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How smart are people, really? - Input Junkie
February 5th, 2014
02:14 pm

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How smart are people, really?
zoethe wrote a plausible, vivid piece about the Coke ad executives celebrating because their Superbowl ad received nitwitted jingoistic, attacks, thereby gaining much more publicity and enthusiasm than just having a minute at the Superbowl gets you.

It's a sad thing, but my years online have made me a more cynical person in many directions. One is reading about Tetlock's research on prediction-- people (or at least pundits) are dishearteningly bad at prediction. And you might say.... well, that's just pundits. And the people who publish them. And the people who read the pundits, and don't seem to notice the mistakes. Maybe there are experts somewhere.

It seems to me that people in charge seem to get surprised by events rather a lot, but maybe the smoothly competent ones don't get noticed as much. Any nominations?

So, it's possible the Coke ad execs knew exactly what they were doing, but I'm not going to call it likely. Maybe some memos will turn up. I feel confident predicting more data leaks, though not any particular data leak.

I'm not sure how much of a risk Coke took, though I think the response to the criticism of the ad suggests we're at a cultural tipping point, or possibly that the efforts to make the US a lot more xenophobic weren't that successful.

Predicting a changed past is even harder than predicting the future, but at least you can't be proven wrong. I find it hard to believe that many people would have found that commercial offensive till maybe the nineties, but I could be naive about that. What do you think?

I've heard that Coke is the preferred drink of Boomers, while younger people prefer Pepsi-- if true, then Coke may have taken a bit more of a risk than theferrett thinks.

And finally, if criticism was a crucial part of the Coke's advertising plan, would they have left it to the mere voluntary action of human beings? I think not. Here I am, making a prediction, but I think they would have used fake trolls.

The argument against this (though perhaps it's just Coke ad execs are more proactive) is that the inclusive ads in general weren't attacked enough to get attention. Maybe next time.

Conspiracy theories are consoling because they leave you with the feeling that someone knows what they're doing, and you're smart enough to figure it out. This doesn't mean all conspiracy theories are false, though.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1033265.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:madfilkentist
Date:February 5th, 2014 09:08 pm (UTC)
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Is there a way to find the earliest occurrences of a Twitter hashtag on a particular day? Checking out where the first #speakamerican tweets came from and how things unfolded might tell us something.

My impression is that the number of trolls that started the thing was tiny. I've seen just one complaint by an identifiable person about the ad; that was by ex-Congressman Allen West. But it could easily be news sites stirring up news out of nothing, without Coca-Cola's invovement, or just the kind of panic that regularly sweeps over Twitter.
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From:harvey_rrit
Date:February 5th, 2014 09:40 pm (UTC)
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The thing that gets on my nose hairs about conspiracy theories is that they never consider that huge numbers of people are likely to do the same thing for the same reason without consultation.

If this omission of thought were applied only slightly more often, we would be seeing insightful pieces on 60 Minutes revealing the latest shameful move by the International Chocolate Cartel.
From:paulshandy
Date:February 8th, 2014 03:02 am (UTC)
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Like when H. Clinton said there was a conspiracy against her husband. I thought to myself, when sharks smell blood, no one has to ring the dinner bell.
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From:harvey_rrit
Date:February 8th, 2014 03:08 am (UTC)
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Pshyeah. I suppose she had to say something to indicate she didn't already know he'd forcibly violated dozens of women more attractive than she'd ever been, but that was pretty lame, all right.

Of course, it did give the impression she was an oblivious nitwit.

On reflection, not bad at all.
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From:nancylebov
Date:February 8th, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC)
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Evidence that Clinton was raping a lot of women? I know of one accusation. So far as I know, Lewinsky went to a fair amount of trouble to seduce him.
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From:harvey_rrit
Date:February 8th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
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Um, well, there were all those women in Arkansas who tried to file charges against him and either dropped them or disappeared, but I got that from Wikipedia and it has been dropped into the memory hole since then.
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From:harvey_rrit
Date:February 8th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
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And why ask? Nobody listens. It's not like I'm going to get results. Any results.

UNLESS YOU'RE A SUPPORTER OF THE CHOCOLATE INDUSTRY TRYING TO DISCREDIT ME!
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From:marycatelli
Date:February 5th, 2014 09:43 pm (UTC)
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Did you notice how soon after the ad ran that the newstories appeared?

They were already written before it did, because they just knew what those rubes would think.
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From:vvalkyri
Date:February 6th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
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Tell us more of this newspaper ad?
From:paulshandy
Date:February 8th, 2014 03:01 am (UTC)
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I doubt Coke knew how much blowback there would be, but I still appreciate their effort in looking at the brighter side of America.
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