We lost a true American original this week. The great Mr. Stan Lee died at the ripe young age of 95. Stan Lee was, in short, a gentleman whose impact on global popular culture can pretty much not be exaggerated.
He was, if you don’t know, the Editor-in-Chief, Art Director, and eventually the Publisher, as well as Chairman-Emeritus, of Marvel Comics. Lee directly co-created — among many other characters — The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Panther, and Iron Man, along with legendary artist Jack Kirby, who passed away in 1994. He also, along with the enigmatic and famously press-shy Steve Ditko — who died just this past June at the age of 90 — co-created Doctor Strange and (almost certainly the best known of any of his characters) Spider-Man.
Of his creative innovations, the one for which he’s most frequently praised is the way he developed his “super” characters with very human foibles, conflicts, and problems. He created superheroes that would be recognizable to readers, and some with which they could even identify directly (when initially introduced, Spider-Man was a high school student who — despite his extraordinary abilities — wrestled with the sorts of insecurities that most teenagers do).
In-depth biographies of Lee have been published everywhere this week, so we’ll allow those reading this entry to find the full story of his incredible life as written by those far better qualified to tell it.
We can say this much, though, he was the most instantly recognizable real-life face ever associated with his medium, even to many of those who never picked up a comic book in their lives.
While many of his iconic co-creations have been well beyond familiar to people of all ages for decades, it was during the last 10 to 15 years, or so, of Lee’s life when he’d see them come to dominate popular entertainment as never before. While Stan left Marvel in the 90s (he was never an owner), he did see some money from his association with the many hit films featuring the characters he helped create. The most notable movies that owe their existences to Lee’s imagination are the many that make up Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most profitable film franchise of all time.
Marvel Entertainment posted the video below to YouTube this week in tribute to the man to whom most everyone over there ultimately owes their livelihoods.
By no means intending to be crass, but as a sincere tribute (and frankly, one somewhat in keeping with the spirit of the great man himself), we put our StatSocial social media audience analysis engine to work. Across social media, we tracked the postings of the many thousands who logged in to pay their respects. This group included a vast many celebrities, by whom we mean many of the very biggest around, and seemingly countless dedicated fans — from all walks of life — both young and old.
An Explanation of the Insights Below:
The insights featured here are sorted according to our index score. The score shows, at-a-glance, the degree to which the corresponding demographics, behaviors, and/or affinities of the audience being analyzed either exceed, are in line with, or fall short of the baseline.
Our platform allows tremendous flexibility in terms of what baseline you may use to give your statistics context, but for this piece we’re going with the average American social media audience.
For a deeper explanation of how presenting our statistics through this lens provides a far truer look into an audience’s heart and soul than just regarding them as raw numbers (which we, of course, recommend you do as well), please visit this entry here.
PLEASE NOTE: While many of the below topics feature top 10 lists, our taxonomies for these subjects — and a huge quantity of others not featured here — number in the thousands.
Conforming a bit to stereotypes, men do account for the majority. Not, however, overwhelmingly so. 31% is a portion of an audience that nobody in their right mind would disregard. As anyone who has ever attended a comic convention knows, women are well and fully present and accounted for among comic fandom.
When we say “young and old” above, we’re not really exaggerating. Granted, those over age 54 make up the smallest portion of this audience. All the same, and in keeping with the sentiments expressed above, 10.28% is not — given the number of tributes that flooded social media — an insignificant quantity.
Those aged 35 to 44 and aged 18 to 24 — the second bunch being particularly noteworthy, specifically regarding the matter of for how many more years Stan’s characters are destined to live on in the culture — are each present among this audience to degrees exceeding the average U.S. social media audience by one-and-one-quarter times (or more).
The fact that 45% of the audience we tracked is under aged 34, with 22.3% being between ages 18 and 24, is certainly a factor in the income insights.
Over 44% earn over $50k annually, with those earning between $50k and $100k being close to consistent with the baseline.
