Newsflash: In case you couldn’t tell, the media, as an industry, can be pretty morally bankrupt and feature the clickbait machinations dreamed up of logical fallacies and half-truths. After all, English majors and Comm-school grads have to go into some industry to pay off $200,000 in student loan debt by making $30,000 a year after they graduate.
A good example of that is what happened after Arizona State’s Alpha Phi sorority recruitment video went viral after being featured on BroBible. It racked up 125,000 views in two weeks. Then the follow up coverage began, starting with Teen Vogue speculating that the video cost $200,000 – $400,000 to produce. Their logic? Because that was the number foolishly thrown around by some professional ad executive with a production company on Madison Avenue for Artec Media’s other claim to fame, the Miami Delta Gamma video this past January:
Look familiar? The video was produced by Artec Media, the company responsible for releasing that viral Miami Delta Gamma video back in January. Alpha Phi’s video is exactly the same, except it’s set in the desert instead of on the coast. The Miami video was estimated to cost between $200,000 and $400,000, so let’s assume Alpha Phi rang up a similar bill — after all, they had to hire out the Pink Jeep Tour company, a helicopter pilot, a hot air balloon operator, the production team, and a singer for the original EDM song written by Artec. Technically, the point of a sorority is philanthropy, so that $200,000+ could have been donated to the Alpha Phi foundation, which benefits cardiac research. Or, you know, could have paid for a few sisters’ four-year tuition bills. The video also skips the studying, volunteer work, and leadership training that comes with sorority life. Do these girls just…not do any of that?
*Fart noise while eyerolling*
That $400,00 number is a blatant, speculative falsehood that then made its way to The Daily Mail and Fox News where half-truths became ipso facto reality. It’s not really lying, but it’s not really the truth.
I’ve done the Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona, Arizona. It costs, like, $50 a person, max. Helicopter rentals? NBD — You can Uber a chopper in Manhattan for a 30-minute tour of the skyline for a couple hundred bucks. Hot air balloon rides? Another easy-to-do tourist activity in almost every single tourist destination in America, including Arizona. And the music is originally produced, so it’s not like they needed to licensing it from a third party.
The most expensive part is clearly the production, which took some time and time is money. But I’d be surprised if the ladies at Alpha Phi s shelled out 0ver $15,000, let alone $20,000. $400,000 is just absurd.
Even though commercial production companies charge comparable rates for such an execution, At the end of the day, you’re still shooting a video for a sorority, not a Fortune 500 company with a billion dollar annual marketing budget.
But, hey, believe whatever you want. There’s a reason why media trust is at a laughable all-time low and it’s because of bullshit like this. Just know that the media is straight up lying to you in their insulated NYC sausage factory because, well, there are English major jobs and money and reputations on the line, especially with stretching the story.
Whatever moves Chartbeat and puts food on the table, amirite?
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