The news has had a rough year. With some very influential people insisting that many stories in the mainstream press simply aren’t true. Which sounds familiar. We in advertising have been saddled with a reputation as untruth tellers for decades.

So, to determine if advertising is #FakeNews, it really depends what you mean by “advertising.” And “news.” Because both words have broad meaning. For example, both journalists and editorialists fall under the umbrella of “news,” but do vastly different things.

Journalists are trained to deliver factual information about exactly what happened in a particular point in time without bias (“Local Puppy Commandeers Boat”).

Whereas, editorialists interpret what happened based on their personal opinion (“Local Puppy Commandeered a Boat Because He’s an Entitled Millennial”).

Despite the very different difference, people often confuse journalists for editorialists and vice versa. And then, before you know it, the news is #fake.

Similarly, well-meaning advertisers frequently get lumped into the same category as hucksters and liars.

On our best days, we help brands connect with people by telling honest stories about our shared human experience.

At our worst, certain members of our profession use underhanded tactics to convince people to do things that are against their best interest like, say, smoking cigarettes.

Sure, both are advertising. But that broad label is where the similarity ends.

So, is advertising #FakeNews? No more than a journalist is an editorialist. But if you’re still having a hard time seeing the difference, there’s an entitled, boat-stealing, millennial puppy I’d like to introduce you to.

Have a #ReallySuper weekend, everyone!

 – Your always truthful friends at Brokaw.


Mark has a master’s degree in journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. And a bachelor’s in Street Smarts from the School of Hard Knocks.

Is Advertising #FakeNews? Depends what you mean by “advertising.” And “news.”

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