By fictionalized Associate Creative Director, Mark McKenzie

If you read this blog with any regularity, you’ve probably heard us ramble on (okay, preach) about the importance of being able to connect with consumers using human truths. Those little nuggets of insight that get people to say, “I’ve felt that,” “this feels familiar,” and finally, “I like this brand very much and would like to start a long term, more than friends relationship with it.”

But the, um, truth is, we live in an increasingly imaginative world. One where more than 33 million Americans play fantasy football: putting real money on fake teams, made of real players, to win real/fake championships. A world where we can debate whether Stephen Colbert, a former fake cable news pundit, can summon his real personality to helm a real network late-night talk show. (SPOILER: He can because he’s the best.)

Needless to say, our ancestors would be extremely confused. So how can a brand, living in this age of mild fraudulence, retain any semblance of real-itude (or at least virtual reality of the beach dancing variety)?


Consider the retail brand Target and the fake “Ask For Help” Facebook account. Set up by a real man using a real Target logo, it gave irreverently fake replies to real people complaining on Target’s real Facebook page about their new gender-neutral signage.

Or even The Onion, the satirical newspaper that creates fake news – which some people still think is very real. The Onion routinely gets real brands to sponsor real fake content for real consumers.

Maybe the only answer is to embrace the fake. Because fake is fun. And fake has value. Heck, even the real/fake lady who sits next to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis can get over 94 thousand Twitter followers (WARNING: NSFW).

Because the human truth is: we all kind of like living in a world with a little fake in it. Where Criss Angel can do actual magic. The ShamWow can take the place of 12 of your useless regular towels. And the World’s Most Interesting Man drinks Dos Equis when other drinks are unavailable.