Posts tagged “inauthenticity”

Inauthentic customer stories

We received a pamphlet from RIMADYL, a doggie painkiller. It included this lovely testimonial from “Ronnie Beck.”

I could almost track my transitions from belief to disbelief to appalled as I read it. What on earth is going on in that company that anyone thinks that this blatant lie is acceptable? Among the pictures of happy canines frolicking in park is this pile of poop. Egregiously bad corporate communications.

Also see On Authenticity, published in interactions back in 2009.

Forever in authentic blue jeans

Intersting recent ad for Lucky Jeans

Two details of the ad:

I am impressed how the overall aesthetic of the ad just oozes authenticity. There’s real craft and attention to detail, leading to a strong sense of quality. But all these details they are calling out are examples of manufactured fakery: making new jeans look like worn jeans. They’ve taken inauthenticity to such a level of quality that it becomes authentic in its own way!

For more on this theme, see my recent interactions column with Stokes Jones, On Authenticity

Meet The New Authenticity

I’m a believer in the power of authenticity (as well as the greater power of inauthenticity). Fake blogs (aka flogs) were a bit of a scandal recently. Predictions for 2007 are focusing on this as well.

Companies not acting in an authentic and honest way will be subject to the wrath of the newfound consumer voice.

The buzzword for 2007 will be authenticity and it will become a driving force for businesses.

But what is authentic? What is inauthentic? The eye of the beholder makes the final determination.

Here’s a story: we were doing in-home interviews last month, getting reactions to product packages in order to understand the important visual elements and cues (in order to inform an upcoming redesign). One package had a label with a jagged edge, meant to suggest torn paper. It didn’t look like real torn paper, it looked like a manufactured torn edge. Some people really liked it, but one person called it as unacceptably fake. He pointed to another packaging label that he had purchased, as this one had a more realistic-looking torn edge, where the paper was frayed and small threads and fibers were visible.

He was very clear that both of these edge treatments were done by machine; that no paper was torn by hand. The vernacular of the jagged paper was completely unacceptable. The more realistic (as he imagined it) frayed edge was the right way to do it.

It’s a bit of a post-modern take on authenticity, where it’s more of aesthetic that supports suspension-of-disbelief, rather than some extremely absolutely True and Real version. What does the way it looks let me comfortably accept into my reality?

How do you know what is authentic? How do you know that what you are creating or selling is authentic?


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