“Truth in advertising” is a well-known goal for those in the marketing businesses. Now, the venerable Oxford Dictionary has called out “post-truth” to be the “word of the year for 2016.” The term may be new, but the concept certainly isn’t.
Post-truth is an adjective “relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping opinion than emotional appeals.” Good grief. That has always been the case in appealing to consumer behavior. But, now we have a name for it. So, when marketers set forth compelling reasons for buying a product or service, the facts are nice, but what we already know is that, as consumers, we rely on personal beliefs, our feelings, more than facts we are fed.
Emotional appeals have long been the staple of world class advertisers for their brands. Because they work. “Don’t confuse me with the facts,” sounds like a laughable retort, but isn’t that just what is going on with the public psyche today? Smart marketing will shift emphasis to the emotional receptors, right after telling the truth.