Danc over at Lost Garden recently wrote a great essay about “manufactured” gaming heroes, the public faces marketing teams come up with and trot out to promote a new product.

It’s a great read, not the least of which it could be applied so much more broadly:

The game media, trained to vacuum up press releases and pre-packaged interviews, never asks the probing question "What did you actually do?" or "Well, if you didn't, who did?" Marketing handlers merely selects a plausible face and media blindly crowns them as worthy creative visionaries. Idols, even false ones, fill a uniquely human need for worship. Both gamers and journalists are desperate to adore, to celebrate, to follow the brilliant individuals that birthed our favorite games. When presented with the mechanistic, faceless truth of modern game development, we reject reality and seek something, anything that fits our preconceived notions of creative genius. A paper hero constructed of marketing materials fits the fan's need and is gladly assembled for each game launch. But do we really need to settle? Are artificial heroes necessary? What if there were real gaming celebrities out there who are actually worthy of our veneration?

As an IT reporter, I’ve definitely (rarely, but definitely) run into situations where the spokesperson and particularly the customer interview never worked directly with the product.

Let that sink in: A company puts forward as a customer testimonial someone who has never, ever actually used the product.