“Good” Advertising

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I have a dilemma. We are an advertising agency and are commissioned to help motivate people to buy ‘stuff.’ We work for clients that need to sell their products and services so that they can live and grow their business.

But, this is the dilema. The over-consumption of ‘stuff’ has led us into all kinds of problems: environmentally, socially, relationally, the list goes on. So I have this moral check. I love helping people communicate their message to other people effectively and intentionally in order provoke a positive response –this is advertising.

But, what if the most effective advertising was directed at provoking positive change in the world around us: environmentally, socially, relationally and the list goes on and on? What if the best of this industry were commissioned to design for change? What if there was more investment into these types of advertising, not to provoke people into spending more, but acting smart, conserving and maybe even caring? I don’t mean the government, spending to advertise to promote being ‘good citizens.’ I mean, real change.

Maybe it’s too late, maybe we’ve become so desensitized to ad messages that advertising has no hope of doing good. Maybe the ability we have of influencing those around us can still be used to promote positive change. I think that it’s important to take a step back and have a look at the big picture once in awhile. Here’s how I see the ‘big picture’ –we’re all still selfish, but I don’t think we want to be. I think that because we still find joy watching the few who are willing to sacrifice for others says that we are more than a little discontent at our own selfishness.

Here’s the challenge for you today. Try to do something for someone, somewhere that you know you will never get paid for or may not even get praised for. Then try to influence someone else to do the same. You’re ‘advertising’ for positive change… because advertising is little more than influence – and you can influence!

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