Creative Commons license icon

Shoe ad drops - gets furries to "converse" about marketing and fandom

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (8 votes)

In Brazil in March 2019, a furry bowling event had gathered under the name Furboliche. In attendance was Crash Azarel, a popular fursuit performer who had been guest of honor at Brasil FurFest the previous year. At the bowling event there was also another group in attendance to take photos of the fursuiters, to show them wearing sneakers for an advertising campaign for Converse (a brand bought by Nike in 2003). These adverts have been recently released on their Argentinian and Australian sites. Crash shared the news of the marketing launch on his Twitter feed.

Afterwards, some furs began to be critical of the collaboration, concerned about using one's fursona for the profit of another, and fears of corporate culture and marketing infiltrating the fandom. True to its brand name, the shoe being worn by the furs of Brazil were starting a conversation on outside marketing within the fandom.

Update 7/27: Brasil FurFest has announced a sponsorship by Converse since this article was published.

Of Ethics, Exploitation, and Expression

This is not the fandom's first rodeo with outside pandering. Some examples of products are Maskimals or kigurumis, among other more directly relevant products.

When it comes to shoes, however, Converse may not be a good fit for the fandom, when it comes to corporate ethics, as some furs have pointed out. The Good Shopping Guide, a site that rates the ethics of businesses, has Converse and its owner Nike in the bottom of its shoes category. Of particular note are Nike's treatment of humans and animals - among other dubious behaviors.

With such a history of exploitative business practices, Converse is trying to catch up to their competition as far as morals go. And now the furs that participated in their campaign might look as if they support the company's behavior, or might have to answer for the things Nike or Converse have done, despite otherwise having very little to do with them.

Fortunately, the general public will probably not be disillusioned that a furry, working with Converse for an advert, equates with condoning the company's past behavior. That's assuming that Regular Joe even notices the advert at all - or even knows of the past grievances against the company. Instead the general public would probably understand that it's just an advertisement. Just as MonsteRoo as a character did not represent Monster Energy drinks, furries aren't selling kicks just because they wore them for an ad.

As a community founded on the Internet, representation is typically done on the individual level. There's still a great sense of unease around any one person going forth to outside groups in order to discuss the hobby, or to be paid to be involved in an extra-fandom project like this. When there's corporate desire to expand and exploit our demographic, we fear that the spirit of identity within the fandom is at risk.. Even among furs who strongly believe in individual expression, the debate isn't clear-cut. After some furs shamed Crash and the Brazilians for their involvement with Converse, other furs have countered that it's the shamers who are trying to dictate who the individual should or shouldn't talk or, that trying to limit who they choose to do business with, is a form of stifling their expression.

Some have brought up the fandom having a defense mechanism, that behaving in more fetishist manner would discourage corporations to try and get too close. I'm not sure if that would work, since Converse was probably already aware of these aspects of the fandom before signing on. What they may regret though is furs actually talking about their corporate activities, just because they walked in our door. Like when they brought in Micheal Vick to do advertising for them, after he served a prison sentence for dog-fighting and other animal abuse. But who would remember a thing like that? Well, probably a group of people who have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for animal welfare.

Oops.

The Advertiser, or the Advertisee?

But this interaction isn't all bad news. While many furs have criticized the sharing of the fandom's image and likeness by Converse to sell sneakers, what many critics fail to notice is that the advertising (in this case) works both ways. There may be furries in Brazil that are unaware of the bowling gathering, and may find out about it by this advert.

This is a phenomenon called "co-creative marketing". It's when two groups have a mutual desire to sell a product, and can utilize each other's resources to reach a wider audience. In this case, Converse wants to advertise some sneakers to furries, and in exchange they share the story of the growing furry scene in Brazil and their love of bowling. In turn, this may bring in more bowlers and attendees to the Brazilian furry spaces, without them having to pay for their own advertising.

In fact, the Brazilian furries got paid to advertise their own event.

Read the Converse advert for yourself below. Notice that it reads much more like an ad for the furry's bowling meet than for marketing the sneakers being worn in the photos.

Don't be Afraid of the Reactions
We are Furboliche! A bowling crew of "furries". We started fur bowling in 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The internet brought us together, but the word quickly spread and we were gathering people who wanted to join in from all over. Our crew has been growing every year. Right now we have something like 250 "furries" from all over Brazil coming together to hang out and do some fur bowling!

