public diplomacy magazine

2 July 2020

Tweaking The Laugh Track: The Ethics Of Orchestrated Responses

by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Ardent Foe of Laugh Tracks…

USC Public Diplomacy MagazineI know little about diplomacy — indeed, I occasionally dish out some rather vicious tweets — but I do know media manipulation…

So when I received an invitation to write for USC’s Public Diplomacy Magazine (a surprise and an honor), I decided to address a growing malpractice: faking audience reactions.

My article starts with laugh tracks in TV sitcoms: the fake laughter that makes me cringe. Then I focus on a modern variation of the laugh track: what many people call “influencer marketing.”

You can read it all — free — in Issue 23 of Public Diplomacy, “Ethics In Diplomacy.” You’ll find my article on pages 43-45.

Let me know what you think. And, no, you don’t have to be diplomatic.

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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