Using poor quality as a mark of authenticity

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Note: This was previously published on Linkedin.

This pic keeps appearing in my Facebook feed. By reflex I always stop scrolling past commercials and already seen content, because it looks like it’s from someone I know.

That dude holding an Iphone could be anyone I know. He looks like just about the next person, just doing the not so glamorous stuff we all do. He is smiling, but it looks kind of half heartedly – as opposed to what most people in commercials do. 

But it’s in fact a sponsored post from an advertising site, using a pretty crappy pic. Which might be the reason I stop to read, my brain interprets it as a regular post, not one with a commercial message.

And I remember meeting Raja Sharif of AJ+ this autumn. He emphazised the usage of simple cameras and iphones to shoot video, because millenials  react negativ to all to polished content. Shakiness and poor quality are important marks of authenticity.

So, I react like the same way the kids do. Who wulda thunkit.

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  • This actually has a long history. From the ad business back in probably the eighties, I remember a study that showed that people payed more attention to a leaflet that seemed to be done on an inexpensive copy machine, with typewriter fonts, than to a glossy four-color brochure. The former was perceived as more genuine, more local and more credible.
    People are different, though; which was the reason that a direct mail-package used to include all the varieties: the glossy four-color thing, the seemingly hand-written note, the letter with Courier font. But also the activity thing: something you should tear open or peel off or scratch, like a lottery ticket.
    Different groups of people warmed to different parts. (And all this was of course well analyzed in teerms of returns and answers and buys.)

    But it’s interesting to see this ”intenional lower quality” in a digital environment, where everything tend to be both ”perfect” and rather uniform. Good catch!