-https://www.converse.com.au/all-star

An untapped market of the media's own creation

So, for Converse, why market this way instead of using traditional marketing?

There's a good article from Medium, "How Co-creation is fueling the future of marketing". Previous generations of consumers frequently had to experience direct marketing everywhere they went, but the new generation of tech-savvy consumers are better at avoiding it, thanks to ad-free subscription services and pop-up blockers. So now, marketing companies are finding it best to use the online platform to cross-promote with content creators and hobbyists instead.

In other words, as time goes on, furs should be aware that campaigns such as the one for these sneakers may not be the last. Marketers are learning what makes the new generation tick, and it's not through catchy slogans and jingles, but through a more traditional means of story-sharing, using their product's sites as the platform to share those stories.

And in a world where news outlets favor sharing low-hanging controversies and conflict, and thus giving less coverage to the triumphs of common people, advertisers may find that promoting their local communities through sharing their stories could prove quite successful as a marketing tactic.

Am I buying Converse sneakers? No. As a kangaroo fur my sole has already been sold on which extraneous sports footwear I would adorn if I decided to indulge. But to Converse's credit, I'm writing about the Brazilian furry community, whose successes are well worth documenting. They have a bowling meet that is larger than some of the fandom's earliest conventions! It shouldn't have taken a controversy over a shoe ad for me to discuss them. And I certainly apologize that a shoe company, with a sports demographic of all things, shared their story before Flayrah did.

Correction 7/27: Flayrah did cover when Abando closed in 2016.

In the future, should we wish for marketers not to buy and then sell our stories back to us, perhaps it will require those who write the stories of the fandom to be a bit more vigilant, and for us to get better at organically promoting ourselves. Otherwise we may find ourselves more dependent on this kind of cohabited advertising. Should the media (of which I am included) fail in this, the role of advertisers and news reporters shall eventually be, in a word, conversed.

(Also see the Dogpatch Press articles, 'How furries resist a commercialized fandom'.)

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

All I can say is I hope anyone agreeing to appear in suit in adds or commercials reads their contract very carefully before signing and if they don't understand every last word, hire a lawyer to check it. It wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility to lose control of the rights to your own costume. Certainly there could be some limits placed like you couldn't appear at events sponsored by competitors and such. This happened in Brazil. I'm not sure anything like this would even be considered in the US. Companies want to own the characters they use for advertising so there are no loose ends to worry about.

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

So its happening, this stuff is going mainstream.

However doesn't this go against the grain of what you folks have strived for, for decades? That thing about not being commercialised or rather, a desire to keep it real and free of commerce.

There is however a growing trend for corporations of late, to want to exploit furries, or tap into their communities for profit. As we know even Disney/Pixar tried to do this when Zootopia was being launched. I suspect we will see more of this as time goes on, and even in my own fandom.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

How is somebody making money using their fursuits (which isn't a new thing by any means), different than people making money selling fursuits or art, or whatever in the fandom. What we've managed to avoid is having corporate control of the content we enjoy. That's not about to change. We'll embrace content we like such as Zootopia and I expect the upcoming CATS, but we don't need that content for our fandom to continue and no corporation can really control what we create ourselves. That's a major advantage of meta-fandoms like furry, anime, sci-fi, etc. If we have gotten big enough for companies to pander to us a bit, great! If they want to use some furry content for their marketing, hey cool. It means more will see it.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

I am one of those who believes one should charge for what you do. Of course, the furry fandom wants to be the special child where "commercial interests" are not welcome. The thing is, I've always charged for my time, however there is a special case where I contribute to FOSS (and in particular GNU Linux). That is what I like to refer to as "community work" or "giving back to all those smart people online who taught me so much".

These notions do not sit well with most furries who expect everything to be a free handout. The only things they're prepared to pay for is admission to a con, and for art (the latter seems to be a bit of a hot potato too).