As you’ll find elsewhere on the StatSocial site, we explain StatSocial Clusterswith the words below:
About StatSocial Clusters
Our data scientists have modeled the entire US population into 200 unique clusters. Using billions of inputs for over 120M US consumers, we have segmented naturally occurring population clusters across distinct demographic and household types, personality traits provided by IBM Watson, combined with people’s passions, which we have sourced from their social activities online. For those familiar with traditional clustering models such as PRIZM, Personicx, Mosaic, and Tapestry, we believe this layer of social behaviors, which only StatSocial can offer, provides the richest possible insights into what motivates different types of people. We think you’re going to love the context our cluster analysis will provide.
You can click through here to read our descriptions of all 200 unique segments, including the five below.
Below are the clusters to which those who’ve been memorializing Stan most prominently belong when compared to the average U.S. social media bunch. Beneath the chart will be a brief thumbnail summary of each. You can get the more in-depth description applying to each cluster at the link above.
‘Mostly Marvel,’ we suspect, is self-explanatory and ultimately unsurprising. Those who fall within this cluster exceed their kind in the average social media crowd by over 23 ⅘ times. ‘Hooray for Hollywood’ is a group who share a love of not only films, but explicitly of film studios. ‘La Liga Believas’ are fans of Spain’s world famous professional football league.
‘Bones Fans, Possible Whedonites’ will get their own paragraph. This cluster most strongly exhibits a fondness — through many mutual interests — for Fox’s now completed drama, ‘Bones.’ That show’s co-star, David Boreanaz, however, links the cluster to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ Add to that shared affinities for Nathan Fillion, Eliza Dushku, and the short-lived cult program ‘Firefly,’ and a fondness for Joss Whedon, ‘Buffy’’s creator and showrunner — and, not for nothing, the director of the MCU’s first two ‘Avengers’ films — is more than hinted at. Still, Joss Whedon himself is not among their shared loves (hence, “possible”).
The ‘Hooligantastic’ cluster are fans of U.K. footie.
Again, you can click through here to read more in-depth descriptions of the above, as well as all the other clusters we — like so many ‘Avengers’ — have assembled.
We’ve mentioned the celebrities who took to social media this week to pay tribute to Stan Lee’s memory, some of them can be found below among this list of this audience’s favorite influencers.
Exhibiting strongly that this not a group of mere dilettantes being analyzed here, the top influencer is Jim Lee. While currently the COO and co-publisher of Marvel’s long-standing chief rival DC Comics, the South Korean-born Lee first rose to fame in the late-80s/early-90s as an artist at Marvel. This would certainly help explain Jim Lee finding affinity among this audience to a degree exceeding the baseline by 24 ¼ times.
Director and screenwriter James Gunn was responsible for the MCU’s first two ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ films. He was, to the chagrin of many fans, fired by Disney from the third ‘Guardians’ film due to the surfacing of some decidedly off-color jokes he made on social media a number of years ago. He finds favor among this group to a degree exceeding the average social media audience by nearly 21 ⅕ times.
Five of the MCU’s biggest stars — all of whom took to social media this week to pay their respects — can be found here. Additionally, long-time and unapologetic comics fan, Mark Hamill, whose likeness was rendered in a series of Marvel ‘Star Wars’ comics for many years, and who also registered, via social media, his great love for Stan Lee and his work, finds fans among this crowd to a degree exceeding the average American social bunch by 16 ¼ times.
DC Comics tops this list, finding affinity among this crowd to a degree exceeding the baseline by over 24 ⅗ times. With all due respect to both our index score, and DC Comics, we will point out that while Marvel “only” finds fans among this group to a degree that exceeds the baseline by about 19 ⅗ times, the baseline for them is already nearly twice what it is for DC (sorry Batman).
DC and Marvel have not always been contentious, anyway. Not only have they teamed up now and again for some comics titles, what a lot of people may not realize is that they — and they alone — share the trademark to the term super hero/superhero/super-hero, and its variants (superheroes, etc.). While this is a controversial matter, it is all the same an example of the two competitors working together.
Three additional comics publishers, Marvel’s parent company, the above referenced Spanish football/soccer league, and three developers and/or manufacturers of video games and/or gaming consoles round out the list.
There is no “nerd culture” any longer, of which to speak, as it’s all just popular culture now (as we referenced above, the MCU is the most profitable film franchise of all time). So, none of this conforms to negative stereotypes at all (not that it should anyway, as nerds are awesome). Still, if any group were to have a dedicated interest in these things — La Liga being the sole outlier, we suppose — it would be this bunch.
