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Rakuten advertisement: Francis, the non-existing retailer

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One principle that should guide all advertisers in this world is that what you show your customers must appear to be true. Rakuten’s advertising agency did not quite understand this principle. In its latest advertising campaign, it highlights the retailers on its platform. This is legitimate. Without traders, there is no market place. But on closer inspection, there appears to be a problem.


Francis, the man with a thousand lives

Francis has everything to please. Young, handsome, he looks dynamic and comfortable wearing his slightly crumpled (but not too much) shirt. What a great showcase for Rakuten and above all, what a chance to have convinced Francis to lend his image to his favourite client. Except that … Francis doesn’t exist. Well, not really.

I thought I had seen Francis somewhere before, so I searched, and I found (thanks to Google Images).

Francis did a master’s degree in logistics in South America at the Exel Business School in Guatemala City (opposite). He is also a happy customer of the famous “rapid disinfection” company and a franchisee of Van4You in Italy (see below).

But above all, Francis is just one image among many in the Shutterstock database. His main attribute there is “entrepreneur”, and it is therefore on his face that you will find if you enter this keyword.



Too bad Rakuten! Advertising must sound right

Rakuten advertising is almost a textbook case. Since we have to produce visuals in quantity and at low cost, what is the point of going to all the trouble to create authentic advertising? Consumers, in their unfortunate naivety (note the alliteration!), will see nothing but fire. That’s what the advertising factories of today’s world say to each other.
Yes, but … we can see like a nose in the middle of a face that dear Francis ” is ringing out of tune “.



Isn’t it time to put a little authenticity into advertising?



Please, some authenticity in advertising

At a time when local businesses are dying, at a time when advertisers are trying to manipulate our feelings, isn’t it time to put a little authenticity into advertising?

Indeed, not all the shopkeepers on the Rakuten platform will be as handsome as dear Francis. But who cares! Ugly vegetables are well advertised in supermarkets, and customers buy them, thereby recognising the authenticity and validity of the process. Why shouldn’t it be the same for advertising?

 

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