However, closer to this, what basically seems to be the case here is marketing using people in their situational position i.e. furries- I guess its no different to using athelete x or popstar y as the image on the ad. I for one, do not have a problem with that. The bigger problem is the fact that there's a lot of crap attached to this- specifically sexual deviance and the stereotypes. Most people out there associate furries with the CSI episode, and this was made very evident this past weekend when I had a get-together at my home. The elephant in the room was present, and explained to my non-furry friends by the furries who were present. While I commend that, unfortunately, this fandom is frequently used as a cover for sexual fetish and illegal sexual acts. When people stop doing that, perhaps then, perceptions can start to change. But I don't think it ever will.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

Okay, so I don't get your third paragraph; about the "crap attached to it". Setting aside that oh, wow, no fucking criminals, sexual or otherwise, in the athletic and popstar worlds, I mean, if people look at the ad and think of deviants, who's problem is that? If you're worried that Converse isn't getting their money's worth because they're actually advertising "Converse: the shoe for sex perverts!", I mean, who fucking cares, that's Converse's problem; if you're worried that a picture of furries sitting on the ground and wearing sneakers and just generally not being sex perverts will make people think furries are sex perverts, well, I mean, that's not how thinking works.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I mean, also, doesn't the door swing both ways, here?

I mean, I don't think Converse has much of reputation for "oh, you appeared in a Converse ad, you must be Very Good People" but at the very least you got to have someone thinking "hey, the marketing department's quality control had plenty of time to kill this ad, and they thought it was okay, so maybe these furry dudes aren't so bad".

Also, I mean, as far as advertising is concerned, being thought of as "bad boys/girls" isn't such a bad thing; it's a bit of "well, here's this thing that some people aren't ready for, but you're ready for it, right?" (I mean, this is pretty much a capitalistic exploitation and consumption of a "counter-" or at least "sub-" culture into the mass culture status quo, which is what has our more Marxist furries in a tizzy, but seeing as how you and I have corporate owned characters as our icons, I think it's safe to say you and I aren't as caught up in that worry.)

Your rating: None

I hear you.
For a start I tend to live on the outlying edges of the current world. Advertising doesn't bother me, however it does bother others. I was speaking for them, on their behalf. Perhaps I shouldn't have.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

There are plenty of furries unwilling to pay for the con, either. Although some more interested in the social aspects will pay for their room, but not the con. This isn't as one-sided as it may seam, as they still help towards paying the room rate, which for hotel conventions can be a big factor in the contract.

As for art, a lot of furries are still learning and maybe only rate an apprenticeship level of wage - those who have truly mastered their craft are very much in demand, although they may still find it hard to meet the wages in other fields. Then again, if you're drawing what you love...

Most people out there still don't think of furries at all, although there is an increasing chance of them having seen us somewhere. I regularly met those at cons a decade ago who noted their first experience of the fandom was seeing that CSI episode; so it wasn't all bad.

As for sex, and sexual deviancy: if you're looking for it, you'll find it (or it will find you), sooner or later. But so what? Furry fandom is in large part about generating and sharing work that isn't available in mass media; naturally it attracts those looking for such content.

The most-passionate fans who organize events and services are rarely very different here - although con-runners may end up with little time to enjoy the fruits of their labour at their own events (which why, of course, they go on to visit others).

Illegal activities are another thing entirely; but it does not do to conflate the two. There's nothing wrong with, say... a bunch of fursuiters getting together in a room full of balloons and squeezing and popping them by bouncing or grinding, at least - as long as they're paying for it to be cleaned up afterwards, either directly or indirectly through the con badge fee. This is the case even if it's clearly a fetish (and they were recording home video for those who couldn't make it).

Just being weird, or something you might not want your kids to see, does not make it worthy of censure; this is not a community designed for or oriented around children; age-restrictions are an appropriate measure,

Your rating: None Average: 1.6 (5 votes)

GreenReaper: There's something you need to understand here.
My view, of fuzzy animal people has always been theatrical. I have viewed them as characters, not so much as alter egos. But importantly, I have viewed them as a distinctly separate unit from the people who created them.

I come from a fandom where furries only came in later (although a few furries state that my fandom was a kickstart into the furry fandom). Back in the 90s most of us were playing games, drawing and creating art inspired by the games and just socializing. The social aspect of it I loved especially.

I expected the furry fandom to be the same, however its not. It differs in that everything is always about disgusting forms of sex, who is fucking whom, and drama because someone is having a melt-down because his partner is cheating on him/her. Those things just make me (and others) depressed and when I look at chat groups, as in, just view them, not participate in them, I really weep for mankind. Mark Mothersbaugh was right, De-evolution is real! But by far the most utterly desparing thing for me is the fact that, as a straight person, I am constantly made to feel that I am unworthy of all it has to offer because I ain't gay. This is the distinct impression I get every single time.

