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Fake news & the snap election, McDonalds as creative crusaders & The Drum's Instagram project: Editor's Overview


By Stephen Lepitak, -

April 24, 2017 | 5 min read

The snap election will only exacerbate the fake news problem.

Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak

Major digital platforms such as the BBC, Facebook and Google have each said that they were researching and trialing ways to eradicate fake news - well if we have seen anything from the French election currently taking place, with the UK snap election less than two months away, you can expect big tests of each of those companies in the weeks ahead.

We know from recent political antics that the use of fake news has become an effective weapon in politics and that the online echo chamber can easily spread it far and wide from the initial source without remorse.

We are at a point where voters choose to believe what they wish to. The only thing we in media can do to combat this is to report fairly and hope that a good reputation will bring readers back time and time again knowing they can trust us as a source.

But how do you find a trustworthy and reputable source? Well that's even more difficult when it seems every media outlet has its own political agenda to spin. That becomes even more complex on social media where already a picture of Jeremy Corbyn apparently door stepping a woman who is giving him the victory sign in return has been debunked as Tory fun making.

I suggest this as a rule of thumb - believe nothing that doesn't come with quantified evidence. Only trust what you can learn for yourself to be the truth. And if it sounds too good to be true coming from the lips of a politician - then be pretty sure it is. And demand more transparency from your media platforms of choice. Never before have journalists been so accessible to you.

Political reporting over the coming weeks in the UK needs to be responsible and true.

Demand that it is.

Should brands play more of a role in nurturing creativity?

I don't believe we see many true acts of bravery in this business any more but I have to admit some admiration for MullenLowe Boston president Geoff Cottrill for doing what most agency chiefs never do - calling out a major brand's behavior, in this case McDonalds.

Cottrill has sided for a group of street artists in New York who are suing McDonalds for using their work in a video to promote their new sandwich and called on it to do more for the creative arts.

While McDonalds and every other brands doesn't really need to do anything to give back to creativity - it made me think that his view is entirely correct. These brands can see their share price rise and fall based on great or terrible ads - and the stronger the arts and inspiration surrounding their creatives, perhaps the better the work they will receive from the agencies they hire to promote them.

While I think about strong creative work - I am particularly enjoying the new Heineken campaign which plays on the differences of people and how those can be overcome through conversation and a cold beer. It is a strong idea but also a rare moment of bravery from a big brand. While it is not directly political, it walks a line that could have easily been stepped across. Excellent stuff by the brand and Publicis London overall.

Elsewhere at The Drum

We have begun a project as part of our July issue, searching for creatives and innovators from around the world to upload pictures of the places that inspire them most onto our Instagram page. We're had some excellent contributions already but we'll be keeping the page going a few more days. Please feel free to contribute.

Nominations for this year's RAR Digital Awards will open for entry this week.

We've also announced the judges for this year's Online Media Awards, chaired by Johnson Press boss Ashley Highfield, while nominations for the Chip Shop Awards, The Drum Moma Awards and The Drum Search Awards are also set to be revealed soon.

We're also throwing a party in New York to launch this year's The Drum Digital Trading Awards US this week too. If you are in town and want to find out more - just get in touch through details here.

I'll also be hosting a panel on social good at D&AD on Tuesday afternoon if you happen to be attending too.

Have a great week everyone. And if you want to get in touch email me on or tweet me on @stephenlepitak.

Take care


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