Fakin’ Bacon

Fake news and striking headlines may help a business gain followers and generate a buzz, but in today’s political and social landscape it may be more detrimental than profitable to your brand.

Did you hear the news? America’s bacon reserves have hit a 50-year low and pork belly prices have risen 20 percent in the first three weeks of 2017. Maybe you visited the site baconshortage.com or conferred with the USDA just to ease your anxiety after listening to the media (USA Today, NBC, CBS, and even Business Insider) report on this frightening forecast.

At the end of 2016, bacon reserves were a mere 17.8 million pounds, a decrease of 35 million pounds from 2015. Are you scared yet? Although frozen pork belly inventory is lower and its price has increased by 50 cents per pound, there is no shortage of bacon and the creation of the baconshortage website was touted as a marketing opportunity and it has since been taken down.

Although these tactics were lambasted as a stunt, the marketing tactic was clearly effective, having made national news by creating an Orson Welles-like momentary panic. With fake news and alternative facts crowding out facts and figures, these strategies may be more of a detriment to a brand.

People expect that when a post is made by a brand or its official channels, the news will be true. When building awareness and engagement for a brand Entrepreneur suggests basing your campaign in fact and creating fascinating ads based on those facts, not straying too far from who you are as a brand, or the cultural landscape.

Facebook and Google have got the message: Google removed 7 million false ads that were attempting to trick their detection system and Facebook is rolling out a pop-up notification informing users that independent fact-checkers have disputed the validity of some news stories to help quell the spread of misinformation.


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