Truth

The Internet, and especially social media, have blown open the doors of obfuscation and misrepresentation. Now, if you lie, you die. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a person or a Fortune 500 company, your story will die a quick death if it is in any way false or inauthentic. That is a good thing, by the way, because truth is everything. “Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few.””Tell the truth” is an interesting book for marketers and others who like to spin the truth a little. The authors suggest that the era of lies (or at least little white lies) in marketing is over. The most effective way for a brand to stand out is to tell the truth. Well, duh…. The obvious couldn’t be more obvious, could it? We live in an age where truth is so rare that Presidential and Prime Ministerial candidates consistently tell us lies so they can get elected. Of course we are complicit. Reality is too harsh for us as voters to meet the truth head on. We much prefer vision to reality, even if the vision is one of pseudo-happiness. We tell ourselves the near-truth hoping it’s the real-truth.

Speaking of near-truth, have you ever watched a reality show called The Pitch? It pits two ad agencies against each other as they work to win a big new account. The stakes are high and the anxiety is through the roof. We watch as prospective clients seek someone who can pull the truth out of their product and present it to the world — which, on the surface, would seem to be an eminently logical desire. But what they really want is magic, says The Guardian:

“Whether it’s sandwich giant Subway, trash recycling conglomerate Waste Management or air conditioning mogul Clockwork, the demands are identical: the media buyers want out-of-the-box thinking. They want ideas that will change the public perceptions of their companies. And, of course, they all want a video that’s going to go viral. If one lone copywriter had been foolhardy enough to blurt out: “Asking for a viral video is like asking for a hit record or a successful movie or a healthy child. You can hope it will happen but it cannot be pre-arranged,” I would have raised my glass in admiration.”

Or, as Jack Nicholson’s character famously said, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!”