The Gong

The mostly official blog of the Hodges Partnership.

Can you handle the truth?

February 17, 2010 | by Jon Newman

Truth. Honesty. Coming clean.They should be easy concepts to grasp especially in the world of public relations and marketing.  But if they are why are we always pleasantly surprised when companies or celebrities actually tell the truth?The latest case of this "pleasant surprise" comes from Domino's Pizza.  In its latest campaign it fesses up to losing touch with their customers and re-launching their core product with a new recipe and ingredients.  In the ads they show what unflattering things they said about their old product.  They had the courage to tell and show the truth publicly and the CEO of the company is featured telling us what they had done to make the change.Here's a great column in the subject in BusinessWeek that my business partner Josh handed to me yesterday.Isn't that refreshing?  It got us in the Newman household to give the new pizza a try.  You?Here's the four minute brand video behind the new campaign.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH5R56jILag]If only Tiger Woods or Toyota moved that truthfully or aggressively do you think either would be in quite the PR mess they are both in?  What if their first reaction was "we screwed up, we're working on it."Too many public entities react first with denial.  At THP, the first question we ask in a crisis or negative situation is "what's the truth and how can we communicate it?"  Anything less is a disservice to the client and the public it serves.In some cases the truth may be something like "this has just come to our attention and we're looking into it."  If that's the truth and genuine that's great.  It is such truth and transparency that has become even more important in the second by second world that social media has created.  Being genuine is not luxury in that world, it is expected and demanded.  People can smell a liar coming from miles away.My question here is what happens when the "truth" becomes a marketing ploy?  If Domino's breaks sales records because people react favorably to its new campaign, how many others will follow.Can Americans handle "the truth?"  I hope so, it would be very refreshing.

Picture of Jon Newman

Jon Newman

Jon worked on-air and in management at a number of radio and TV news organizations in New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia before joining The Martin Agency. He parlayed his media background into national media placements for countless clients, and that media relations focus is still a core competency at The Hodges Partnership. As the media landscape has changed, Jon’s focus now also includes social and digital media. Read all posts by Jon Newman »

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Comments

Picture of Kim

By Kim on February 18, 2010

You make a very valid point. Telling the truth is crucial if a company, product or brand has any hope of gaining the consumer’s trust.

Picture of wcoates

By wcoates on February 18, 2010

Did you guys like the “new” pizza? Tell the truth….

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