The Cautionary Tale of Balderdash and Hogwash


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Back in the day, two friends named Balderdash and Hogwash decided they wanted to be seen as really smart. So they decided to share their thinking and position it as Fairly Important Correctionable Tales In Other News (FICTION).

Seeing that there was a market for people looking for information, Balderdash and Hogwash decided that their brand of FICTION was just what the world needed. So off they set, taking their words of wisdom with them.

For many years, Balderdash and Hogwash were hugely successful. They made a lot of money from people who were hungry for all sorts of information, but didn’t have the wherewithal to check sources for themselves.

This was great for Balderdash and Hogwash, since they could share all sorts of wonderful FICTION and no-one would question them. Some of their nuggets included:

  • People with phones are more likely to call support centres than go online to chat to a live advisor.
  • The Internet allows you to put up a website and bring a million dollars a month into your business from day one.
  • Making a viral video is as easy as buying a Flip cam and pressing Record.
  • You don’t need to worry about the ROI of social media – instead, worry about baby unicorns.
  • The square root of online influence is anything someone with a high influence score says it should be.

There were many more nuggets, all of them hugely profitable, because everyone took the words of Balderdash and Hogwash as gospel. For a while, everything was golden and the two friends laughed all the way to the Happy Bank.

But then something happened.

Across the globe, people that had listened to Balderdash and Hogwash began to see the flaws in their arguments. They began to see that there were more holes in the FICTION that was being shared than there were at a golf course designed by a Swiss cheese maker.

And these people began to grow. And grow.

Soon, there was a mighty crowd of people that came together to form a cohesive voice that questioned the Balderdash and Hogwash FICTION. They soon formed their own group – Clearly Open Minds Make Ourselves Need Smarter Educational News Shared Everywhere (COMMON SENSE).

They took to the globe in a large boat of wisdom, and countered FICTION with COMMON SENSE. Instead of just sharing wild figures, they offered:

  • True analytics and understanding of information.
  • Facts and figures from comprehensive studies.
  • Actionable advice suited to audiences and not just a one-size fits-all approach.
  • Goals, measurement and returns, and how to use that information to plan ahead.

Soon, more people began to realize that Balderdash and Hogwash were perhaps not the wise voices they made themselves out to be; perhaps FICTION wasn’t something to base your business goals on; and that maybe, just maybe, COMMON SENSE was a better approach.

This made Balderdash and Hogwash unhappy. They’d lost their grip on the crowd, and now only had their past glories to live on. Their tales of FICTION were now held up as worst practices and things to avoid, while COMMON SENSE was shown to be a far better starting point.

Of course, there will always be opportunities for Balderdash and Hogwash to get their particular brand of FICTION into the minds of new targets. But as long as COMMON SENSE is around, and people are willing to push back and ask for a bit more than some creative FICTION, the likes of Balderdash and Hogwash will be limited as to how many they convince with their stories.

Ready to push back?

image: Austin Moody

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown is partner at Bonsai Interactive Marketing, a full service agency offering integrated, social media and mobile marketing solutions. He is also founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a social media-led charity initiative connecting globally and helping locally.


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