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Why haven't all marketers learnt yet that honesty really is the best policy?

Back from a personally important, eventful and happy vacation. :)

But I'll re-start bloggin with a rant! I was really annoyed by the sheer incompetence of the marketing team of a certain large consumer electronics company at CES. Imagine a high-profile presentation, thousands of people watching and you demo your latest technology. The demo is well-choreographed with your CEO on stage and two "users" of your technology talking about how the technology has improved their lives. One "user" shows a video of her infant daughter, talks about her hometown, how the technology is so impressive and has made her world a better place. The "users" are really polished and demo is very clearly canned, but still impressive. Applause all around. If it had ended there, I'd have been fine with it. Except that it didn't.

A couple of hours later, I strolled over to the CES booth of the same company to show a demo of one of their technologies to a colleague. I imagined part of the demo would be similar, but instead left both laughing and annoyed. Two different "users" of the technology show up, but they have the same names. WTF?, I think. Then one of the users spouts out the exact same line about her hometown. At this point I smile. Then the exact same baby video shows up and this woman asks the audience to confirm how cute her baby is. At this point, I was just laughing out loud.

Clearly the company had hired actors and given them the same script to use at the canned demo.

Why am I so mad about this?

Well I was lied to! And I don't like it. I'm immediately thinking "Hey, what else are these guys lying about?"
And it was so unnecessary too.
If the actors had started the demo saying, "Lets say my name was ___ and this was my baby I could ___" Sure the demo would have been marginally less effective, but not as ineffective as their entire demo would have been if they'd been outed by someone there.

What on earth made them think they wouldn't be found out? Were they just sloppy? Did they think people in the audience were too dumb to catch on? Argh!

The thing is: I get it. I understand the very human tendency to lie when things aren't exactly as you wish, to hope that no one notices and move on. But its wrong! Its wrong when people do it and its sheer stupidity when corporations think they can get away with it.

Honesty (especially in marketing) is hard, but its always an option and the only sensible one in the long-run.


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