Matter of fact – The viral nature of authenticity

News, views & trends from across the spectrum.

Ahmad Itani is a passionate educator and entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of public relations consultancy Cicero & Bernay.

History books are rife with events that changed the course of the world, and while we believed that the digital revolution was the game changer of our generation, Covid-19 had a whole other perspective to offer. This led to stricter measures to reduce the visibility of fake news and misinformation that were endemic of the fear and global panic the pandemic induced. We’re still implementing technology across sectors and advancing but it’s no longer the ‘sell, sell, sell’ approach that it usually utilised.

A great focus was placed on mental health this year, made evident through the nature of the thought leadership and crisis communication content as well as through the bolder CSR activities that were being presented. This resulted in an interesting uptick in brands using memes and nostalgic content to communicate because audiences want to engage with brands that offer genuine value as opposed to aggressive sales tactics.


Popping the lid on Mental Health

In a progressive move of support of Movember, which aims to raise awareness of men’s mental health, Pringles has revealed a shaved down version of its recognisable mascot. This is the first time since the company’s launch in 1968 that Mr. Pringle has appeared as such. Mental health is important, and it is encouraging to see brands with strong market presence embrace the cause as boldly.


Burgers are king

The lockdown hit brick-and-mortar the hardest, especially restaurants. While Burger King is not exactly a mom-and-pop shop, giving their primary competitor a shout out on social media, with employees at the heart of their intention was what this lockdown needed: wholesome love and an outreach of support that went viral for all the right reasons. A genuine PSA by Burger King? We hope so!




CTRL+C, CTRL+V isn’t the solution

Recently, influencers have become more selective about what they promote, in order to maintain authenticity towards their audience. It’s surprising that a celebrity with a wide reach, and who undoubtedly has a whole creative and digital support team behind her, would copy and paste a caption and instructions without a quick review. How do we know what’s authentic anymore?