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When brand trust backfires

As one thinking about ‘brand trust’ a lot at the moment I was glad to find a video by a major publisher on the subject. But, before two minutes were up, I was raging.

It all started so well

The first part of the Brand Trust video from Reach impressed. The initial messages are clear, interesting and well-presented. I loved the animation and the voiceover was bright, engaging and clearly audible, unlike so many explainer videos (well done that editor).

When Trust Falls Down from Reach Solutions on Vimeo.

The video—which exposes and criticises the effectiveness of advertising—is made by Reach Solutions (publishers of the Mirror, Daily Express, Star, Record and a host of big regional titles like the Bristol Post) and so feels rather brave and controversial. A publisher acknowledging brands’ over-reliance on a channel that is fading as a force... Quite something really, considering Reach websites literally burst with ads, some of which obliterate the news content.

Then the slip on the banana skin

But it all starts to go Pete Tong at about 1.38 when we are encouraged to ‘respond to the post-factual era with brand realism’. What does that mean? No idea, and the video offers no explanation.

Next up we’re exhorted to 'Prove a brand’s truth through anecdote telling instead of storytelling.' No. Just no. I’m not going to do that, because ANECDOTES ARE NOT AS EFFECTIVE AS STORYTELLING.

“An anecdote is something that happens. A story has a structure that makes it memorable. To be an effective communicator, you should stop telling anecdotes and start telling stories.”

(Nick Morgan, Forbes)

What pisses me off most is the way 'anecdote=good, storytelling=bad' is presented as if it were an established fact, when it’s an idea, and a shit one at that. But then we are in a Trumpian, 'post-factual era', so maybe that doesn’t matter. 

RELATED CONTENT: If you're looking for consumate storytelling from the big bad world of advertising, Don Draper is your man.  

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Tags: advertising, brand