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Where the truth lies: advertising's role in the rise of fake news

January 10, 2019 / David Johnston

Fake news isn’t just something that plagues politics and social media. Its poison has permeated communications, including design and advertising, for years and may even have originated there.
The “golden age” of advertising and design in the in the 1950 and 60s produced a lot of sparkling, glittery falsehoods that turned heads and opened wallets. I’m not quashing the quality of work in that period – look at the brilliance of Saul Bass, Paul Rand, and Robert Brownjohn it’s just that, in the rush towards creativity, honesty was often left for dust. Today’s trend towards “authenticity” marks a welcome u-turn on the long road towards showy, false marketing that the communications business was built on for so many years. In the backlash against fake news, fake followers and the “Insta-sham” life, brands are starting to look back to the days when advertising was about communicating the benefits of a product, with maybe ...