Your rating: None

The major difference is whether the commercial interests are within the furry fandom itself or not. Furry artists and suit makers exist within the furry fandom, any money sent to them stays within the fandom. If a company like Converse is making money off the furry fandom, that money is leaving the fandom.

The risk that I think most people are worried about is both the money and control leaving the fandom and furs becoming exploited by large commercial interests. That fear is not unjustified. Many commercial entities put the interests of companies or shareholders above those of customers/users, for example Facebook putting advertisers above user privacy, Microsoft putting profits above ebook buyers rights and social media putting engagement above mental health of their users.

While we say that we have avoided corporate control, there have been undeniable changes in the way people engage in the furry fandom. Fewer artists have their own small webpages these days, most interactions occur through larger platforms. While those were originally sites that were furry owned and run, that has also been changing. Furs posting through Tumblr or Twitter instead of Inkbunny or SoFurry are moving outside of the furry ecosystem and into commercial venues. And FurAffinity, which used to be furry owned, was sold to IMVU and is no longer as clearly part of the furry fandom.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

Um, how is Converse paying furries to be in adds and then hopefully selling more shoes "money leaving the fandom"? As near as I can tell, it's money coming into the fandom since furries would be getting paid to do the adds.

The control issue as far as people engaging in commercial activities because they were sought out based on their being in the fandom is purely up to them to watch their backs on. There is no one entity controlling furry so no corporation could come in and just buy it. FurAffinity being owned by a company which isn't really associated with the fandom just means they own one website, not the fandom. If people don't like how it's run, they can pull their content and go elsewhere just as they could with a site owned by furries.

Artists are learning how to market themselves. Using larger meta websites means they are more likely to be seen by more people. Many are also using Patreon. Now I'm not a huge fan of teaser images all over saying "If you want to see the whole thing, pay up!", but I can't blame the artists either. They are finally starting to realize their work is worth a lot more than what was assumed 5-10 years ago. To that extent, furry is more commercialized. At least it's mostly furries selling to furries.

Your rating: None

The issue isn't necessarily Converse and this ad. The thing people have a problem with is what it could represent and foreshadow. Events do not happen in isolation, they are connected. If you compare the way the fandom started with how it is now, you can see the changes to more commercialisation that has people worried.

It's true that you could, in theory, just go elsewhere but that doesn't always work in practice. There is no single entity controlling video games but there are major players that have an overwhelming influence. Valve's Steam is a good example. You don't have to use it. You can make your games available on other platforms or independently but due to its size, more people use Steam and it becomes increasingly difficult to not work with Steam.

FurAffinity is just one site but it is the major one. Many artists work exclusively through FurAffinity and it has the largest number of users. So anyone not using FurAffinity is immediately at a disadvantage in who they can easily contact and how many potential commissioners they have. The longer a platform exists and the larger its userbase, the stronger those sort of effects become.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I sort of see where you're coming from, but the thing is, there are a fair amount of alternatives to FurAffinity. I also question whether their userbase is even still increasing. Finally, even if it is, there is one very big difference between them and Steam. THey don't make a cent off artist sales. The artists have to abide by the rules for content to be hosted there, but that's no different than any other archive site. I, personally don't use FurAffinity to view content unless I get a direct link because their search engine was coded by encephalitic hamsters and a lot of the art content looks like it was drawn by the same.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

And why is it important that the "money stays in the fandom"?
Ah yes, fits in perfectly with who and what you are.

Honestly Rakuen, you should stop fucking around with studies and become a politician. Then you can have all your desires met in one operation. You'd have to expend far less effort for a start. Let the rest of us get on with the business of living, creating tech and building the very systems to enable your vices.

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (3 votes)

Well well, finally corporations are noticing the mainstream trend your fandom is becoming.

Whether we like it or not, the trend is real. Corporations, with their ever-present hunger for profit are looking for new untapped sources of income. However, if I may be so literal, they are indeed, barking up the wrong tree.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

That was a really fair and interesting read. It is complex. I'm also not happy about commercial interests trying to come into the fandom but I also think if some furs want to work with a company, that's their own business.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Wha? Since when

Your rating: None Average: 2 (8 votes)

So a few furries are in an ad for some shoes, how about we not care like 99% of the population that isn't a furry lifestyler or political activist?

