Well, that sounds crazy.
Ads on TV are honest? Junk mail? Popups on my computer screen?
That’s one of the roles of the Federal Trade Commission in the USA. To make sure advertisers don’t lie about their products or services. And they’re pretty strict about it too.
Most western countries have equivalent organizations.
As marketers we’re not allowed to spread lies.
It’s a pity the media don’t have to follow the same rules.
Outside of libel law, news media companies have a lot more freedom. They can tell all kinds of lies. It’s a freedom of speech thing.
A newspaper or TV station is free to share and support any nonsense they want.
Heck, they can even tell you it’s a fact that the government is run by lizard people from outer space.
The media is barely constrained by law when it comes to telling the truth.
The same goes for politicians…
Imagine if there was a commission devoted to prosecuting politicians every time they told a lie.
North America and Europe would be jailing politicians by the bus load.
Left or right, it doesn’t seem to matter.
And what a shame about the Internet and social media.
I wrote my first website back in 1995.
That was a time of great optimism. We thought the web would herald the democratization of media.
We thought the good stuff and the honest stuff would rise to the surface, overwhelming the lies and deception of old-world media.
But we were wrong.
As just one example, the Internet Research Agency in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is a world-famous “troll factory”. They create thousands of fake social media accounts. They post comments to existing accounts. Their purpose is to stir up negative, divisive emotions in western countries.
This weaponization of the Internet is taking place around the world.
Most governments are guilty of this, to varying degrees.
They all use social media to spread lies as a means to create divisions and further their own agendas.
Thank goodness for honesty in advertising.
Like I said. Weird.
It’s crazy and deeply disturbing when marketers stand out as a shining light when it comes to honesty.
And truth be told, a lot of marketing skirts around the edges of honesty… playing around in the gray areas between truth and lies.
Read a few ads… watch a few TV commercials… and you’ll find plenty of exaggeration, misdirection and hyperbole.
Which is why I’m an advocate of Conversational Copywriting.
Conversational Copywriting is about being persuasive without all those half truths.
It’s about communicating with prospects and customers in ways that are honest, transparent and engaging.
It’s about tapping into the power of everyday, conversational language.
Which is why I’m devoting so much of my time to teaching the craft of conversational copywriting.
It feels good to be an advocate for honesty.