the ad-rager might not understand how business works (like many politicians), or be a business owner. If not, then you probably work for one, who is among many concerns, also trying to pay your salary.
And just think, the effort and childish anger and emotion spent to respond with hate mail over an ad, those few seconds might be better spent just hitting the “block” button. Block me. That’s fine. Or, try this! Try moving your pointy finger just a fraction of an inch on your mouse…just…a…fraction…and roll that painful, intrusive ad by, forever.
Rush Limbaugh has sarcastically used the line for his commercial ads as – “Obscene Profit Break,” poking fun at detached hippies who hate capitalism. Unless you are naked in a cave, you have been subjected to and responded to…advertising. If your teeny, thin brain is so affected by a passing ad that you feel an emotional counter-attack is needed, you’re some sort of knucklehead. Advertising ideas and products is as American as apply pie! (By the way, did you see that ad for Cracker Barrel apple pie? Man! Next time I’m gonna get me one!)
I will stay on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked-in, “linked-up.” etc., despite it all. I am a American businessman. I sell ideas, moves, films and books. My goal is to be just about everywhere decent I can, to reach (and teach) as many decent people as possible.
(Now stand by for an ad for my books! An obscene profit break!)