If you let the fandom describe you you're going downhill as it is. There's plenty of negative things to say about it after Rainfurrest (cancelled con due to rampant vandalism, drugs, and other problems), Growly (the pedophile, one of several), Daydreamer (triple homicide), Kiro/Tane/etc (animal abusers from telegram chat leaks), and so on...

I'm more appalled by the fact cons and meetups are tolerant of animal abusers and convicted child sex offenders than I am by some furries deciding to show up in an ad for a bloody shoe company. Just saying~

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

At least that way they get to keep their *stuff* behind closed doors and we don't have the risk of children (and the innocent) seeing it in the public space.

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (5 votes)

I see this as much ado about nothing. If a person wants to make a buck with his or her's fursona, I say good on you; free markets baby. Nobody gogin force you to buy Converses because they used a furry in their advertising and you don't own the fandom.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Basically, I'm not worried as long as it's individuals doing this. Now if we were to see a major convention become 'sponsored' by an outside corporation, I'd be a little more concerned.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I think the Denver Rocky Mountain Con was sponsored by a local airline (WikiFur is not backing me up, unfortunately) ... but seeing as how that con turned out, corporate sponsorship was hardly it's biggest sin.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

FWA had a Monster drink stand a decade or so ago. Not quite sure what they got for that, if anything, or what relation (if anything) there is to the Monster fursuit.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Well, that would double as a concession for the con, which is a little different. Con concessions are going to be outsiders anyway; and even if the concession is done by furries, I mean, they're probably going to end up selling Pepsi anyway.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

According to Wikifur a one off con in the 2000s Texas Furry Con was sponsored by a craft beef company.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Do they let you wear high-tops when you bowl in Brazil wtf

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

A new development! Converse is Brasil FurFest 2019's official partner.

Your rating: None

Now that is very concerning.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Many of the responses are hilariously over the top, though. Such rage. I doubt half of them heard of BFF before now.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Why?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Why? This is more common than you think. A lot of younger cons do this. Do you think con organizers just magically have tens of thousands of dollars?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Like which ones?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

FWA and FA United. https://twitter.com/Dragoneer/status/1154978616461189120

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I hope Dragoneer isn't your example of commercialisation being harmless. How have his relationships worked out in the past?

First, due to AlertPay dropping FA's account because of non-mainstream furry content, FA banned cub porn.
https://www.flayrah.com/3346/fur-affinity-loses-alertpay-account-bans-cu...
So there we have a concrete example of commercial interests leading to a change in a furry environment which excluded members of the community. If we couple that with more recent changes such as Tumblr banning pornography and Patreon (which has always been iffy for porn) banning harmless fantasy kinks like hypnosis, it's not hard to see what might happen at a convention.

Dragoneer also brings up a good counter point to the whole "it's one convention" and "advertisers can't control the fandom" defence. Remember, Dragoneer sold FurAffinity, which is the largest furry site and was previously always run and owned in the fandom, to IMVU, which had no connection to the fandom.
https://www.flayrah.com/6017/imvu-buys-fur-affinity-furry-fans-respond
Even more telling is a quote from that article explaining how it all began.

This started with IMVU advertising its services to the FA community, which led to further discussions about the obvious overlap among our members.

Adverting relationships with external community, led to it being bought by people outside of the fandom with no warning.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

Oh here we go again... have to work CP in somewhere hey.
Still butthurt about being banned on those platforms aren't we?

YOU DO NOT OWN THE FURRY FANDOM... even though you think you do.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I think the main objection (setting aside those who object to this sort of thing on a more political/ideological level) is, okay, if Converse wants to buy ad space/sponsor a con/do whatever, sure, fine, Converse isn't in direct competition with anyone in the furry fandom; however, if you're willing to take Converse's money, what is your objection to, say, Disney sponsoring a con? And they are a direct competitor with Joe Furry. And Disney, let's face it, would probably wipe the floor with your average "mom and pop" furry. Even at a furry convention.

It's like the San Diego Comic Con; you probably can find independent or even underground comics there, but that's not what the con is about. It's a giant advertising smorgasbord for mega-corporations of the "entertainment variety." I don't think a furry convention would ever become that (it's always going to be a little bit niche), but if there's a portion of a furry con where Disney, say, gives a sneak peek of new footage at the live action remake of Robin Hood, that's going to dominate that convention, and further marginalize a small, furry author's small furry book from a small furry publisher.

