Did You Bring Your Moral Compass To Work Today?

In his latest blog post, Steffan Postaer examines some weighty issues (while promoting his fiction).

In my novel, The Happy Soul Industry, God and the Devil engage one another in a modern fable about advertising, good and evil. Needless to say, the topic interests me deeply.
Selling cigarettes, liquor and gambling has been called “dark marketing.” Well, what if everything we sell is shaded? When we build a brand are we, in a way, creating an idol?

I think we all (at least those of us with a working conscience) struggle to some degree with what we do in this business. Yet, it’s interesting to see someone who’s gone as far as Postaer struggle too. Why is it interesting? Because the concept that “more money” or “better clients” will solve what ails you is a hollow dream.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Everybody hurts, everybody helps says:

    an honest hi
    when we open our minds.

  2. I think that we all (or at least a nice majority) work in this field with the hopes of someday being able to flip our developed skills toward some type of altruistic cause.

  3. Postaer’s salary—which is based on the Altoids campaign he hasn’t touched in about a decade—undoubtedly helps him cope with the struggles. His agency’s latest work highlights beer and vodka. He’d probably sell his soul—or his left nut at least—for a cigarette or gambling account. He needs to look at the devil in the mirror too.

  4. Good Lord, Postaer created a dissertation on the connections between advertising and religion when he worked at Burnett years ago. I think he presented it at Cannes or some other ad venue.
    It’s amazing how he manages to squeeze so much mileage out of the few concepts he stumbles upon. Let’s see. There’s Altoids and… um, a perspective on advertising and religion. I guess that elevates him beyond being a one-trick pony.
    Postaer doesn’t need a moral compass. He needs a creative GPS device to locate his third big idea. Fortunately for him, he’s now at an agency that isn’t interested in becoming a creative force.