Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: Marketing

How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Fandom is big business in the mainstream – but furries have their own place apart. Why does this fandom grow independently? Let’s look at unique expression at the heart of it. Of course furries do a lot more things than this story can look at, but one aspect brings insight about decentralized structure.

Some subcultures rise and fall with media they consume. But the influences seen in Part 1 didn’t make one property in common for every furry. They didn’t rise with a movie like Zootopia. Instead, this fandom is fans of each other.

Part 1 looked at the roots and growth of their conventions. Furry cons make a platform for the specialized craft of fursuiting, with bespoke, full-body mascot costumes that cost thousands. They’re uniquely original expressions of identity. They’re tangible, huggable products of imagination. They put the fur in furry.

A lot of the fandom’s rock stars are fursuiters, who give it a photogenic face. Unlike stars of other fandoms, their original characters usually aren’t promoting something else — and fursuits can’t be downloaded or easily pirated — they’re for live experiences. It matters because online community can be temporary, but live events glue it together. They can show why this fandom is independent, here to stay, and not tied to certain media.

Rather than naming great works tied to their activity, you could say that the group is its own greatest creation. And if writing, art, or other creativity in the fandom didn’t rise out of a certain type of event, fursuiting did.

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Forget designer fursuits… it’s time for more bonkers concept fursuits.

by Patch O'Furr

Following yesterday’s article about Zweitesich, here’s a round table chat.

(Vandell:) Saw the Zweiteisch backlash and wow some people are being way, way too harsh.

(Chip:) It is impressive that they have 50k Youtube followers and didn’t run into this sort of issue sooner.

(Changa:) Yeah. It was misguided attempt pushed on by youthful foolishness but not something I would flog them over.

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When furries attack: Zweitesich criticized for marketing fursuits as expensive luxuries.

by Patch O'Furr

“Being mean and shitty to people doesn’t make you interesting” – Kaiser Neko

Everyone knows furries are silly. Many of them even claim a tongue-in-cheek Furry Trash label that sells truckloads of t-shirts. So what kind of oxymoron is “Designer Fursuiting”?

The launch of fursuit maker Zweitesich (Second Self) presented the trappings of an upscale luxury brand, complete with slo-mo fashion modeling, and dismaying logo placement right on the faces of the products. (Cool logo design, though.) It emulated the most pretentious of mainstream hype, including eye-popping prices and one of the most overanalyzed sentences ever written to sell things to furries: “created by a designer, not ordered from a tailor.”

Flayrah’s Sonious summarized how the marketing flopped: Fursuit entrepreneur learns rocky lessons about advertising.

Sometimes hype is just hype. Image is part of selling anything. Of course, if you know furry drama, it predictably didn’t stop with a failure to connect. Not when there’s a fandom complex about image that’s way out of proportion to how much the mainstream cares. With this complex, it’s like The Normies are always lurking outside the door, and they’ll break in here if there isn’t constant gatekeeping against fictional entertainment (like the 2003 CSI episode. If it’s been stale since last decade, insecurity keeps the resentment going.)

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Marta the River Otter – the adorable fursuit mascot of King County, Washington.

by Patch O'Furr

water-safety

This otter does public service in a proper fursuit, commissioned by local government. (Tip: Zeigler Jaguar.)

kingKing County has two million people in the region around Seattle.  Their Department of Natural Resources and Parks has a new mascot who’s a uniquely Furry example of public funding for art and education.

On Twitter, Chrissy B asked who built the suit.  They answered: “Beetlecat Originals helped create Marta for river safety public outreach.”

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2016 is exploding with ‘furry’ movies like Zootopia – what will come with all the hype?

by Patch O'Furr

“Mature” stuff isn’t built in to a fandom for talking animal art, but it sure makes everyone hot under the collar – whether they love it, or just giggle about how weird it is. Keep that in mind for the below topics: The Latest Hype – The Weird Factor – Why Marketers Care – “Furry Chic” – and Making Buzz With PR Control.