Basically, this is Uncle Kage's argument for why (and he's literally told me this ... you know, via Internet comments, but still), though they may actually seek out some fairly big name voice actor with little to no connection with the furry as a Guest of Honor, don't expect Anthrocon to ever premiere a Hollywood movie. That would be kind of cool, on one hand, but on the other hand, it's not so cool to furries who are scrounging out a living doing furry.

And, yes, this may come off hypocritical, what with the constant stream of big name Hollywood reviews (there is an obvious one in the queue) from me, but I want to make clear that I'm just trying to explain the reasoning as it's been explained to me. Personally, I'm totally okay with Converse, and while I get Uncle Kage's argument, I kind of get the feeling for some people it's an excuse that keeps people from even trying (a kind of preemptive "the mainstream can't reject us because we reject the mainstream").

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

That's not really reflective of what my impression of "the main objection". Rakuen actually describes it pretty well between the "IMVU Affinity" thing and the "corporatization of Pride" thing. (As an aside to Rakuen, that would make a good opinion piece and you should write it.)

That I haven't seen it voiced much is probably more to do with mostly hearing complaints from people who don't sell things at conventions at all than meaning it isn't equally a concern.

I mostly don't think it's a cause for much concern. The goings-on of a Brazilian furry convention will affect the local furry community, sure, but it's not going to make much of a difference of the fandom internationally any time soon. (BFF's convention center has a max capacity of only 600, according to WikiFur, and while a corporate sugar daddy can finance a larger venue, it would have to also help fill it.)

Your rating: None

Perhaps I might but I can't until the end of the week at least.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

I've seen CrossAffliction's reply but that would not be my main objection.

I don't think sponsorship is that common, we only have two examples that have been brought up in this discussion; one from a long time ago. Obviously con organisers don't have a lot of money, that's why it works through donations and con fees. If young cons are doing that, I would concerned about what influence that may have on the future of the furry fandom.

The first concern I have with corporate sponsorship is the reduction of the community aspect and the hijacking of the community as an advertising tool. Corporate sponsorship is seldom, if ever, done silently. The companies want a presence, want their logo there. It's advertising to them, not from the goodness of their heart, and I don't want to see cons become just advertising for corporations instead of a community celebration. The example people were talking about was Pride. It's supposed to be a celebration of the LGBT community but, from what I've heard, advertising and corporations now have a large part in it.

A second concern is that corporate sponsorships undermine the independence of the convention. The furry fandom is filled with weird, niche ideas and identities, many of which are not accepted by the mainstream. Corporations are well known to be risk averse, so they can put pressure on conventions to exclude aspects of the fandom that they do not like. For example, pornography is a controversial issue and they may pressure conventions to remove adult works or talks. If you are relying on corporate sponsorships to pay the bills, then it would be very difficult for a convention to deny such a request.

I am sure there are more objections around but a loss of independence, treating people as a captive advertising audience, the risk of excluding the diversity of furs and potential losses of smaller, independent furry artists seem like plenty of reasons to be concerned.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Some statements from Brazil indicate that they have to be family friendly and play it safe already due to laws of the country, so even without sponsorship they already are under a lot of pressure to gloss over subversive element by their government.

With the two items referred to for sponsorship: Monster Energy Drinks in FWA 2010 and Will it Blend for FurAffinity United is that the relationships didn't last long or become 'a thing'.

Converse got them their AV equipment. Great. Just remember to be the one exploiting them and not the other way around. If we're going to be working with major corporations, we should be like that gold digging wife. As soon as they stop puttin' out and demand things from us in return for that cash, toss them for the next one.

If corporations are exploitative, we should be just as cold and exploitative in return.

And should the extra-fandom corporations come to the realization that we will suck the life outta their investments, then we can switch to an intra-fandom sponsorship model where our bigger organizations sponsor our others. I mean we already do this via ads in the convention books, but I think the fandom could always go bigger on that front.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I agree that would be the best way to use such a sponsorship but I fear it's unlikely. I worry that people will take a large sponsorship which allows them to do something nice but then not drop it because it would mean a smaller budget/no longer being able to do that extra thing.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

That's why you use the money to buy capital (physical reusable assets that can be used for multiple years) and NOT use it to fund "operation and maintenance" expenses (year to year function expenses).

In this case Brazil said they're using it for AV equipment. Which is good because once you buy it you have it and can use it even if they kick the kicks to the door.

