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Telling the Truth and Other Insults

There are some insults you just can’t forget.

Soon after joining an agency some team members levelled criticism at me that still hurts 15+ years later: that I was too honest. Apparently telling the complete truth (is there any other type?) was a career limiting habit in agency land.

Fortunately, my apparent ‘aw shucks’ honesty has not held me back. That’s not to say that my peers were wrong. Perhaps I could have done that much better had I learned to embellish, gild the lily or been less intimate with the truth on occasion. Perhaps, but I don’t think so.Free Beer

Truth in advertising and marketing remains a contentious subject. Apparently the broader population has mistrust for the people and vehicles that bring them images and messages designed to get them to do things. My biggest bugbear is with the notion that we professional communicators can cajole and fool people into buying things they don’t want or need.

I actually think that the truth is pretty compelling. Our job is to illustrate and illuminate that truth.

Perhaps it’s politically incorrect to say this but if people are so easily duped into doing something that they don’t want to do, more fool them. Marketers and advertisers don’t have some magic dust that lures people into commercial slavery. Of course our job is to highlight the benefits the products and services we’re promoting have to offer you the customer. And then we need to emotionally engage. That’s it. That’s our supposedly insidious strategy exposed.

If you don’t want the rice cooker, don’t buy it. It really is up to you, not me.


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