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How 'Sexy' Stories Trump the Real
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As a society, we naturally flock to stories that are weird, unusual, and conflicting. But what happens when those stories prove to be inaccurate? We can bring up the latest prediction for the end of the world for an example.

The "Mayan Prophecy" that the world would end on December 21, 2012 has been heralded as the most renowned prediction of modern times. Yes, even History Channel specials tied the Mayan Prophecy with that of Europe's Nostradamus, claiming that these two minds shared the same wavelength about the inevitable end of our species.

But experts in both Mayan culture and Mayan calendar agreed that those original interpretations by the Western World about the Mayan calendar were inaccurate. They've been saying so for decades.

But what is sexier: "The end of the world will be December 21, 2012."

Or

"The 13th baktun of the Mayan calendar turns over approximately on December 21, 2012, signaling the start of a new age."

Truth is boring.

As messengers, we all know this. So when our colleagues in the industry "spruce up" the truth — so people pay attention — we understand why they do this. The anti-advertisers and consumer groups want to believe that they exhibit all that is truth, but this public nonsense leads us to believe that truth only matters when it suits them.

Yes, anti-advertisers and consumer groups: "We're not so different, you and I." 

Unfortunately, there is bad advertising out there. But there is good, truthful advertising, too. In many cases, the bad outshines the good because truth (in some cases) provides an outline that the bad can readily ignore. It takes those who are targeted to stop listening to the stupid "sexy" stories and actually back up your "engaged and connected" talk and dig for truthful advertising.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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