Post truth. Fake news. Alternative facts. Has lying become mainstream? Or are we just witnessing the creation of a new lexicon to describe the multifarious ways we have always used to interpret (and manipulate!) facts to suit our own purposes.
The onset of social media heralded what we used to call a ‘new age of authenticity’. Brands could no longer pull the wool over consumers’ eyes; tell a falsehood and you’d be found out – your social consumers would hold you to account through FB and Twitter. Reputations could be made (and wrecked) at the click of a button.
Brands now are facing an army of social challengers positively keeping them in check, as well as a band of social manipulators happy to sow seeds of dubious and damaging information. And some brands, politicians and lobby groups are giving as good as they get: who can forget the Brexit bus slogan “We’ll send £350m a week to the NHS instead”, discredited and abandoned without so much as a hint of shame?
Is Adam Curtis’ thesis around ‘HyperNormalisation’ (available to view on the BBC iPlayer) right? That governments, financiers and technological utopians have given up on the complex “real world” and built a simple “fake world”? And what does this mean for brands and their relationship with consumers?
What’s next, Misleading reality? Accurate falsehoods? As they say, the truth will out…