Sometimes the best strategy is to say nothing. Ignore the offence. At least be careful how you share your digital outrage!
I’m not marketer, but I’ve heard more than once there’s no such thing as bad publicity. I guess there’s exceptions to the rule, but not too often when you are trying to get your product onto people’s radar.
In recent times, my digital friends, mostly Christian but also others with a moral compass, have protested against:
- a computer game which apparently involves running women over with cars;
- the screening on TV of an American football variant which involves women wearing skimpy underwear as the competition uniform;
- the visit of some sort of dating coach to Australia with offensive views about women.
In each case, the suggested protest involves sharing the link to a blog critique or petition site. And this almost always involves Facebook picking up as its preview the picture of the very person or practice you are protesting against!
In each case, until then I had been barely aware of the product, if not completely unaware, so I’m sorry if I got a detail wrong.
But as the protest spread in that viral digital way, I kept getting the image shoved in my face through my Facebook feed. Ironically it was by my friends, who don’t want this sort of thing being promoted!
Counter-productively, this can lead your friends into temptations we might not otherwise have faced. (“I might just click on that link to find out how bad it is…”) At the very least, it can become an unwelcome distraction.
Here’s a couple of alternatives.
1. Ignore it. Don’t give it any air. Don’t give it any extra publicity. Being ignored is a promoter’s nightmare, so help make it a flop and ignore the offensive product.
I wonder if the wisdom of Proverbs 26:20 could sometimes be applicable here.
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
2. Keep the image out of it. If you must share a protest, then encourage the protest in a way that does not keep bringing the offensive image to everyone’s attention. Risk that you won’t get the visual hook. Or use a different image that does not serve to highlight the product or person you are protesting.
Trust that the merits of the case you outline without a sensational image will persuade people to join you.
Naïve, I know.
I guess I am struggling with how to apply Ephesians 5:11-12 –
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
Some of these things need to be exposed. But the Apostle says that sometimes the details should not be mentioned, let alone inadvertently promoted.
And context suggests that most of all, it’s the gospel light of Jesus that should do the exposing.