What if an athlete pretended to be an orphan, talked about the challenges of growing up without parents, did a reality show built around their background as an orphan, but meantime, his/her parents, who raised them, were alive, well and helping to write the script?
What if an athlete were single, but presented himself/herself on social media as married with kids, hired people to fill those roles, and their entire network of fellow athletes/media personalities/sponsors thought there was no problem with it and helped him/her market this version of themselves? Did a lot of second hand image drops showing him/her enjoying vacations/events/outings with their "family"?
Is the reason we don't see more stunts like [Scott and Tessa's hoax] a matter of media self-policing, not broadcast rules and regulations? (Although after Scott and Tessa have normalized it, surely we'll see comparable situations going forward.) Suppose the tabloid media didn't follow the participants in a show like The Bachelor, didn't pay for dirt on the participants, didn't routinely uncover stories, background and other information that runs independently of ABC's narrative on the show. Would the ABC broadcast network have any problems casting a married or gay man as The Bachelor vis a vis a bunch of married or gay women, or women in committed, serious relationships as the candidates for the final rose, promoting them as single, available, and hoping to find love on the show? How come ABC doesn't do that if the absolute opposite of the truth is legitimate material for a reality program? I'm guessing if they did, it would fine with standards and practices, fine with the FTC, but they couldn't pull it off because they'd be exposed by the tabloids and the public would no longer buy into the show, and that's all. There's no regulation that says they can't do that, as long as it's produced by an entertainment division, and the fact that it's the entertainment division supersedes any marketing hocus pocus. Read the label people, and ignore the marketing.
Where is all of this Scott and Tessa lying as marketing leading?
When all of this gets imported to twitter and is combined with direct marketing of Lindt and pb chocolate milk, how okay is it?
It looks to me that Scott and Tessa exploit the cracks in the wall - working the fact that their chosen reps aren't familiar with figure skating, skating culture, or their past practices, that the media doesn't follow the sport or its personalities, or that Scott and Tessa have a habit of changing their stories.
When I've read reactions to Robin Williams' death, there was this article:
Social media cross-promotion
with this central observation:
I'm talking about a trend that's repeating itself whenever someone famous passes away, and it's one that's almost unique to big news websites. Namely: how can they turn the death of someone famous into as many mouse clicks and screen taps as possible? Within hours of Williams' death, the internet was awash with stories examining every possible angle, each vying for your attention. There's something deeply unsettling about it, yet it now appears to be The Way Things Are Done.*******
To put this into context: a man, who had been suffering (and that's exactly the word) from depression, one of the least understood illnesses on the planet, took his own life. He was 63, was survived by a wife and three children, all of whom were left trying to put the pieces of their lives back together. They were greeted by stories looking at any possible angle from which to get traffic to a website.Shit, Ford Motor Company piggybacked. Disney did too.
This trend where major web pages exploit a tragic event (and a shit ton of cross-promoting blog backlinks in comments sections follow suit) is disturbing, but it's still a matter of taste and respect, or lack of same. None of it violates FTC guidelines. It's callous and exploitative, but it's not marketing a hoax or a lie, and the latter seems to be where the social media line would be, except where is it?
Tessa and Scott are partnered with Lindt Chocolate, and Tessa direct promotes Lindt on the same twitter she uses to manipulate the public into believing her hoax about her personal life. Kaitlyn Lawes has spammed her twitter with plugs for pb chocolate milk and used that same twitter to help Scott and Tessa hoax their fans and the supporters of their sport. They've recruited countless people to help them do it, and these people do it with enthusiasm.
How acceptable is it to introduce the corrupt aspects of skating culture into social media partnerships with sponsors, apparently because if it's just your "personas" or "business," shadiness is okay?But then continually, insistently, set out to convince the public that it's not business/personas, but the real you? Interesting tactics from the daughter of a litigation lawyer.