If they are using it to RENT AV equipment then it could be problematic as they would have to retain a sponsor relationship to rent it out every year.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Actually, I don't think we're on different pages; Uncle Kage is a known storyteller and I'm a reporter. We use stories and concrete examples to illustrate ideas. You're more ideologically driven, and skip that bit. You're saying "this is bad" and I'm saying "let me tell you a story about how this is bad," is all.

And I acknowledged there are ideological reasons; the advertising bit is a more concretely damaging to the community and/or individual furries, but I will acknowledge that money-pressured censorship is a distinct possibility. On the other hand, your concrete example in that realm is that "oh noes, cub porn gots banned!", so you can see why I might not be more inclined to treat that as a concern motivated by "personal ideology" rather than universal.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Want a more comprehensive example? Here's the list of kinks F-list would have been required to prohibit in order to take subscriptions. It's a long list, and I imagine future additions would need to be vetted as well. All of these are at risk of being forbidden if some card processor gets wind that it's part of what artists alley or dealers' den payments are for - even if they're just paying for the venue, not handling third-party transactions for the alley. It's a stretch, but I could see it happening for event programming, too; after all, it's an advertised component of the event.

The issue is keenly felt by artists relying on online subscription and streaming platforms. Over the past few months I've heard regular stories from artists required to make major changes to their output if they don't want to be thrown off Patreon.

Some actions are justified in the sense that they involve clear derivative works of Pokemon, The Lion King, etc. (though use of trademark protection seems a tad dubious given that the mark owners aren't creating porn to compete with it).

Other cuts are purely about topics being incorporated into the work which Patreon or their card processors don't want to deal with. These restrictions act as a form of censorship because they discourage professional artists from taking work involving such topics - just as refusing them the ability to sell such work at a dealers' table does. This tends to limit the quality and availability of such work.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

You're going to turn me into a corporate apologist, here, GR, cause, I mean, you really thought that was a good list to show me?

If, and this is a big if, there's an advantage to corporate involvement with the fandom it's that it's basically the only path in the current system to wide mainstream exposure. Now, wide mainstream exposure is itself not a common goal in the furry fandom, but, you know, it is one I'd like to see happen. It's my point about the "are we really rejecting the mainstream, or are we just preemptively reacting to a perceived rejection from the mainstream." I think, to put it in Marxist terms, the argument we're having here is "is furry truly a counterculture (opposed to the dominant culture) or merely a subculture (still part of the dominant culture, no matter how niche)" and I think if you want to argue we're truly a "counter-culture", I think that's laughable.

If you were to make the statement that "without Disney, there would be no furry fandom", I would say that statement was reductive to the point of absurdity, lacking in wide swaths of context and essentially true. We're already pretty intertwined with the mainstream culture enough that even if you genuinely wanted furry to be some sort of "fight the power, man!" counter-culture, it's already compromised, and has been from the beginning.

As a subculture, however, we still have power to change the rest of culture, and there is a lot in furry worth sharing. I think I'm kind of repeating myself from Zootopia exchanges, but the thing is that, at this point, getting noticed by a mega-corporation is kind of nice. As everyone and their dog has pointed out, corporations are risk-averse. Wal-Mart and Disney and Converse and whoever are looking at us and saying, "No, man, this is good. We can sale this; this has value." And I don't share enough Marxist values to care that this is obviously the assigning of a purely monetary value, either. It's still something. It's just nice to be appreciated.

And then you and Rakuen are over here all like, "but crossie, think of the scat porn!"

You're going to need a better argument, is what I'm saying.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

I completely get what you are saying.
Also, a niggling point is why does the porn have to be in the public space? Isn't that sort of thing supposed to be, uh, private?

Oh wait... Furries and their ever-present quest for validation (not you Crossie, because of all the furries I've met it appears you have had your head screwed on correctly and speak from a place of what seems to be a lot of experience).

The thing I don't get is that in the world of comics, especially in Japan, there's a whole world of smut, and yet those things seem to not be forced down people's throats. While we can definitely say "But Sonikku, those doujinshi you'll only find at a Comiket in Akihabara" it still makes me wonder, why.

In terms of corproations having an interest, you need to use it to your advantage. Get them to pay for a con, get them to pay for your expenses. This is a subculture, a hobby, FFS, they cannot own something like that. Its intangible.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

That all sounds like kind of a strawman argument. You're the one bringing up furry as a counter-culture.

