Is a company employee really more believable than a celebrity?

Posted on Tue Apr 21 2009

There's some poor bastard who's thrilled to still have a job talking earnestly about the great things his company does. Should I believe him? Marketers like Honda, ExxonMobil, Ford, Verizon Wireless and Nationwide Insurance think so, having put their employees instead of actors or celebrities in some of their recent ads. The point would be to humanize the place in a time of major distrust of big business. Show some regular folks, look trustworthy, cultivate goodwill. I get it. I'm just not buying it.
  Maybe it's because, under the current conditions, these campaigns remind me of proof-of-life videos sent from a kidnapper. They're also kissing cousins of the testimonial ad, which has always been suspect in my book. Except, of course, when I wanted to do one myself. It was the day I walked into my skanky boxing gym and caught the usual scents wafting my way—fear, saliva, dirty socks and something new, which turned out to be various Axe products. They stank good! Thanks, Unilever, and let me know if you need a talking head. People might just believe me. After all, I don't work there.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley


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