January 29, 2009

Truth Can Hurt. Truth Can Help.

When I tell any truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.
William Blake

If you have ever been in a marketing meeting where it’s clear no one is going to step out or tell the client the truth, you have experienced the true magic of covertis buttas.

Yes, it stings and sometimes we don't want to hear it. We are human after all. Respect and decorum need not leave the room.

Truth is a great flirt.
Franz Liszt

During my years in radio, I used to laugh whenever an announcer would come in to my office to discuss a listener complaint. Sometimes it was warranted, sometimes not. But one email or call would set the announcer on to a tirade about this person’s ability to make such comments. They didn’t know what they were talking about!

Reverse the listener comment and the reaction was very different.

Negative comment + one person = dismissed.
Positive comment + one person = positive audience feedback.

Truth is rarely writ in ink; it lives in nature.
Martin H. Fischer

Okay, I admit it I watch American Idol. There, glad that’s out in the open. What I find fascinating about it is the number of people who truly think they have a shot at winning it all. Really?

But that is the exact reason viewers are engaged. It is our attraction to the proverbial car wreck. It makes more interesting television than showing a stream of talented performers. That would be boring. That would not hold your attention. And most of all, it would not create the viral conversation.

There is no truth. There is only perception.
Gustave Flaubert

Simon Cowell is the bad guy, the one judge who isn’t afraid to tell the truth. Sure, he can be mean but the entertainment business is fraught with mean. I don’t necessarily agree with his deep personal digs, but say it with me - that makes better television. If Simon was not on the program, and all they did was show talented people in auditions, American Idol would not be as successful as it is.

American Idol is not high art and that's not the point of the show.

If a thousand old beliefs were ruined in our march to truth we must still march on.
-Stopford Brooke

One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was consulting media full-time was from a colleague who had been doing it a lot longer than me. He said when you speak with clients and potential clients, it’s important to remember that (and I quote) “No one wants to hear they have an ugly baby.” Two words: Seinfeld episode. Two more: great advice.

Of course you would never say something detrimental toward someone’s looks that is just mean, but if a company is heading for the rocks and you have a legitimate way to help them, is it best to avoid offending someone or speaking up?

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and truth rewarded me.
Simone de Beauvoir

If people stopped believing false promises, companies would be forced to stop using them as tactics to grow their customer base.

Would you be shocked if I told you that the laundry detergent will not make your shirts smell like a mountain stream or that the face cream will not make you look like a famous movie star? Some people must believe these claims, companies keep making them.

As the world struggles through an historic time in our ecomonic history, perhaps tellin' people the truth may be the way to go? Just sayin'.

Truth is after all a moving target.
Hairs to split. And pieces that don't fit.
How can anybody be enlightened?
Truth is after all so poorly lit.
Neil Peart


Jack Nicholson: A Few Good Men (1992)
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