18 August 2010

The Evil of Faux Virals

First things first: I don't believe the trick in this video is real.

For lots of reasons: perhaps the best being this:  if Federer missed, and clocked this fellow in the head (or in a misc. extremity), he and team of lawyers would certainly go to work relieving Mr. Federer of many of the $35 million dollars he's said to be worth.

Too risky.

As I post this, the YouTube posting has more than 700 thousand hits.  And the press, including the Toronto Star- and yes, your humble servant- are helping spread the virus.  CBC aired audio this morning.

Gillette isn't so brazen as to insist the 'trick shot' is real.  The backlash would be too mighty if and when the deception was exposed.  Instead the bask in the glow of owning the viral-clip-de-jour.

This is cynical.  The short-term gain Gillette enjoys comes at our expense- especially to those of us in marketing.  It adds more erosion to the trust audiences have for what they see, and the stories they're told.

It another cry of 'wolf'.  It shouts 'fire' in the crowded movie theatre, then titters at the reaction.  A selfish act that adds another smidge of erosion people's trust.in what they see, hear and experience.

Time to start visualizing a world where people believe nothing. To the fading, echoed voice of Bill Bernbach, who said:

"All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgerize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level."

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