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Catfishing

Blog

Catfishing

15 February, 2024

In 2010, Nev Schulman, a 26-year-old American, met and fell in love with a woman he met online. A documentary made by his friends followed his journey, which included a plot twist when it turned out the person he thought he was connecting with wasn’t exactly who they said they were.

That documentary was called Catfish. It spawned a TV show and an everyday phrase synonymous with people or organisations pretending to be something they are not.

14 years later, it’s on the rise thanks to AI, which, in turn, will dial up levels of distrust.

Of course, marketing has been doing this kind of thing indirectly for years. Spin and PR allowed us to say what we wanted about our business. That was until internet reviews and the right to reply made it easy for people to question things.

But companies still do it. One of my ongoing frustrations is when I look for a local service in Google only to find a company running an ad where they are in a completely different location.

One good thing is that your service levels and product quality are now integral to your marketing proposition. You can’t simply varnish a turd; the truth will out.

This makes it ever more important to be the right thing for the right person at the right time. The more generic you try to be, and the more you try to please everyone, the more you will get lost.

Last week, I was involved in a presentation with a law firm. After the official stuff, we went for lunch and had quite a long and serious conversation about Marmite. (Come on, you know that sort of chat happens in the real world.) One person questioned the logic of the ad campaign that said you either “love it, or hate it”, with the reasoning that you are discounting 50% of the population immediately.

But why pretend to be something someone might like or may never like and ignore your passionate fans?

Far too many companies chase that next deal, even if it’s not the right fit. Me; I would say getting rid of 50% of the market is only the first step, even if I am a Tesco Yeast Extra man.

Something to wonder about this weekend.

#weekendwonder

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