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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Is there value in ads being used to uplift society?

Is there value in ads being used to uplift society?

I’m feeling a bit philosophical today, and reading your answer to a previous question got me thinking.
You say that it’s not necessarily our job to put up a positive portrayal of all that life should be to our impressionable youngsters (or something like that). But is there value in the possibility?
I mean, the Maytag Man was caught in the appliance closet with Wally and the Beav a long time ago…pop culture is pushing the boundaries more and more, and they’re not necessarily boundaries that get us closer to a better society.
Do you see any value in pushing the other way? We have the voices – people pay us to talk for them, and advertisers have the broadest platform of communications vehicles out there. Why not use that for good…not just the good of the industry, but the overall, save the world sort of good?
Sure it’s bringing a personal agenda to our client’s business. Who doesn’t do that? And who’s to say that if it’s done well, it couldn’t have a very positive impact on client revenue…back to the bottom line.
Is there value in lifting people up, or will we be shilling sex drugs and rock and roll until someone says enough is enough?

intro Is there value in ads being used to uplift society?Sorry, it’s not the type of question you typically get, but I thought I’d ask a couple of industry leaders for their perspective, and Neil French hasn’t responded yet…jerk.

Hmmm, advertising lifting people up. What a nice thought. The best advertising does lift most people up—when you look at the awards reels, they’re filled with funny/ thoughtful work. And perhaps your favourite, public service ads. We all love doing public service when we can—it does feel good to create work designed to help someone. JWT in Toronto actually has a division just for this kind of work. Sounds cool.

It’s not a field for purists. We’re as pure as it comes, and we’re still tramps. Between us we’ve sold cigarettes, liquor and drugs of all kinds (pharma, you know). It’s pretty hard as a business to say I won’t touch this or that product (though both of us and many others do draw the line from time to time). At this point just about every product out there can be traced to someone you may not feel great about as a corporation. Not much an ad guy can do about that.

As for using advertising to “save the world”, we think you’ll have to investigate another career option for that. We sleep ok at night knowing every ad our people create tries to respect the intelligence of the consumer, and we represent every product honestly. Our job is ultimately to sell a product and we think you can do that without being slimey. From time to time, it might even be uplifting.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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