Now there’s a fact. Probably no one has said “check your sources” quite this persuasively. But we’re talking advertising here – what could go wrong? Well…
Research and fact-checking are thoroughly entrenched for journalists. The German weekly Der Spiegel is reported to have 80 full-time fact checkers. And without its own staff of scrutinizers, one of New York’s most esteemed magazines would have gone to print referring to “islands off the coast of Switzerland.”
We marketers have to do our own careful treading. Advertising lore is teeming with avoidable gaffes: The deli that touted its hams as perfect for Hanukkah … GM’s introduction of Nova in Mexico where it translated as “it won’t go” … the recent University of Maryland poll showing that 91% of voters believe they were given false or misleading information during the 2010 political campaign (even fact-checking might not have helped there) … and you can’t wait for the ad goofs on Jay Leno’s Headlines, can you?
Whether offering up performance claims, nutrition facts or credible (and translatable) product names, agency creatives cannot sidestep verifying sources, doing and re-doing the math and looking under every cultural or linguistic rock. First, carelessness reflects on the client whose name is on the ad or all over the direct mail piece. And secondly, it reflects on the agency when that client expresses justifiable displeasure.
As marketers, we have to live by the facts and check our sources. Before we drink the kool-aid.