Blog 2 minute read
We've all seen the kiss cam fail video. The tiresome pre match NBA ritual – when couples caught on camera are expected to kiss – became worldwide news earlier this month.
One chap was so focused on his phone call he failed to realise that he and his girlfriend had been found by the all seeing eye. This was repeated several times with 'hilarious' consequences.
It was, of course, a put up job, presumably designed to add a bit of fun to the evening's proceedings in the arena. The video then went viral.
It reminded me of a technique I used to deploy in the 90s and noughties. Some people might call it deception but it could probably be reimagined and labelled 'Native Reality' or something equally crapulous.
I used to call it “The Man Who…”
The insight was that most editorial content is about human beings, so the task is to create stories about stuff that people do which incidentally – and helpfully – involves the client’s brand or service.
Since people are generally not very obliging when it comes to doing things that are both editorially interesting and happen to involve the client’s brand; one was obliged to intervene.
From my own back catalogue I can offer you the grocery store owner from Kilburn who decided to sell only tomato ketchup; then there was the street in south west London where the residents decided to turn their homes into Italian restaurants; and there was the man who sold a can of spaghetti on eBay for £750.
All flagrant put up jobs of course.
I don’t do it now. Not because I've redrawn my moral compass but simply because we’ve become too cynical and too knowing to fall for these things any more, even if they do get traction.
I can't imagine anyone on the face of the planet thought the 'kisscamgate' was authentic, but it was fun and no brand was harmed in the making of the video. People may have been deceived but they weren't manipulated.
I still see odd examples of the old trick slipping though the net. It's a dangerous game. Storytelling yes, but in an age when authenticity is a brand's most important asset, the time for fairy tales has passed.
Steve Marinker, MD, Havas PR
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