Posted by: kpokrass | October 10, 2013

Is the Truth Always Interesting?

In this past Monday’s J621 class, Professor Donna Davis shared David Ogilvy’s quote “tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating.” Ogilvy, who is considered the father of advertising, is absolutely right. As communication professionals it’s our job to pinpoint interesting marketable aspects of items we are tasked with promoting.

But, what if the truth is not fascinating? This is a challenge that I know all marketing professionals have dealt with at one time or another. How do you market an item that is boring or over-complicated? As marketers, we all want the opportunity to market a product that is in-demand, relevant and user friendly. However, as we all know, this isn’t always the case.

If we accept Ogilvy’s challenge, we must sift through the truth and find relevant information that can be marketed as “interesting” to our target audience.  At times this can be challenging, as it is up to us to find context and relevancy. Ogilvy’s statement “making the truth fascinating” also transfers over to this blog.  As a new graduate student, right from the get-go we are inundated with knowledge from many different sources pushing different viewpoints. It’s up to us as critical thinkers and professionals to analyze and find an interesting element to blog about.

Is the truth always interesting? No. But, it’s up to us as communication professionals to make it so.

David-Ogilvy Quote



  1. This is very challenging! Sometimes the truth is fascinating, but yeah, sometimes not so much. I think about this frequently coming from an environmental nonprofit. Yes, the truth was interesting, but not usually attention grabbing. And it is hard to market the environment sometimes. It is hard to make it flashy and grab attention unless something awful is happening to it. And then after the awfulness is done, it is hard to convince people something should be done to make that awful thing not happen again. It is easy to call enviros doomsdayers and Luddites then so we don’t have to face the truth. I think focusing on stories of people can sometimes be a way through that. But I would like to develop other strategies too.

  2. I’ll take a little bit of a different spin on this. As a journalist, I was tasked many times with going out and writing feature stories on things I couldn’t really care less about (a story about new hair/beauty salon stands out), which were essentially free advertisements for new businesses in town.

    I loathed these assignments for too many reasons to list. Regardless, looking back on those stories now, I realized I had to dig deeper, be more imaginative and ask a lot more questions — essentially be a better reporter because I had almost no knowledge of the subject area. I figured if I was going to have to do write something like that, there was no choice but for me to attempt to make it the most interesting piece of writing I could because I was starting at ground zero and I didn’t want to be miserable at work. Were there embellishments in these stories? I think the subjects would say no because they really thought they were the world’s best hair/beauty people. To me, it was total embellishment because if they were truly as great as they claimed to be, they’d be working in Los Angeles or somewhere similar.

    Anyway, my goal for these stories was to try to make it as interesting as possible and try to grab the reader or demographic who would normally never read the story. Still, making it completely truthful and not over-embellishing was a really fine line to walk.

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