nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

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.

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