You’re being lied to

Slated as a new series, called Dashcam Confessionals, the Dover Police Department in Delaware released a video featuring Master Cpl. Jeff Davis dancing behind the steering wheel of his squad car to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.

Asked about his DashCam Confessional on NBC’s “Today” show, Davis said, “It’s nice to get the word out there and get a little positive attention for the police department. For us, get a little tarnish off the badge and shine it up a bit, because we’ve been getting a lot of negative publicity. Police in general [have] been getting crazy negative publicity.”

I hate to get all negative publicity about this, but you’ve been lied to.

Call me cynical, but I find it disheartening to find out the police “lied” about their video. Just because it is set to a pop song, that fooled even Taylor Swift, doesn’t change the fact that this inspiring piece of positive inspiration misled its viewing public.

Was this video real? No more than it is a real person being real silly in front of a real camera he knows is really recording him. It’s hard to call this real when it’s really a production.

From a PR perspective, the department hit a homerun, reaching more than 400K views in the first 24 hours, and more than 24 million views within a week. The other videos on the Dover Police YouTube Page average between 2000 and 10000 views, with a blip on their ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

If the goal of your public relations is to inspire, why the misleading intro?

“It was supposed to be sarcasm,” says Mark Hoffman, the Public Affairs and Information Officer for the Dover Police Department, “But some people thought it was authentic.”

No one is saying that this video backfired, or had a negative effect on the police force, but if this was your business, would fakery be tolerated? It doesn’t take long for the internet trolls or otherwise to start tearing down the facade of good intentions. Just ask Maroon 5 and their wedding crash video for “Sugar” (Mostly fake, but sort of real, but not really).

Know. Like. Trust. These are the pillars that we, at Smashing Pixels, preach to our clients to improve your business. Making parody videos is one thing. Using misleading messaging can destroy your reputation.

OPINION: Does this video make you feel enlightened or lied to?

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