A Simple (But Hard) Truth That Will Change Your Marketing Forever

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It’s about something more than authenticity.

It is, somewhat, amazing that we live in a day and age when people talk about brands and authenticity like it is some kind of given. Just because brands have been forced to engage with consumers in a much quicker and more transparent fashion, it doesn’t make them any more authentic. It just means that they are being public with the speed in which they connect. That’s it. Few brands are truly authentic. Care to debate that issue? Turn on the TV tonight and just watch the commercials. Take note of the ones that are truly authentic. The ones that aren’t just authentic, but telling a real and true story.

How did these ads score?

Watch this video from the Fast Company article titled, Ricky Gervais Tells A Story About How He Learned To Write:

How many stories does your brand tell?

It’s interesting how marketers make an assumption that consumers don’t want a real story. Consumers want to be faced with suspended disbelief. They want to think that what they’re buying will change their lives. Make them better. Whatever. Think about the advertising that moved you. Truly moved you. What was it all about? Ricky Gervais isn’t saying something new that none of us haven’t heard before. He’s telling us something we all know, with a fresh perspective. When marketers create a story, people can feel it. When marketers tell a story, because it’s something that happened in the real world, that is personal or that is identifiable as something pure, real and honest, it can move mountains. Brands can do this. Marketers should be able to master this.

I wish more brands and advertising professionals created their ads the same way that Ricky Gervais writes a story.


  1. Mitch – great post. I just tweeted this exact point yesterday! Tell stories, not lies.
    Thanks for expanding on my tweet.

  2. When I first started performing improv, I thought it was about being funny. It took me almost a year to learn that it is about being truthful, and committing to that truth.

  3. That is so true! I worked in international advertising for many years. We created images and worlds that seemed appealing to the consumer – authenticity was not the driving force. Instead we were looking for strong consumer insights which helped us to talk to the mind and the heart of the consumer. We created worlds and images that seemed appealing to the consumer. There was a trend coming up that basically worked on the basic idea of reality shows.Let’s catch the consumer in the street, find situations that are unscripted and create a real life situation. These concepts worked very well and increased sales significantly. They were not necessarily beautiful but real. I am writing in my blog and also my book about authenticity and wonder why so many people try to avoid it.

  4. Be honest. Be real. Be yourself. My mantra in life and as a content marketer.
    I cannot stress how pumped I was to read your post on authenticity Mitch. I also believe that a brand can move mountains by creating real stories because real stories are what tap into our emotional core, unite us and strengthen our humanity.
    That and opposable thumbs, of course.

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