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Can #FakeTradie help businesses avoid social media epic fails when educating their community? Absolutely!

What do you reckon? Is #FakeTradie a real tradie? Facebook and Twitter were set alight yesterday with online memes and comment about one of the latest LNP election ads notoriously dubbed #FakeTradie.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock the last couple of days, take a look at the #FakeTradie ad to see what all the fuss is about. Just how authentic is this tradie? Real tradies have analysed the content of the image and shared a number of safety concerns about what the tradie is wearing. Further questioning his authenticity are the condition of his tools and bench, their location and the actual grooming and presentation of the person in the image.


With the social media storm engulfing the #FakeTradie ad, natural curiosity has resulted in many more people viewing the #FakeTradie ad than some other elections ads. What was the goal of the creative team responsible for the ad? If number of views was king, job done. If genuinely communicating their message was top dog, that’s open to debate.

In the social media connected world we live in, there have been many social media campaigns that have ended up #EpicFail. Who can forget the #QANTAS Luxury twitter campaign hijacked in 2011 or the #McDStories hashtag that snarky tweeps used as a #bashtag to bash McDonalds about their experiences.

#FakeTradie clearly demonstrates the incredible power an image has in communicating a message. So what can businesses take away about communicating with their community from #FakeTradie?

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Firstly, from my work as a Visual Story Teller, I believe you must be authentic and genuine in your efforts. Share the values and beliefs you hold, how you do it and why you do it. When planning a photo shoot, I work with my clients to explore the values and beliefs in their message and what we actually need to be in an image to communicate this message. The resulting images are of real people in action or in their workplace doing what they do, how they do it.

Secondly, check the little details. The authenticity of #FakeTradie has been questioned because of “content and styling errors” in the image. To avoid these issues, key questions I ask my clients on location include:

“How do you use this equipment?”

“Is there anything in front of us that is a safely issue, or an incorrect procedure?”

“Is everyone wearing the correct safety gear?”

“If we are varying normal practice, is it a reasonable variation?”

“Are logos on uniforms or signage current?

“Is there anything in this image that might be a problem to you?”

Checking these details before pressing the shutter is a great way to be authentic and genuine. It’s certainly easier to address these issues BEFORE an image is captured than after.

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As an example, I’ve included some story telling images of my work with Brisbane Pottery Supplies here to share how their glazes are made. During our photo shoot, all safety procedures were followed and necessary work ware and safety equipment was worn.

Thirdly, does the image you’re using support the message to be communicated at this time? Images become clickbait and attract attention to stories, articles and posts. Facebook posts with an image receive 61% more engagement than text posts. The message in the image must support and demonstrate the narrative. Image content, lighting, composition, styling and colour palette all come together to create your message. Consider these factors when creating your images.