Every fan loves to express their devotion to their favourite show, film, or comic. Now more than ever, they have a plethora of ways of doing so too, which wasn’t always the case. Not only is a wide variety of merchandise available, but it isn’t limited to what’s in the toy aisle either. There is however, one area where current merchandise seems to fail, and that’s when it comes to being appropriate for the workplace.
Licensed apparel (or clothing) has gained prominence in the merchandising puzzle as of late thanks to its simplicity, low cost/high margins and its customizability. Long gone are the days when clothing bearing your favourite cartoon character was only availably in a few, all-round safe choices. Today, thanks to on-demand production and the internet as a sales channel, it’s possible to create clothing with just about anything on it and in just about any batch size. So here’s the deal, given a choice, would consumers rather wear clothes that feature a character or rather replicas of the clothes the character wears?
What a week, and wasn’t even at Comic-Con! Here’s a few stories you should read and ponder.
The NSA Spying Scandal, as Explained by Pixar
If you’ve been paying attention as of late, you know that the NSA records the details of just about every phone call made in America. While they call it ‘metadata collection and retention’ most ordinary people prefer to call it unwarranted spying.
So while most out there are not a fan of that, they are a fan of Pixar. Thankfully, someone has a parody ready to go (via io9):
Save the Tooth Fairy! Toy Industry Execs Highjack a Childhood Icon
We’re long used to seeing childhood icons (Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, etc.) being hijacked for the sole purpose of selling, quite frankly, crap. However, the Tooth Fairy remains commerce-free for the most part; sans appearances here and there like in Rise of the Guardians.
That’s about to change, as someone is attempting to commercialise the Tooth Fairy. While I won’t go into much detail, suffice to say, it’s awful, and I’m not talking about the concept. A poor idea that looks to be poorly executed but noteworthy nonetheless for what they’re trying to achieve.
Confessions of a Cosplaying Librarian
Cosplay is a concept that has been touched on here before but never discussed in detail. Thankfully, Peter Gutierrez has done so instead, and his two part conversation with librarian Linda Thai is well worth reading. That is especially so when there are quotes like this:
Isn’t there then a strong element of critical literacy here—or at least there could be? Cosplayers, even those who aren’t explicitly hired by marketers, can still become a promotional tool for the industry. Isn’t that an opportunity for young people to consider their own position within the system, how their creativity can be co-opted in a sense?
Definitely. Now, the cosplayer who’s hired to portray a character for a company obviously becomes a promotional tool for whatever series the company is trying to push at the audience. So we can look at cosplay as a medium that assists other media, anime and manga, by targeting a certain audience segment related to fandom. The question to pose is, what about the rest of us who are not hired, but just cosplay of our own accord? Are we a promotional tool, too?
Exciting and stimulating stuff; start with part one.
Fishnets and Fangs for the Win? The Dark Side of Monster High
Monster High is a property that’s been on my to-do list for a long time. It’s an interesting concept and (after a recent class discussion) is surely one that Mattel concocted with the explicit aim of keeping the dollars oozing out of Barbie within Mattel. They have, after all, learned their lesson after the Bratz fiasco.
Of interest today though, is this piece by Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker which counteracts a piece by NPR that essentially praises Monster High. Given my unfamilarity with it, I can’t comment too much on it except that the points that Shewmaker raises are ones that are familiar to anyone who’s seen the kind of animated content that toy makers tend to produce.
In America (and plenty of other countries), there’s a general consensus that’s been around for many years dictating that if you perform work, you’re entitled to do so for pay. That doesn’t mean you’ll get paid much, but you’ll be remunerated in some way that you deem beneficial to yourself. In recent times though, we’ve seen plenty of artists being asked to do work with only ‘exposure’ being offered in return.
Step forward the truly hilarious/horrendous twitter feed from For Exposure:
The mind truly boggles, eh? Yet this is what many artists are faced with and ultimately, some of them put up with it. Hopefully this will go some way to highlighting the ridiculousness of the situation and educate people as to the same and the fact that such individuals should be avoided at all costs.
This one cracks me up though:
Need Animator-I have a story that’s 4 seasons long, 10 episodes each. looking for maximum quality. No pay. I will warn that I am very picky.
— For Exposure (@forexposure_txt) July 8, 2013
Tweets of the Week
Dear Squibb Pharma: I am dying to create a sad animated series about that depressed lady in your ads for Abilify pic.twitter.com/01n8Ye2K7H
— Bill Oakley (@thatbilloakley) July 15, 2013
Serious Question: What would happen if Inspector Gadget sang the Power Rangers theme song?
— Peter Bakare (@peterbakare) July 15, 2013
I want to see a CG Fantasia done by a forward-thinking studio or director. C’mon, guys. Let’s do this.
— Ward Jenkins (@wardomatic) July 15, 2013
Years ago, I advocated that Pixar should do exactly that. Today however, I’m not so sure.