I'm talking about the furs who do want to take cub (or scat, or non-con, or feral) mainstream - or failing that, at least do business with fans and make a living off it - but who are being prevented from doing so, today; and who don't want to see that interference extend to further spheres of interactions with their customers.

It's hard to run any kind of business - even self-employed - without dealing with corporations. Not being able to use PayPal, Patreon or Picarto is a real problem for some artists. It's not insurmountable, but it's a burden, and needlessly so. This is the financially-pressured corporate censorship that already exists, and it's one reason fans are wary of their influence.

Everyone likes to be appreciated, and limited marketing engagements can have benefits for all concerned. However, there's a clear risk of fan organizations "selling out" - tailoring their members' activities to what's palatable to a sponsor. If that's the cost, it's not worth paying; and if necessary, we'll drag you down with us to preserve what we have for future fans. The cub must flow!

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

So basically let's put this straight-

Furries are butthurt because the cold, calculating real world says no to their disgusting kinks and payment processors don't want to be involved when cash is exchanged for rendering of such services. I am honestly not surprised. What did furries expect? A lot of what furries do is illegal, and very highly so, in most worldwide jurisdictions. But yet, it seems, while most *normal* people will go about their lives keeping their shit between four walls, somehow being a furry changes all that. Why?

And then when corporate says no to using their facilities to pay/exchange money for such contraband, they are seen as the evil behemoths. Look I don't like corporate for a very different reason (my reason is that they are ripping everyone off and exploit people who are in the low income bands) but still, they provide SOME value.

Even when weighed up against evolution, or its counter, de-evolution (whether you like Devo's music or not, they do have a bit of a point and something valid to say about this) I still don't see how there can be this outright desire to make disgusting and illegal sexual practices mainstream.

This is probably why some psychology textbooks describe furry as a sexual kink, because the more I look at it, the more it is indeed so. And this is probably why I will never belong in this fandom. In conjunction with the fact that my sexual orientation is a problem, the fact that I do not need to project my carnal desires as some animal, means I am unwelcome. And I can live with that :)

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

Yeah, and I'm saying I would also like to prevent the furs who want to go mainstream with "I can't believe it's not technically pedophilia!" from going mainstream. I'm opposed to those furries; if they lose, that's a win for me, Green Reaper.

That's what I'm talking about; you know this. You know I don't give a shit if cub porn gets censored because I want cub porn to get censored. BECAUSE I'VE TOLD YOU. Repeatedly. And at length. For over a decade now.

And I'm not even arguing that point today, Green Reaper; my argument today is that if you really want to keep corporations out, you need better arguments. You literally led with the worst possible example you could find for me. It's not even "read the room", dude; you had one guy, and only one guy, you know is touchy about problematic porn, and you went right to it.

Why would you do that?

And, okay, also that would be totally counter-cultural if you want cub porn accepted at large; in fact you are literally telling me it's not acceptable right now. In our culture. Our culture, right now, rejects cub porn. It runs "counter" to the culture. That's what that is.

You're "counter-cultural"; it's not a bad word. Don't get me wrong there. It's kinda cool, actually. Just don't expect me to care. I keep saying we're opposed ideologically, not substantively; we're both well aware of the harm corporations can do. I just don't think you realize how out there you are with your little Inkbunny experiment.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)

I know why. I know the deal. Hell I do it myself.
My question was posed to Firedog.. I want to know why he has an issue because quite frankly I don't see one.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

They are going to do what they are going to do. If they can get Converse to help pay for the convention and are willing to agree to whatever terms and conditions there are, then cool. It still doesn't mean Converse has any control over the entire furry fandom. There is no centralized leadership in the fandom which means it would be almost impossible for any entity to control it. It's Brazil. Things work a bit differently there. I hope they have a fun convention (and know I didn't even know they had a convention before this).

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

The one time I managed to go to Eurofurence (13, 2007), in Suhl, I distantly recall there might have been a deal with a particular beer company? I don't know if it was the hotel that had the arrangement, or if a member of con staff had connections. I'm not a beer drinker so that doesn't help the hazy memory.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <img> <b> <i> <s> <blockquote> <ul> <ol> <li> <table> <tr> <td> <th> <sub> <sup> <object> <embed> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <dl> <dt> <dd> <param> <center> <strong> <q> <cite> <code> <em>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This test is to prevent automated spam submissions.

About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, philosophy and writing