Author ‘tells the truth’ in advertising

By Nicole Cortese and Megan Witos

Jonathan Salem Baskin discusses the importance and benefits of telling the truth in advertising and marketing on Tuesday.

Truth:  Children are taught it,  relationships can’t survive without it, courts of law depend upon it but many corporations and brands worldwide lack it.

Jonathan Salem Baskin made an appearance at Rider and spoke to students on Tuesday in the Science building about his book, Tell the Truth, and how telling the truth in advertising is beneficial in the professional world.

Advertising Professor Dr. Michelle Amazeen and the Marketing Advertising Student Association (MASA) collaborated on bringing Baskin to Rider.

“Jonathan is a contact of mine who I thought had a message that would resonate with Rider students,” Amazeen said.

Baskin engaged the crowded lecture room, speaking about marketing and advertising issues.

He addressed the crowd, proposing two questions.

“First, how many of you think that brands should be honest and truthful in their markets?” Baskin said. “Second, how many people think that they actually are?”

For Tell the Truth, he and his co-author Sue Unerman intensely researched many companies and used a point system to rank each brand to see how long it took for an advertisement to get to the point. They found that some of the most effective advertisements came from 24 Hour Fitness, Tums, Kraft’s Stove Top and Green Works.

“Brands that actually engage consumers on stuff that they know something about and use those opinions to do things that actually change the business are viewed as far more truthful,” Baskin said.

This message resonated with many students, even those outside the School of Business Administration.

“I actually enjoyed it, not being a business major, it was really interesting,” Ashley Levins, junior psychology major said.“The thought process behind telling the truth and how it sells was really interesting to me.”

Baskin is an accomplished professional who has a degree in English literature from Colby College, is an author of four books, has worked firsthand with world-class brands such as Apple and Blockbuster, writes a biweekly column on leadership for Advertising Age, occasionally contributes to Forbes and writes daily tidbits of social history at Histories of Social Media, as well as many other achievements.

Students found him informative and enthusiastic.

“I thought he was a great presenter. He was energetic and very passionate,” senior marketing and advertising major Bryan Griffith said.

Rachel Guida, MASA president, expressed her gratitude toward having Baskin lecture at Rider as a favor.

“I guess he felt passionate toward helping MASA in the process of engaging our peer-to-peer learning experience, and I truly believe that he felt that it was important to share his experiences and also tell us about telling the truth in the way we do advertising,” Guida said. “And for free, because clubs like MASA could never afford a speaker like him, but as we the executive board can agree, we as a club needed him to speak. So we are really happy that he did and we feel that our peers were too.”

Baskin’s last piece of advice for students is to ask for truth from brands and companies by any means possible.

“Just start tweeting about truth,” Baskin said. “When advertisers and marketers don’t give you enough truth, ask for more. It’s not about finding falsehood or lying— it’s simply asking for truth.”

Baskin also explained what he hoped to accomplish after coming to Rider.

“I’m trying to change the way marketing and branding gets done in the world,” he said. “If these ideas, which I know are right, can percolate and reappear in people’s careers, that to me will be my greatest reward. I want to make a difference that way.”
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Printed in the 11/16/12 edition

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