At the height of the Fake News epidemic, the IAB UK newsbrand board members -- The Guardian, News UK, ESI Media, Trinity Mirror, Telegraph Media Group and Mail Metro Media --wanted to emphasise the difference between professionally-written content and the abundance of fake news available online. We gave them an opportunity to combat fake news with the biggest weapon at our disposal - Engage.
The theme for Engage, our flagship conference, was 'Create the Future,' showcasing the latest developments and innovation within the digital advertising industry, its implications and what marketers need to know now in order to succeed tomorrow.
True to fashion, the event excited and inspired the 1,000+ attendees. The most powerful came from Ken Fawes, editor-in-chief of the Cincinnati Sentinel, whose publication employed controversial storytelling techniques - using complex algorithms and machine learning - to create and distribute stories to discredit democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in favour of republican Donald Trump in the now infamous 2016 US presidential election.
We wanted to show the audience how easy it was to get duped by a fake, so we hired an actor to play Ken Fawes (Fake News anagram), crafted a script and included 'Ken' in our event collateral. We even built a wikipedia page incase people searched for him.
David Walsh of The Sunday Times, was planted in the audience to out him as a fake. Despite never rehearsing the 'confrontation' the event went off without a hitch, and the audience experienced a range of emotions from shock to awe and inspiration.