Just over two weeks ago, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway created an instant meme with two simple words: “alternative facts.”
The phrase, uttered during a Meet the Press interview, quickly turned into a hashtag, providing an open invitation for all interested parties to concoct their own versions of Conway’s confounding take on reality. This included five ad agency creatives who immediately set out to turn Alternative Facts into what their own website calls “America’s best card game ever. Period.”
How did they come up with such a timely variation on the classic two-team true-or-false quiz?
“We were all sitting around after the Kellyanne interview … joking about how silly it was,” agency art director Zack Roif, who served as “American director of art” on the project, tells AdFreak. “We were planning it as a one-off party joke, but then we thought, what if we actually just made it?”
They ultimately came up with a 52-card deck that includes several “Trump cards” ready to upset the balance of power or dominate a moment, much like the president’s tweets.
“To kick things off, the team with the largest hands goes first,” said chief card designer and visa-holding Englishman Augustus Cook, who described the game as “a very simple version of true or false” and noted that the team tried to ensure “a good balance of facts and alternative facts” while keeping the rules as simple as possible.
Asked to list their favorite examples, they provided the following:
- The person who invented the Frisbee was cremated and made into Frisbees after he died.
- There was live birth during Sum 41’s “Don’t Call It a Sumback” Farewell Tour.
Can you guess which is real without the help of our friends at Google?
The Trump card works like Monopoly’s Community Chest. For example, whoever draws “You’ve been defunded” has to give three cards to the other team. If you pick the card “Deport your neighbor,” then your team loses one member to the competition.
Cook and Roif call their game nonpartisan, noting that they drew inspiration from current events while including “little jabs and comedic, over-the-top patriotism.” Alternative Facts is even priced at $14.92 in honor of the year Columbus sailed that ocean blue.
Roif described the research portion of the project as an educational journey, adding, “We discovered that Australia actually lost a war to animals: the Emu War of 1932!”
In case you missed it, Conway used the phrase in question to defend press secretary Sean Spicer’s demonstrably false claim that Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration ceremony had drawn the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period—both in person and around the globe.” In doing so, she effectively argued that political truth, like beauty, is in the eye (or party) of the beholder.
Since launching the game and its homepage this week, the creatives have taken to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to promote it.
Roif said they were so excited about the idea that they finished it in just over a week by moving “at the speed of culture.” Unfortunately, they weren’t able to secure alternativefacts.com, which hilariously redirects to a Psychology Today article about “gaslighting” that went live the very day Conway made her now-infamous comments.
While Alternative Facts is not a pro-bono project, the group—which also includes chief misinformation officer Sam Farnham, campaign strategist Emily Kearns and Alternative Fact writer Kate Carter—plans to donate a portion of any profits to the ACLU … which does not in any way support or endorse the game.
One question remains: How much do Trump supporters and/or Americans in general really care about “alternative facts?” In this case, the truth is almost certainly subjective.