Red States, Blue States, And The State of Creativity

In an Adweek article last week, prominent ad people were asked, “It’s Thanksgiving this week. What are you thankful for?”
Among the pithy comments were these, which caught my eye because they were both in the same article:
Court Crandall of Ground Zero who said, among other things, “I’m thankful this will be George Bush’s last term.”
Neil Powell of Margeotes Fertitta Powell who said, “I’m thankful the American people finally seem to be waking up to the fact that the war was a horrible mistake. Hopefully, many of our soldiers will be home next year to have Thanksgiving with their families.”
While to some those aren’t exactly controversial opinions, it’s interesting to see prominent ad people take political positions. Now, I’ve worked with all sorts of people, including an admittedly Republican Creative Director (whose design skills were stuck in the Reagan administration). In general, though, creative people rarely cop to having conservative values, because we tend to seek progressive ideas and influences to stay “cutting-edge,” or simply because it sounds uncool.
But working in advertising means we do the bidding of large corporations, whose interests lie squarely in a more laissez-faire business environment, which would favor Republicans. Right? So how do you justify those contradictions to yourself? Do you ever get into those sorts of discussions with fellow ad people?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • http://www.vsente.com Mike Smock

    Hi Danny,
    We blogged the impact of blue state political leanings on marketing not long ago. More specifically – is political correctness destroying enterprise competitiveness… The entry is here:
    RED OR BLUE? WHAT COLOR IS YOUR MARKETING DEPARTMENT?
    http://twoscenarios.typepad.com/maneuver_marketing_commun/2005/08/red_or_blue_wha.html

  • http://www.orangeyeti.com Evan

    Red and blue? Why only two options here?
    Say you’re libertarian. You don’t really alienate any mainstream political folks, and it’s clearly the best way to think. ;)

  • http://www.adpulp.com Danny G

    That’s a good point, Evan, and I wrote an ad last year to express that idea.
    I think a lot of people would fall into a Libertarian category, especially in advertising. But as long as corporations (our clients) buy infuence among the 2 major parties, that’s where the conflict is.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    I don’t talk politics with coworkers. Mostly, when I call for overthrowing the two party shitstem, it just gets them upset.

  • Mark Trueblood

    Personally, I think all these labels like red state, blue state, liberal creatives, republican clients put a cartoonish face on the rich diversity of opinions and individual perspectives in this country.
    And as far as how that affects advertising and the workplace, i’ve been shocked at some of the vicious, barely coherent political attacks that people are so willing to announce in the workplace when they think everyone else agrees with them.
    Also, I don’t think it’s so easy to paint our clients as orthodox Republicans. In my experience, many wealthy Republican voters only do so because that’s what fills their pocket, and they disagree with the archconservative social agenda their party holds so dear right now.
    In fact, I would argue most of the leaders of the Republican party only give lip service to the hard-right agenda to “get out the vote” among poor and middle-class social and religious conservatives.
    But in the end, everyone should just vote Libertarian. Because clearly, it’s the smartest perspective. ;)
    True