Trend icon Faith Popcorn was quoted on NPR today saying that more than 65 percent of US adults do not believe corporations, putting their credibility rating just slightly higher than the Bush administration.
Today, as the markets stumble in an attempt to recover from what may be the worst downturn in 80 years, Popcorn pointed to Suze Orman as a source that the average person believes. She also noted that essentially, marketing is done for — today communication should be about transparency and truth.
Absolutely. And that is why social media is so important.
But here's my question: Where/when/how did we get into a situation where honesty was not considered the right business approach? When did marketing and advertising turn that corner (maybe Mad Men gives us a clue)? And why is so shocking that this "new" approach resonates more clearly?
My guess is that, until the Internet became mainstream, corporations simply could put out messages based on their version of the truth. That's not to say that all corporations or all advertising is based on lies, but I think we all understand that the truth is not always the "whole truth and nothing but the truth."
We in the advertising industry are now being held accountable in new ways by our new boss — consumers. My prediction: the agencies that survive will be the ones who understand the new paradigm. Let's hope we all make it.