THE LATEST HYPE – AND FOUR REASONS WHY FURRIES CAN’T WAIT FOR ZOOTOPIA.  

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Patreon hack blamed on furries, news from Culturally F’ed – NEWSDUMP (10/8/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Patreon Hacked, Furries blamed, journalist downloads porn for “work”.

Patreon user info was compromised by a security breach.  A Twitter user claiming responsibility offered an online-politics grudge motive, and shared claims that Patreon account data was being misused by the “Yiff.party” website.  The prankish claim seems really far fetched to me up front, and the site itself denies any responsibility.  But the prank was successful enough to convince the journalist (for a big digital media brand) to download from the site, and seriously report finding nothing but sexy animals.  

UT club encourages students to find ‘fursonas’

Whines, from FurAffinity.

Whines, from FA.

A standard introduction article from the University of Texas at Austin student newspaper. It adds nothing unexpected, but reads nicely.  Congrats to the Longhorn Furs social club.

They have involvement with Whines.  It led me to learn the info below, and request a submission for The Furclub Survey of Furry dance parties. Expect more about it soon.

Starting in 2013 and inspired by descriptions of the Frolic in California, Whines started organizing small furry dance events and has held them once every 2-3 months since them. They tend to have an attendance in the 20-40 range with a handful of fursuiters. Most recently the dance was held on UT campus in partership with the University of Texas ‘Longhorn Furs‘ group.

New from Culturally F’ed

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Fursuiters on Food Network, and Cosplay celebrity wants a suit – NEWSDUMP (9/30/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race features Fursuiters.

I’m told that a minute of air time was recorded during a “furry scurry” in Chicago.  (I’m pretty sure I have heard of such an event, but can’t find it at Lake Area Furry Friends.) I hope one day that term replaces “furmeet” for meets that get you out of the house, and maybe involve Street Fursuiting (my favorite thing.)

Cosplay celebrity Jessica Nigri wants to join the Furry side.

Nigri is known as a model/promoter for video games, and interviewer/correspondent at cons.  It’s amazing when a subculture grows large enough to have it’s own hired sub-services… when is it no longer “sub” culture?  (Imagine if “popufur” actually meant anything to anyone besides furries?)  Popularity-wise, I suspect she’s famous-for-being-famous, but I don’t know enough to judge. I just hope this involves interest in what furries actually do.  It’s a new item for the next “Celebrifurry” list:

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Pet food graphics – furry ads to feed your friends

by Patch O'Furr

cat-and-dog-covers

The Furry Meter is easy to activate with cereal commercial mascots, or saturday morning cartoons. This may be a little more subliminal, but add pet food advertising. Read about it in Cartoon Kittens and Big-Eyed Puppies: How We Bought Into Processed Pet Food.

When they first started canning the stuff, it was enough to just put a big DOG or CAT on the label. (I guess people just got FOOD. These days, the FDA has slightly more complicated guidelines.) Marketing matured, and turned anthropomorphic –

In the 1950s and beginning of the ’60s, the designers working in the lithography shops that produced can labels continued the visual traditions established on fruit- and vegetable-crate labels, often depicting realistic-looking cats and dogs. Artists at ad agencies developed the campaigns for pet food packaged in boxes and bags. Eventually, both began to be influenced by the culture of the mid-20th century, from comic books, to Walt Disney, to television, especially Saturday-morning cartoons, which were sponsored, in no small part, by breakfast-cereal brands.

For psychology, they say shapes of pet food (bones, fish, etc.) appeal to pet owners because cats and dogs don’t usually do their own shopping. (Mine just barks out a list of what to get. I’m obedient like that.) It inspires how to market anything “when the users of a product aren’t the decision makers.” As an $11 billion a year industry, you know they invest a lot of thought into how this works.

That’s just a nibble of the stuff you can find in the just-published “Cat Food for Thought: Pet Food Label Art, Wit & Wisdom.”