The MCU has had a televisual arm for some time now, with a number of TV shows popping up over the past few years which all take place within the same greater world as the films. The grittiest — the most TV-MA (or, were they in cinemas, easily Rated R), as it were, by some distance — of these properties are the family of shows produced by Marvel in conjunction with Netflix. The first five programs on this list here are indeed five of those six show.
TV programs based on DC Comics properties are evident here in the form of The CW’s ‘Arrow’ and Fox’s ‘Gotham.’
Finally things are rounded out by ‘The Simpsons,’ which after nearly 30 years on the air likely requires no introduction, and ‘Doctor Who.’ The latter has been on the air for 39, or so, of the last 55 years. Many of those not in America, however, so some introductions might be necessary. We’ll spare you here, though.
As we say, it IS the most profitable film franchise of all time, so the fact that nine of the 10 films listed here are from the MCU should not be entirely surprising. That the varying affinities they find among this audience exceed the baseline by quantities ranging from over 20 to over 50 times, however, is quite noteworthy.
The one film that doesn’t take place within the MCU is, all the same, based on a Marvel property. Taking place in 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men-verse” (Fox currently holds the film rights to a number of Marvel characters, most successfully those related to The X-Men), the fourth-wall breaking, very R Rated ‘Deadpool’ finds fans here to a degree exceeding the baseline by 39 times.
Nearly every channel here revolves around video games, anime, comics, or other things of a “fannish” nature (hey, technically iDubbbz started out as a “Let’s Play” channel, so go with us here). The channel in first place — featuring animated interpretations of how a vast number of popular movies “should have ended,” and boasting over 8 million subscribers — finds favor here to a degree exceeding the baseline by a dramatic 124 ⅕ times.
PERSONALITIES (courtesy of IBM Watson™ Personality Insights)
Among the vast many audience insights uncovered in every StatSocial report is an analysis of the personality types most prevalent among the grouping under review. The ability to derive these spectacularly useful and unique insights from our audience data comes via our proud partnership with IBM Watson™ and our integration of their Personality Insights tool into our reporting.
Personality Insights, in the case of its application to StatSocial, processes all the public online writings — on social media, blogs, message boards, comments threads, and so forth — of those comprising the audience being analyzed. Using sophisticated linguistic analytics, Personality Insights infers the characteristics of each audience member. Starting with the widely applied Big Five taxonomy of personality traits and psyche. From there Watson™analyzes further, uncovering needs, values, and more.
Four of the most highly indexed personality types to be found among those paying their respects to Stan Lee this week fall under the Big Five category of Openness. Characterized in the context of the Big Five as an “appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.”
The personality traits under the Openness banner that are most predominant are Imagination, Liberalism, Intellect, and Adventurousness. In this context the first, third, and fourth personality traits describe what you more or less think.
The second, however, in the context of IBM Watson™ Personality Insights, does not relate to an overtly political stance or ideology. It means liberalism in the more classical sense of questioning authority and seeking freedom.
Regardless, it sounds like a fairly accurate summary of Stan Lee himself. Surely, it indicates the man had fans carved out from the same mold as he.
A more detailed explanation the personalities on the above list, and examples of how these personality traits can be translated into practical marketing applications, are viewable at the IBM Watson™ website which you can visit by clicking here.
Again, we do stress that we’re doing this entry first and foremost out of admiration for Mr. Lee on our own parts. This is in no way meant to be morbid or disrespectful.
TO THOSE CURIOUS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT STATSOCIAL
Taking a topical matter, we’re demonstrating in action the sort of top-line insights that would be contained in a StatSocial report.
Here the results somewhat largely conform to expectation, in broad strokes, but any keen marketer will recognize that the difference is in the details.
Armed with these insights — as with all other StatSocial insights — you can ascertain to what degree your message is already reaching your desired consumer type, whether or not you’d like to be reaching a different or additional audience, and finally where in the wilds of social media that audience-type — be they more of who is already connecting with your brand, or those you’d like to sway to your brand’s favor — can be found.
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