Ain’t It the Truth?

Viral marketing has exploded as of late thanks to advancements in new media technology that literally changes by the day.  More than ever, marketers can let consumers create the actual creative and come up with the next great idea to help push a product or brand to the next level.  It also adds authenticity to claims about products and acts as great testimonials when consumers are advocates. 

With all of this, it is still important for marketers to remember that, despite such innovative developments in media, the basics of truth in advertising still apply.  As set forth by the FTC, some of those basics include:

  • Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive;
  • Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
  • Advertisements cannot be unfair. 
  • If you’re way into regulations, you can read more here

    As short films and viral videos take off through sites like YouTube, it’s important for marketers to remain sane and not push envelopes too far when it comes to claims made by products and services.  Since anyone can produce anything these days and post it online with little more than a video camera and a free copy of Windows Moviemaker or similar software, there is no shortage of less-than-credible content out there.  Don’t let your product or brand fall into the trap of exaggerations or unbelievable claims just because a cool video can be created that offers some sweet technology that can manipulate reality. 

    This reminds me of the episode on Discovery a few weeks ago where the Mythbusters debunked online videos as being real or fake.  Astonishingly enough, all videos proved to be true, though some elements of what was presented needed modified to make them work.  Here’s a sample of a car that is lifted into the air by connecting a few fire hoses to it…pretty cool:

    While all vids were proven to be truthful, the fact that consumers are automatically skeptical enough of online video to allow Mythbusters to feature an entire hour-long episode about it provides insight into how consumers like to seek out information and then form their own opinions and thoughts.  As a marketer, keep it cool, cutting edge, relevant, but truthful when it comes to short films and viral campaigns.


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