Chuck Porter thinks it’s time for marketers to tell the truth. Interviewed Wednesday at FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week by Globe and Mail marketing reporter Susan Krashinsky, Porter told the audience that “transparency is the new black,” an inevitable result of today’s information-hungry digital culture.
Porter, co-chair of CP+B and chief strategist at MDC Partners, said that because younger generations have such “unbelievable marketing filters,” consumers will continue to grow more immune to traditional advertising tactics.
The only way for brands to cut through that savvy judiciousness in order to reach them is to be more honest, he said.
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“Advertisers are going to have to find different ways to engage people rather than just yelling at them,” said Porter. “If you are honest up front, people will believe everything else you say.”
As an example, Krashinsky and Porter discussed the popular McDonald’s “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign, in which the fast food chain publicly answered questions submitted by consumers, even when those questions were unflattering. “You can’t lie anymore, because there’s the internet,” said Porter. “Companies cannot hide stuff. If Nike is building their shoes in Southeast Asia in sweatshops, people are going to find out. You really can’t bullshit people anymore…And then you get credit for not trying to fool people.”
He also noted that consumers are more saturated with advertising than ever before – a problem for brands not willing to step it up.
“There was a time when everything on earth didn’t have a logo,” he said. “Now it does. We’re in a culture where everything is branded… Maybe we’re raising a generation that’s okay with it, and maybe they understand that that’s what pays for a lot of what they do.”
According to Porter, creative evolution will be the key to reaching consumers who won’t be fooled. “Brands that are able to tell great stories can thrive,” he said. “But it’s much, much harder than it used to be.”