Gen Z schools America once again. Twenty-three-year old Peter McIndoe from Memphis started a movement that went viral: Birds Aren’t Real. The movement propagated a conspiracy theory that the US government replaced all birds with drones sent to spy on its citizens. The movement drew thousands of followers, including 75,000 on Twitter, 363,000 on Instagram, and 636,000 on TikTok. The catch is that none of these followers actually believe in the conspiracy. As reported by The New York Times, Peter McIndoe said, “It basically became an experiment in misinformation. We were able to construct an entirely fictional world that was reported on as fact by local media and questioned by members of the public.” Gen Z’s parody sheds light on the conspiracies and misinformation that prevail across the internet.
B2C marketers fund the misinformation industry
Comscore and NewsGuard conducted a study that revealed that top brands spent USD2.6 billion on misinformation websites via programmatic media. This investment, albeit unintentional, is substantial. B2C marketers are operating in a misinformation age in which:
Brands must clean up their media plans to dismantle misinformation
The onus lies with brands taking responsibility for their ad placements. IPG Mediabrands recently announced a partnership with NewsGuard to create a tool that evaluates and rates broadcast and cable news programs before you buy them. The goal is to give media planners greater insight into how trustworthy the content is while they plan, before they make an investment. Omnicom and Publicis also incorporate NewsGuard tools into their media planning process. When considering measures to avoid appearing within “misinformation media,” B2C marketers should:
The original article by Kelsey Chickering, Forrester's principal analyst, is here.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto/Nadezhda Kurbatova