Monday is Columbus Day…commemorating the date that Christopher Columbus “discovered America”.
I’m sure the Native Americans, Joao Vaz Corte-Real, Leif Ericson, John Cabot, Amerigo Vespucci, and others would debate the validity of that claim. And yet if you ask any person on the street who discovered America, they will respond “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
It’s a lie that has become the truth. It’s a “public lie“. Something everyone knows, but is wrong.
There are lots of group lies that have some basis in truth…
–German Chocolate Cake is named for a man…not the country.
–Everyone didn’t drink the Kool-Aid at Jonestown…it was Flavor-Aid
–Fortune Cookies were invented in America…Chinese people have no idea what they are
–Not all animals went onto the ark in 2s…some went in 7s (the clean animals)
Once a public lie gets into the Collective’s head…nothing will change that perception…not even the truth. Just try to convince someone that Columbus didn’t discover America.
Public lies used to spread slowly. Now, they spread in hours in forwarded e-mail.
This is not such a big issue when dealing with German Chocolate Cake and Columbus, but it’s a big deal when marketing.
Look at comments on Amazon.com or TripAdvisor.com. Look at the blog killing of the Kryptonite Lock. The voice of the “crowd” is getting louder and the voice of the “marketing message” is getting dimmer.
And while there is wisdom in crowds, there is also downright stupidity. As a marketer, you MUST control where the crowd is going.
Think about that as you decorate you Columbus tree.