We’re at that point.

One of my favorite Billy Joel songs is ‘Honesty’ as it contains one of my favorite lyrics: ‘Honesty, is hardly ever heard/and mostly what I need from you’.

Billy Joel is right. So right in fact that we are at that point where the truth is a point of differentiation. Case in point – my new favorite website, the McDonald’s ‘our food, your questions’ FAQ site.

It’s here where you can learn that no, McDonald’s burgers don’t contain ammonia, yes, they do use dye in their shakes, no, they don’t use pink slime in their nuggets. They also answer some very important questions, like why isn’t the McRib served all year round (just to change it up) and is there a secret 10:35 a.m. menu (no).

I give McDonald’s credit for addressing their ingredients challenges. Read a little deeper on the site and you’ll see they admit to using pink slime in their burgers from 2004 -2011; they don’t use plastics from yoga mats in their McRib but they do use ADA in their McRib bun and the only real egg you’ll eat is on their sandwiches.

Of course this is all done from a brand standpoint, so the content of the site and the way the questions are answered favor McDonald’s, but it’s unique to see a company deal with all of the long-standing rumors, living online and off, head-on. I think today brands are a little afraid of putting information like this out because of the judge, jury and executioner known as social media.

But when you consider what is good practice when it comes to brand protection, the principles of a site like this aren’t new. Attempting to tell the truth, on the other hand, is.

(Special thanks to Lukas Treu, content architect here at AKHIA, for bringing this story to my attention.)

Poop is in, I guess.

I wrote last year about Poo Pourri, an air fresher. At the time I was a little worried about how some ‘toilet talk’ would play with the ‘Ben thinking…’ readers.

Well, apparently I shouldn’t have worried so much because poop is popping up everywhere. Look at these pictures I took at Walmart – these are in the toy aisle!

Poop Photo 1 Poop Photo

What is going on here? And the worst part? My four-year-old, who can’t read, knew what she was looking at. Apparently kids know poop when they see it.

Then, this last weekend we saw ‘Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day’ (which was very entertaining by the way – go see it) and there was a whole scene in there with Dick Van Dyke doing a celebrity reading of a book about… potty training. There was a mix-up at the printer and some words got mixed up, resulting in a very funny scene…and all the kids I was with laughed so hard they practically…well, you know.

I don’t know what to think of this. You’re reading a blog written by a guy who saw ‘Dumb and Dumber’ in the theater three times in a week…and laughed uncontrollably at the Jeff Daniels bathroom scene. So maybe toilet jokes and humor have always been in – but now there’s more ways to see it. Or maybe I’m just a parent now and looking at things from a different perspective. Or maybe I should just butt out and let kids be kids.

On a somewhat related topic...

People in Wasco, California are being scared you-know-whatless as creepy clowns are appearing in random places. But don’t worry, it’s just part of a weird social media experiment by an unknown, unidentified husband and wife combo. They have a very active Instagram and Facebook account and are putting pictures up of every place they’ve gone.

You have to love social media. What did we ever do before it? How could people have been expected to pull off something important like this social experiment? And what’s the experiment? To see how people react? You don’t need to put on clown masks and appear on a playground or drive through to know the answer to that – people are going to freak out!

Apparently this is a thing; I actually wrote it about it last year when a similar thing happened in Northampton, Britain. Who knew? As the human race, our ingenuity knows no bounds.