It is hard to get away from the feeling that we are being manipulated all the time. This week there were plenty of new stories of divisive characters losing their audience, brands trying new ways to be more truthful, and talk show host John Oliver trying to define reality itself. The theme this week is the idea that increasingly audiences and consumers are desperate to find brands, media and people that offer something that at least seems closer to the truth. See the stories curated in this week’s email for examples of this and let me know if you agree with this idea. As always, I would love to hear what you think!
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Story #1: The Slow Demise Of The Laugh Track
This fascinating story focuses on how the laugh track, once a staple of comedy television, is increasingly seen by audiences as manipulative and not particularly trustworthy. For years, the laugh track has existed to make shows seem funnier. In older times, it was even called “sweetening.” Today, the desire seems to increasingly be for shows that are actually funny in real time, recorded in front of a real laughing audience.
Story #2: Why L’Oréal Is Thinking Bigger Than Just Selling Products
After a slate of political statements from fashion designers during past fashion weeks, a hot topic in that industry is just how much of a “statement” these brands and their leaders should be making. This story about L’Oréal focuses on a new brand initiative to partner with a UK based charitable group to offer e-mentorship virtual classes to help 10,000 young people build their self-confidence. The brand is also changing its slogan ‘Because you’re worth it’ to ‘We are all worth it’ to reflect its focus on diversity and be more inclusive.
Story #3: Media Reports Fake Story As Real, Kill Their Own Credibility
As the fierce outcry over fake news continues, the mainstream media fails to help its own case by sharing a viral video of a female biker seemingly responding to unsolicited cat calls from workers in a van by chasing them and pulling off a wing mirror. Unfortunately, the episode appeared to have been staged – but many media only qualified that well after initially publishing the story. The net result? Even less trust in media.
Story #4: How “Groundtruthing” May Be The Only Solution
One interesting solution to this desperate quest for the truth is the idea that perhaps we need to remove the many intermediaries. This idea is defined by Heather Taylor, director of creative strategy for The Economist, who says people increasingly prefer “information provided by direct observation as opposed to information provided by inference.” In other words, perhaps the only solution to the modern “post-truth” assault on reality from all sides is to only believe what you see with your own eyes.
Other Non-Obvious Stories This Week Worth Reading …
- SPACE10 Open Sources The Growroom
- The Virtual Reality Empathy Platform Helps Architects Design Inclusively
- Jawbone to end consumer sales, pivot to medical industry
How Are These Stories Chosen?
Every week I review more than a hundred data sources to curate the best and most under appreciated marketing stories of the week. The aim of this email is to spotlight these “non-obvious” stories, along with a quick take on why they matter for you. I hope you find this email interesting and useful … and am always open to your suggestions on how I might make it better!