Has the “transparency craze” killed marketing?

89304057 One of my favorite TV commercials right now is for Chef Boyardee Ravioli.  The family is sitting around the kitchen island, and the kid is happily eating his ravioli.  The dad is reading the can and marveling that the ravioli actually is jam-packed with healthy ingredients.  

As he tries to tell his wife this good news, demonstrating their tag line, "Obviously delicious, secretly nutritious" she keeps banging the hanging pots and pans with her wooden spoon, clearly not wanting the child to hear that the ravioli is good for him.  (view the spot by clicking here)

The spot cracks me up.  I laugh or at least grin every time I see it.  And, I now know their tagline.  But not once…I swear to you, not once did I actually think that they were a family.  I knew they were actors.  But the spot still worked.

Remember Madge?  She wasn't really a manicurist.  How about Mr. Whipple?  He didn't really work at a grocery store.

So flash forward to 2010.  Best selling author Jennifer Belle launches a new book and she wants to create some buzz.  Authors understand that unless they're John Grisham, they need to take responsibility for a lot of their own marketing.  And Belle did.  She held auditions and hired 40 actresses to situate themselves all over New York City's high traffic areas and "read" her book, laughing hysterically.

This story hit the New York Post and the commenters were, for the most part, aghast and declared with indignation that they'd never buy her book now.  Because she was, in essence, faking it.

So I'm curious about your take on this.  Isn't much of traditional advertising "faking it" with actors?  Do you think we tolerate it because we know it's fake whereas a woman on a subway laughing is in essence tricking us?

Do you think Belle's stunt was brilliant marketing or trickery?  Would hearing this story impact your interest in her new book?

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