Should storytelling assume our taste for fake?


In a "post-truth" world that confuses Le Gorafi articles with reality, that worships Kim K.'s buttocks but sets authenticity as the highest value, can we still distinguish the real from the fake? Should storytellers and brands assume our taste for fake? Seenk deciphers the trend.

« Truth » is the word of the year for former FBI Director James Comey, who was removed from office by Trump in 2017. We live in a world where truth is no longer based on facts, but becomes malleable to one's beliefs. If I disagree, it's #fakenews.

Enveloping a disenchanted reality, we allow ourselves to be seduced by fiction

What if we don't look for what is true, but rather what validates our opinion? Everyone lives in their own bubble, and social networks validate our own opinions. And for good reason, the human brain is full of cognitive biases that encourage us to distort reality. We must therefore redouble our efforts if we do not want to be caught in the trap. But is fake more attractive than reality?

The reign of the image has transformed our criteria of choice

Reviews and consumer opinions are no longer enough, it is necessary that the hotel, the restaurant or its dish are Instagrammable. Result: the same photos on social networks. Same same, not different. Same fight on Airbnb. From Tokyo to Carcassonne, all the flats look the same to cater to a target group of travellers with ultra-normative tastes. The world we choose sounds false, but its conformity reassures us.

By augmenting reality, technology distorts its perception. Without concrete materiality, a text or an email seems less real than a verbal exchange. But behind the screen and our blinders, everything is more comfortable. We can play with our identity and multiply it: one that fits for each social network.

Very, very carefully crafted authenticity

To bring back meaning and respond to our insatiable thirst for authenticity, brands are taking care of their branding. The neo-roadside restaurants, and bouillons that are more pop than popular are flourishing. Causses brings the provincial market spirit back to Paris. The packaging is vintage and regressive... By dint of playing with the codes of the real thing, we enter a « hyperreality » where everything tries to sound even truer than the real thing.

Celebrities and influencers, led by Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus, have put down their most shocking weapons and donned the mask of truth and simplicity, but now only have nude make-up.

Faced with the dictatorship of perfection, flaws are experiencing a refreshing revival (Meetic, Diesel, Axe), women are posting a selfie fallen out of bed knowing that they are not Beyonce, lhe hashtags #nofilter and #nomakeup have 240 million and 17 million posts respectively.

For The Guardian, "the authentic is a value that is worked on, conscious, constructed, and therefore contradictory to what it promotes". We are not fooled.

For Suroosh Alvi, co-founder of Vice Media, millennials are "bullshit detectors". Rather than authenticity at all costs, brands should first be sincere.

"I know you know"

We know that on Instagram we show a distorted reflection of ourselves, perverted by the network's codes. The same goes for that benevolent posture and smirk on our LinkedIn photo. The trick is to be aware of the rules of the field we are playing on.

This is what Diesel is doing by creating a « fake store », and a real fake collection of clothes that blends in with the counterfeit items. The same goes for Gucci, which sells leather bananas, using imitations of the stalls in its own way, flirting with bad taste. In the end, it is irony and self-mockery that come out on top, and the assumed fake is presented as a new form of authenticity.

The young French designer Lisa Bouteldja dstirs up passions by playing with the figure of the beurette. Bordering on vulgarity, she fully embraces the clichés in order to better denounce them.

Se jouer du faux, c’est se montrer vrai

En s’adressant directement au spectateur dans À bout de souffle, Belmondo brise « le quatrième mur ». C’est ce clin d’œil qui change tout : il s’émancipe des grands principes de la fiction pour s’inviter dans notre réalité.

Lorsque Jim Carrey dans The Truman Show découvre qu’il vit dans le faux, c’est le drame. La téléréalité dépassait son personnage et la révélation envoie le film dans le pathos.

Pour ne pas être déçu de l’illusion, mieux vaut savoir que c’en est une. En essayant de faire passer le faux pour du vrai, les marques prennent le risque de nous décevoir. À l’inverse, un bon storyteller qui fait appel à notre intelligence et assume sincèrement son et notre côté fake, nous embarquera dans son récit, donc dans son produit.