1. I feel like my childhood is flashing before my eyes. In the past few weeks some major 80s icons have been in the news:
1. Ronald McDonald. Nothing says 2014 like cargo pants and tech vest. At least that what McDonald’s thinks. Because just like that he has been made over. And because he’s been made over he is suddenly hip…and what do you do when you’re hip? You get on social media, dude! Yep, Ronald McDonald will be featured more in McDonald’s social media strategy. (Personally I think they should’ve kept the clown the way he is and looked into bring back the Fry Guys.)
2. Smokey Bear. Speaking of getting hip, look who else is on social media – Smokey Bear! Mr. He-of-only-six-words (“Only you can prevent forest fires!”) is quite active on social media, even handing out fashion advice to Pharrell.
3. Tony the Tiger. Sadly Tony the Tiger lost his voice last week as one of the actors who supplied his voice (and has done so since 1999) passed away from esophageal cancer (he was 64).
So what does all of this mean? Well, for starters it means I’m old. Yea, when characters you loved or identified with growing up start to get ‘makeovers’ or die, you’re probably close to moving into another demographic.
In the case of Ronald McDonald and Smokey Bear it means that social media continues to become more mainstream. I struggle a bit as I don’t really want my kids to pursue social media any earlier than necessary but I can’t fault these brands for using this channel to try and reach them.
The cool thing about all of this is that these icons truly are timeless. Ronald McDonald has been around for 51 years; Smokey Bear for 70. Tony the Tiger debuted in 1951. (I keep trying to tell you guys that this marketing thing works…)
2. Reason number 4,934 you shouldn’t believe everything you read (or see). We’ve talked a lot about how social media has impacted the accuracy (or lack of it) in the news. Jimmy Kimmel did a great job of that when he punk’d all of us with his viral video (no one bothered to look up the woman in the video?).
Now we’re seeing that MSNBC punk’d us back in 2009 when it said Keith Todd had committed a crime that Todd Keith actually committed. Keith Todd had some personal damages as a result and ended up suing MSNBC (NBC Universal).
The sad part is there’s a good chance the majority of people who watched the original report will never read or see this. Is that their fault? Should we look up every news story we hear about, just to be our own fact checker? No, especially when you consider the news is supposed to check its own facts. But how many stories that we consume on a daily basis are 100% accurate? Think about it…and how would you know? The line between real and fabricated news is more blurred than ever, especially with news entertainment shows that cite social media. (So the fact that there is already an accepted ‘smudging’ of the truth doesn’t help.)
But this is news that involves the most basic of fact checks. And regardless if it’s new or old media channels, a basic level of accuracy has to be upheld. The truth (or the news) should never be arbitrary.