There’s a breaking story in Moncton today about a street preacher who was mildly assaulted by a municipal employee at the city’s farmers’ market on the weekend. Here is the newspaper account, but more importantly, here is a video of the event that was posted on YouTube. If it weren’t for the online video, there wouldn’t even be a story.
[UPDATE: The video has been taken down by the poster, perhaps because it is potential evidence in a potential lawsuit he may or may not be pursuing against the city. Since you can no longer view the “assault,” I’ll describe it as a belly bump just enough to knock the recipient back about half a meter.]
It used to be that for the public to see a controversial video, it had to be Rodney King-esque in its atrocity. Only then would a network run it. Now, everyone is a network, and can broadcast any video they want with a couple of mouse clicks. Everyone is also a videographer, now that most people carry video cameras (disguised as phones) with them wherever they go. Because of those converging phenomena, this dude in red will probably lose his job over a belly-bump.
What does this tell us as marketers? That you can’t screw up and sweep it under the rug anymore. We are entering an age when any action might be recorded and retold to the world. So we have to act as if every action IS being recorded, and may be retold to the world.
I think this is a good development, because it should nudge us further along the deception <–> integrity continuum, and make marketing less about fooling people and more about helping them.