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Friday, February 29, 2008

Perception is Truth.

One of the things that intrigues me the most about marketing and any communication via the media is how manipulated the truth can be.

As contrived as this may sound, there are good AND not-so-good aspects to this paradox.

Many would reply that the most obvious way marketing and advertising manipulates the truth is to get people to buy things that they don’t necessarily need.

My reply? That is not the purpose nor intent of advertising at all and if it was, advertising would no longer drive sales as the public would become more and more resentful of this type of "Yellow Advertising" and its blatant manipulation.

Initially advertising was strictly geared at informing the masses of what was available to them. Advertising is now about its entertainment value. How memorable it can be in our overstimulated, fast-paced lives.

Advertisers are near miracle workers as they now must select the right target audience, come up with engaging, relevant, entertaining ads, that drive sales, and don't have the slightest information that could be perceived as misleading because millions of critics armed with blogs, web sites, online profiles, and email will let the world know just how fallacious their claim is.

Not at all a good look for the advertiser or the client and is avoided at all costs.

The Internet has awakened the general public to just how little a public image reflects who a person ACTUALLY is.

Case Study 1 - Britney Spears: I for one always knew she wasn't the classiest of the classy, but it seems that many of her adoring fans were wrapped up in her record executive produced persona and were shocked to see just how trashy she really could be.

I'd love to see just how well her image consultants can get her out of this one. They've already began making moves to reconcile her image by blaming her erratic behavior on her boyfriend, Sam Lutfi. He's allegedly been drugging her. Niice move PR execs.

Case Study 2 - Myspace, YouTube, and Facebook Profiles: We are are getting more and more obsessed with ourselves. Digital cameras, cell phones with video capabilities, and online profiles have allowed us to pick and choose what we feel are the best parts of our lives and put them on display for the world to see.

As honest as you try to be on these profiles, who is really going to put on display our day to day struggles and strife? From the outside, its seems that we always take the perfect photo, in divine duds. Attend the best parties, events, and concerts with the most beautiful of friends.

Digital cameras and online profiles essentially allow us to craft our lives and delete any trace of imperfection.

As a marketer, you learn that who you are perceived to be is to some extend more significant than who you actually are. Crafting this image and presenting yourself in the best possible light is the key to positive first impressions and to a solid reputation.

The hard part then becomes to differentiate your true self from the crafted image and realizing when this image crosses over from simply putting your best foot forward into promoting falsehoods.
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