Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Lies We Tell and The Ones We Believe

I just finished reading Seth Godin's new book "All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in A Low-Trust World." As in his previous books Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside, Godin is provocative. His notion, that at the core of successful marketing and great products, whether for drinks, cars or social movements is an authentic story that people connect with, internalize and repeat to their friends. Your belief that sitting in a coffee shop drinking an expensive variety of bean makes you more sophisticated and the way you deliver that message to friends and acquaintances reinforces and expands the story, making it more real in the process. Creating these stories is the real challenge as most of these messages are quickly forgotten.

Perhaps most interesting are the examples of deceptive lies. The stories that are truly inauthentic. Dave Lennox from Lennox air conditioners is not a fiction, he's jus been dead for several years -- the nice voice that answers the company's automated response system is an actor. I think it's the fact that so many stories in our world seem inauthentic that explains the popularity of observational humor and television show's like The Daily Show. People (I) find humor and connect with stories that poke at the inauthentic way people portray themselves in television media -- from the subjects of stories to the reporters and anchors themselves. I tell myself the "lie" in Godin speak that they I'm smarter than the news because of my ability to laugh it -- even if I don't go master the details and the nuance.

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