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January 18th, 2013


By all accounts, liars are having a banner week. From Lance Armstrong finally spilling his guts to Oprah that he’s been on far more than just his ten speed, to Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and his super-confusing maybe real, maybe fake, maybe dead, maybe never-alive-in-the-first-place girlfriend saga.

Well, here in the advertising world, we’re no strangers to lies. Heck, in the public’s eye, when it comes to trustworthiness, the honesty of ad wizards ranks somewhere between the wunderkind Congressmen who nearly shut down the government and the wunderkind stockbrokers who nearly shut down the economy.

And what’s ironic about that is our firm belief that the best advertising is based in human truth. Right, advertising titan Bill Bernbach?

“The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

All of which means that your consumer (using a highly-sophisticated technology known as a B.S. Meter™) might be a little hesitant to believe a slightly-revisionist anti-obesity stance from a soft drink company…and can intuitively detect a bigger exaggeration—like when a foot-long comes up a few inches too short.

So, whether you’re just a guy trying to ride a bike really fast or are trying to sell the idea of healthy cigarettes, telling the truth can save you a lot of heartache and pain.

But if you are going to stretch the truth, at least make it of the enjoyable bad lip reading variety.