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.