Archives for posts with tag: truth

fastfoods-ads-vs-reality-bigmacWe’ve all seen these images before. Advertising is about making things look desirable. However, there comes a point where reality and desire diverge, and the ad industry is really bad in recognizing that point.

That’s when we enter the world of “Butt Pad” advertising.

Apparently, there are people out there who want a shapely behind. The enhancement industry is extremely happy to offer people devices that lift, pad and shape the derriere. Here’s the problem: Once you leave the club/bar/part, the pad has to be removed. Suddenly, reality sets in and you’re stuck with what nature has blessed you with.

The majority of ads are guilty of this behavior.

They get you excited. They get you going. They make you want to take the next step by stimulating your imagination. At one point, they have to reveal the product: It’s perfectly acceptable. It’s fine.

But it’s nowhere near the hype represented in the full glory of the heavily padded presentation.

Shouldn’t we be happy with what we actually have?

Advertising is not in the business to lie to sell a product.

Good advertising communicates the truth of a product in the best possible light. It’s like going on a date: As an introvert, I wouldn’t try to be an extrovert. However, as a mediocre dresser, I would put my best food forward. Padded ads express shame in the core offering. They might give you short-term advantages, look good in the limelight, but in the end brand are eroding long-term customer faith in brand, favoring a cheap sale.

My question is, when will we start being happy with what we actually have? Advertising shouldn’t need to lie to sell a product. The best ads represent the truth of a product in the best possible light. But padded ads only express shame in the core offering. They may look good in a skirt and top, but you are eroding long term customer faith in you, in favor of a cheap sale.

What to do?

If you’re not comfortable in your skin, you have bigger problems than the shape of your derriere. If you’re not proud of your product, you have bigger problems than just your advertising strategy.

Explore and determine what you love about yourself and build a wardrobe of communication points around that. Be proud of who you are. Hold your head high. Be proud. Most importantly, deliver on your strengths rather than hiding your perceived weakness behind a fake reality show you can never live up to.

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It’s funny because it’s true. Sadly.

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Facebook is starting to join the real-time conversational marketing bandwagon. Basically, ads will be delivered based on the declared intention of the user. Ad Age explains:

“Users who update their status with “Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight,” could get an ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut. (…) ”

With real-time delivery, the mere mention of having a baby, running a marathon, buying a power drill or wearing high-heeled shoes is transformed into an opportunity to serve immediate ads, expanding the target audience exponentially beyond usual targeting methods such as stated preferences through “likes” or user profiles. Facebook didn’t have to create new ads for this test and no particular advertiser has been tapped to participate — the inventory remains as is.

A user may not have liked any soccer pages or indicated that soccer is an interest, but by sharing his trip to the pub for the World Cup, that user is now part of the Adidas target audience. The moment between a potential customer expressing a desire and deciding on how to fulfill that desire is an advertiser sweet spot, and the real-time ad model puts advertisers in front of a user at that very delicate, decisive moment.”

Could this work? Isn’t that finally the transformation of advertising from attention to intention? VRM has finally arrived? Hallelujah?

Sadly, no. Facebook tries to find a business model that can help them sustain their valuation of $85 billion. Or, is it $4.5 gazillion by now? Fact is, the Facebook ads perform abysmal. Brand pages and apps are doing okay but Facebook needs to make most of their money from  ads. So, they are scrambling. Problem is, the contract between Facebook and each Facebook user is broken. It’s not broken enough for people to leave Facebook. We’re just too lazy to head over to another network. It might happen one day. But not in the foreseeable future. The platform is too user-friendly, too big and too embedded into our daily lives.

Facebook is the new Microsoft

We didn’t like to use PC’s, always envied the Apple users. We didn’t really care for another version of Office. But the rest of the world was using it. Microsoft was omnipresent and we had no alternatives. That’s how people feel about Facebook. John Battelle thinks people will game the system. I don’t really see it as gaming, just another way to look for special offers.

But that’s not real challenge.

Facebook has only one asset: You & me, and the community we create. In order for Facebook to command any decent valuation, all of us have to be comfortable with the deal. And the deal is that Facebook sells our data, our personas to marketers. This requires an open, truthful and transparent relationship between Facebook and us. Have you ever thought of Facebook as an open, truthful and transparent company?

Exactly.

The Intention Economy is built around more than transactions. Conversations do matter. Relationships as well. So, do reputation, respect and trust. To think Facebook can be the mediator in an intention economy is, to say the least, questionable.

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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.