Repeat after me: “I am a liar.”
Again: “I am a liar.”
Once more, now: “I am a liar.”
The point of this exercise is to expose the base truth of all marketing. We are all liars. We tell stories, provide anecdotes, and put u fronts to get through the average day. In the words of Seth Godin, “the stories we tell ourselves are lies that make it far easier to live in a very complicated world. We tell stories about products, services, friends, job seekers, the New York Yankees, and sometimes even the weather.”
That’s nice, but what does this have to do with anime?
In regards to anime, I’ve written many times that the current stigmas of the industry are a failure of the market, and of marketers. And, in a way, this is true. The current message is that anime is a product of perverts, lonely basement dwellers, and people that are generally out of touch with reality. And, unfortunately, these messages exist because the market demands them. As Godin writes, “Consumers are used to telling stories to themselves and telling stories to each other… People can’t handle the truth.”
In a world of stories, it suddenly becomes more important to begin spreading the right story. Killing the stigma becomes more a task of marketing, and of presentation than a Sisyphan trial. However, that doesn’t mean the shift is an easy one. To move people away from swapping stories about Man Faye, fangirls, and convention creeplers, it will require a change from within.
I don’t see this happening any time soon. However, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. After all, the situation won’t get better until some action is taken.
Quotes from All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin