When you stay up late enough, you encounter the most bizarre things on TV. Let’s take Shapewear, the Wonderbra of obese people. As the commercial says “It takes away 40 pounds.” Not really. It provides a perception that you weigh 40 pounds less. But what about the reality when you take that thing off? Ooops, haven’t see you 40 pounds lately.

Or, the Mashable headline: Old Spice: The archetype of a successful social media campaign. Yay, Social Media, winning! Conveniently forgetting the fact that Old Spice spent a huge chunk of change on introducing the campaign at the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. This was more than just a good idea going viral. This was a brilliantly planned campaign. But, like Cisco, many brands/agencies want to believe in viral marketing aka creating a video, putting it on YouTube and hope for the best.

Perception is not reality. It’s just the perception of reality, not reality. Just ask anyone involved in the financial crisis. Or the majority of homeowners.

The marketing industry tends to embrace perceived truths with an amazing speed: The year of mobile – Was it 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011? Maybe 2012? Viral Marketing. Location-based apps. The Web is dead. TV is dead. Radio is dead. Print is dead. Everybody is dead. Behavioral Targeting works. Sponsored tweets work. We often accept things on face value because it’s more convenient for us. A little digging might change perception and confront all of us with reality. How can somebody say “Display advertising works” when 99.9% of all ads are never clicked on? How can we anyone recommend Facebook ads when their performance is utterly abysmal?

When you follow the perception of truth you will head down the wrong path. Better follow the truth.