Sunday, June 19, 2005

Against Fictional Character Blogs...again

Against Fictional Character Blogs...again (photo: Clarita of Rome, Italy NBT 005)

Against Fictional Character Blogs...again.

Welcome to the topic someone won't let die. I've posted on this topic in the past: see "Kill the Talking Moose Blog".

Odds are, we've all moved well beyond this.

Blogs are ideally, have been created explicitly for, Intimate Honest Communications Between Two Real Human People.

Not between a brand and a customer.

Not between a marketing strategy and a consumer.

Not between an imaginary brand personification device and a shopper.

A blog can build trust.

A fictional character may entertain, but companies don't need laughter, they need sales.

Two Comments I Recently Made
Over at The Red Couch Blog
(now: Naked Conversations)

Streight Comment #1

For a company to seek to position itself as a reliable expert, then use a ficitional character as a spokesperson, this is beyond stupid.

A fictional character lies about pretended adventures that did not occur, and in the process of this confusion and irrelevance, recommends great recipes "discovered" in his "travels", when there was no discovery, there was no travel.

And this is to create confidence in the brand?

Misguided from the start, a poor installation in the blogosphere, violating Authenticity, Transparency, Integrity.

Credibility of organization is decreased vastly.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 18, 2005 11:35 PM

Streight Comment #2

Maybe it's just me, but I can't bring myself to trust, or pay any attention to, a person who does not exist, who is quite outspoken, while those who do exist, who I want to hear from, who are actually qualified, natural, and creating the brand...are silent.

Do I want to get close to you...or a caricature of you?

Why would a fun caricature with popularity be of greater value to a brand than an authentic person with sincerity?

A fantasy character is a pseudo-simulacrum, a mis-representation, a swerving from the heart of the matter, unless you're selling fantasy worlds, fictional characters, or unreal products.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 19, 2005 01:32 PM

Fictional Character Blogs:
caricatures of what blogs can be

When I really think about it, it seems like a Fictional Character Blog is like a Robot Pre-recorded Telemarketer, or a Mass Mailed Sales Letter...

...a disconnect.

Not a "fun" way to connect, but an annoying way to disconnect company from customer.

An FC Blog is actually a caricature, a mockery of what a blog can be: a two way interactive conversation between an two real living human beings.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello



Andy Merrett said...

Only for business blogs surely. (Fictional) character blogs are a perfectly legitimate entity in their own right.

steven edward streight said...

If you're selling fictional characters.

Disney could use a Mickey Mouse blog. The fictional character is itself the product, the brand, and the logo.

But would you trust Ronald McDonald to teach your kids nutrition, safety, and citizenship?

Hans said...

Why its boring ? Because fictional characters are making no mistakes and hardly are able to astonish guys like us. Ok, the best fictional guy is then Anonymus, we can put in him what we want.

steven edward streight said...


This post was not a comprehensive essay on why Fictional Character blogs are bad for, as Andy reminds us, business.

But thanks for I think hinting at an important aspect: Fictional Characters have no liability, no reponsibility, no duties, no ethical standards.

A business can make a Fictional Character say and be anything.

Why does this remind me of an old fashioned, meathead hard sell hype machine sales person?

Say anything, be anything, just make the sale.

Back to major point:

If you wish to communicate with customers, why do it in the ridiculous form of a Fictional Character?

If an ice cream is great, I want the inventor, the CEO, the manufacturer to tell me why it's so great, not a Talking Moose.

I want to see the CEO or a chosen spokesperson tell it like it is.

Tell me interesting anecdotes about ice cream, finding recipes, experimenting with mixtures, testing the flavors, designing the company logo, what it's like to work there, what the company sees as the future, the evolution of ice cream products.

I don't want a Fictional Character rambling on about events that never happened to people who don't exist.

Hiding. That's what they're doing, they're hiding behind the Fictional Character, scared to come out in the open and deal directly with critique.

MARYBETH said...

Dear Steve,
Where can I find the pics of the mannequins? The online art group I belong to just threw out Mannequins as the subject for a dream collage. Can you advise me??
Happy Fathers Day,

steven edward streight said...


I just stumbled upon mannequin photos in the archives of the various free photo web sites.

You could try searching Google Images, go to Google Search main page, click-select Google Images, type in "mannequins", click-select Search, look at the results.

Be sure to notice any restrictions that apply to the usage of the photos that you find.

I agree, mannequins are great for blog photos, somewhat human, yet partially inhuman.

Awaiting word of your sidebar link additions.


Damien said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Damien said...

I totally agree with the thing about companies making character blogs (like the moose), it just doesn't work as a marketing device (though they may argue to the contrary). I do follow the whole 'character blog' debate very closely, in fact it is what inspired me to start my own character blog site. It does exactly what it says on the tin, it is set in a fantasy world and is there for entertainment value only. I think this is the only type of character blog that should exist, something that doesn't try to be something it's not. There should be more of these (c'mon- how many more blogs about Jane Doe's son/daughter's day at school can you handle?) and much much less of the corporate mascots trying to sell ice-cream, etc


steven edward streight said...

NIghtWriter, aka Damien, of, your site is splendid.

I like how you have the two fictional characters split, on either side of the site, with separate RSS feeds.

This is a very astute use of fictional character blogging for a fantasy world scenario.

Nice layout and good usability. You also seem to know a little code, which also helps.

Good job, friend.