‘Advertising can’t bullshit anyone anymore’ is the opening statement of the documentary The Naked Brand. Who says so, an outside critic? Well, no, it’s the former CMO of Virgin America. Consumers can easily browse through heaps of previously inaccessible information, causing the need for new branding strategies. The Naked Brand, on view tomorrow (May 8th) in De Balie during the What Design Can Do Film Festival, explores where to begin.

By Rozemarijn Koopmans

Back in the day (which is really not that long ago), companies would hire an advertising agency to bring a message across. These messages would very rarely display a ‘truthful’ mission statement, as consumers had not yet become very critical and wealth was increasing fast. But today, ‘everything is about trust’. And ‘trust’ has turned the word ‘advertising’ into an ambiguous term.

You’ve probably seen it on the Facebook pages of (large) companies: consumers post a complaint, and get immediate help from the company’s customer service. We post, tweet and (re-)share our consumer experiences on a regular basis, and use the experiences of others before we decide to buy something ourselves. There’s no extra layer present any longer. We can’t just only review the quality of the products we’ve acquired; we can also expose the unethical behavior of the companies behind these products.

How do brands handle the rise of the consumer class, while there are still so many crappy products out there? Does the current situation really raise the bar for companies to deliver better service? And has advertisement really changed? Every commercial broadcaster still interrupts its programs about every fifteen minutes, and our spam folders are as full as ever.

According to The Naked Brand, the average human being is exposed to approximately 5000 marketing messages per day. These messages are not so straightforward as brands have become a collection of experiences that build its reputation from the bottom up. So with all this transparency, how is a scandal like Bangladesh’s factory collapse (or horse meat disguised as beef) still possible? How can we ‘vote with our dollars’?

What The Naked Brand detects is that we’re not really looking for a perfect story, but rather for a clear and honest story. It shows example after example where companies who are open about their ways – which is not the same as delivering flawless and sustainable objects or services – make more profit than the ones that don’t. The documentary manifests how taking small steps (or creating ‘moments between moments’) change organizations and the way they deliver customer experiences. The Naked Brand therefore functions as the ultimate commercial for companies to truly adopt a transparent policy in all fragments of their business.

The Naked Brand
8 May 2014, 21:15h.

De Balie
Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10
020 5535100

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