How informed are the people who work with Scott and Tessa? Why doesn't it matter that they're doing this? Is it because it's figure skating, and figure skating is such a corrupt clusterfuck, thanks in large part to the behavior of the North American side of the sport, that there are no limits or boundaries at all, on or off the ice? Scott and Tessa are capitalizing upon, and exploiting, the seamy side of figure skating culture, encouraging their reps and their sponsors to take as patronizing, dismissive a view of it as Scott and Tessa do themselves, as the media does, as everybody does. So much misinformation and disinformation is pumped into the public discourse nobody knows what's what. Take advantage, Scott and Tessa! It's just your sport and your sport's culture; it's a ridiculous sport with pathetic fans. Go as low as you want.
What a legacy for the greatest ice dancers of all time. This shit has overshadowed their skating. Skating as a "sport" is so corrupt that nobody can talk about Scott and Tessa's magnificent skating without examining why they weren't allowed to defeat Davis White in Sochi, so their skating legacy has sort of become an "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's around, does it make a sound" situation. If nobody can acknowledge that Scott and Tessa have a legacy of being the greatest ice dancers of all time because acknowledging that opens the Davis White can of worms, do they actually have a real legacy? They do very little to keep attention on their skating; they're working overtime manipulating the public about their personal life, using the same sleazy tactics off ice on us that the ISU used on ice against them. I'm curious if the reason Scott and Tessa get a pass is specific to the sport of skating. Nobody takes skating seriously - not the media, not the skaters themselves. Corruption is standard practice on the ice, obviously it's anything goes and more off the ice. One suspects that those partnered with or representing athletes in other sports would tighten the guidelines a bit, but as it's just skating and skating fans, who cares. Tessa and Scott certainly exploit the hell out of that attitude, which is difficult to reconcile with two people who claim to love and respect the sport they're in and what they do.
Scott and Tessa's situation, currently combined with Kaitlyn Lawes' situation, where Scott and Tessa are in partnership with Lindt, and Kaitlyn Lawes is in partnership with pb chocolate milk, and they promote these brands on twitter while simultaneously manipulating and intentionally deceiving the public about their personal lives, where the manipulation aims to paint the public as childlike dreamers and overinvested fans for suspecting what is, in fact, the truth, is a partnership/combination of a sort unaddressed by social media ethics guidelines.
When did it become okay to market a hoax or a lie on social media? Facebooks are one thing - they are "personal". Tessa is direct marketing @Lindtchocolate under her sponsorship partnership with Lindt, on the same social media account where she hoaxes the public. Lawes is spamming her own twitter with @pbchocolate milk while also hoaxing the public.
Has the media and a whole bunch of sponsors decided it's legit to hoax certain segments of the public and not others? Even if those people represent the supporters and fans of an entire sport? When did that happen? Look at the people who are helping Scott and Tessa lie on social media. The only thing these people could possibly be deceived about are Scott and Tessa's motives.They can't be deceived about what is being done - a married pair of figure skaters not only energetically marketing themselves as single and involved with other people, but simultaneously targeting and disparaging fans they pretend don't believe them. Why is this okay?
P.S. The reality show undermines any excuse that Scott and Tessa are defending against public intrusion into their private lives. Every time Scott, Tessa and the media cozy up together and have a chat about all this unseemly public interest in their relationship, one wants to ask how exactly does the public intrude? Can't be done without the media, and the media is helping Scott and Tessa, not the public.
How many people in the world of talent representation, sponsorship, event production and athletics watched that reality show? They may have HEARD of that thing. That Scott called a documentary, that the W network (and Scott and Tessa) advertised as a chronicle of Scott and Tessa's Sochi prep, and that P.J. Kwong told us was an informative look at ice dance training. It was none of that stuff. This is what I mean when I keep saying Scott and Tessa are exploiting skating culture, capitalizing on the sleaze around their sport, by using the exact, exact tactics on the public, off the ice, that were used against them, on the ice. They're treating their sport with the same contempt.
P.P.S. Remember how Scott and Tessa promoted the reality show? How proud they were of it, how genuine it was, how close they got to the crew, how this was an opportunity for their fans to really get to know them? Telling us why we'd want to tune in? How, for them, it was a chance to create a real chronicle of their Olympic experience to look back on, since it all goes by in a blur? And remember how, as soon as it aired, when asked if they watched it, they were all "Yawn - we don't watch that shit."
So, so, SO much better than us, they are, they don't even have to fake it.