THE DRUM Rankin guest-edited issue : The world has gone nuts. From presidents to our friends on social media, everyone is lying about something, whether it’s about their tax returns or living an entirely fake life. It’s got to the point where we’re living in an age called ‘post-truth’. So, who is there to turn to for honesty? The public wants it (and needs it) more than ever, but who is going to step up to the plate and choose sides.
The Drum, one of the leading publications in marketing and advertising, invited RANKIN to guest-edit an issue. The issue he and his team chose to take a deep dive into was a question of honesty. The result is “Sell Me the Truth”. From fake news and whistle-blowers to big data and deep fakes, the climate crisis, and even responsible advertising, this provocative, exposing issue takes a long hard look at what we think we know and the advertising industry in a post truth era.
Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, Carole Cadwalladr, sits with Rankin for an exclusive interview and cover shoot, isn’t afraid to dig her claws into “crazy cat lady” smears by Brexiteer critics, and reveals her thoughts on truth, lies and data. Also photographed and in conversation with Rankin are Sir Martin Sorrell, who speaks candidly on the politics surrounding big data in advertising, Munroe Bergdorf, who shares her concerns about representation in the advertising industry, social media addiction and feeling trapped inside “a big invisible cage”. Also interviewed by Rankin is the provocative photographer Oliviero Toscani. The pursuit of honesty and general mistrust of big media is rife throughout the issue as Jonathan Freedland offers his opinion on how the near-future dystopia of a world ruled by tech might look; Matthew Todd bemoans “the never-ending gay parade of capitalism”. Alastair Campbell writes a think piece on the peddling of lies in the Brexit era, and Vice journalist Oobah Butler puts his viral marketing mastermind to the test with a game of Silicon Valley-inspired true or false.
Rankin : “There is no better place than The Drum to ignite this debate. I commend them for driving it. We live in strange times, and we are all worried. But what can we do? What is there to be done? How do we make a difference? These are just some of the questions we set out to prod, provoke and try to answer. Most of all, we wanted the issue to be hopeful and optimistic. It’s been a great issue to work on; heated debates, impassioned causes and the future of our industry, not to mention our planet!” Carole Cadwalladr in an interview with Rankin : “They go after me with these misogynistic smears, and I’ve got to own it. And it just feels really empowering, and I think there’s a real lesson in that. We have to turn their tools against them, we have to catch the grenade coming in and rip out the pin and throw it back at them.”
Sir Martin Sorrell in an interview with Rankin : “They claim to be forward-looking, but they’re really looking in the rear-view mirror. There are people who espouse creativity, but their definition of creativity is a 19th-century definition.”
Oliviero Toscani : “Many advertisers try to make the world more than what it is. They’re dealing with reality, but then they think that reality isn’t enough. They have to make it better, more special. They have to bring added value to reality. For me, this is something you don’t need to do. The added value is almost always fake.”
In a world run by the “male, pale, and stale”, there are, what seems like, endless problems without solutions. Every day, we’re fed another spoonful of bull and not sure what to do with it. But one thing is clear: The truth has never been needed more. Something must be done. A change must be made. And, it might just be down to the advertising industry to lead the way...