Case Studies That Never Existed: Pinocchio (Content Management)

The Problem: Carlo Collodi’s famous wooden boy was suffering from a major credibility crisis in his brand, brought on by his most unfortunate character flaw–specifically, Pinocchio couldn’t stop himself from lying, which meant he had dozens of different stories to keep straight. Complicating the problem was a feature of his magically carved frame, that notified his contacts when he was being dishonest through a difficult-to-conceal growth of his proboscis. In other words, his lies were as plain as the nose on his face.

The Solution: The Marshall Creative team theorized that the workaround to Pinocchio’s ingrained polygraph was to instill confidence within him that the lies he was telling were true…by believing his own fictions he could trick his own system into assuming that he was being genuine. To train him in this task, we directed him to begin a blog on the back-end of his website that only he had access to, and showed him how to use WordPress tagging and categories to sort each story for easy access. By using a mobile device, he could then prepare for any encounter by reviewing all the details of the story he’d told that person. We also suggested use of an online directory system, allowing him to make comments and notes on people like The Blue Fairy and Stromboli, and then build in the connectivity between his posts and those people.

Why It Didn’t Work:  Although the puppet seemed sincerely interested in pursuing our design to help him, shortly after our initial meeting he ended up turned into a donkey and swallowed by a whale, which threw our original production timeline into disarray. When Pinocchio at last returned to our radar, he had transformed into a real boy…which was the result of him defeating his dishonesty problem, and which also meant that even if he did decide to lie again that there would be no egregious telltale signs of it. As it was, he no longer required our services, so we wished each other the best of luck. When last we heard, he was auditioning for a part in Disney’s new Star Wars film.

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