Ad People Don’t Need A Makeover, They Need An Enema

In response to polls that show ad professionals are thought of by many Americans as hucksters, not hipsters, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute are teaming up to launch an Institute for Advertising Ethics.
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According to Ad Age:

The AAF is providing seed money, office space and staffing to help launch and run the institute, which the group’s former president, Wally Snyder, will head as executive director.
“I’ve been concerned about this issue my whole life,” former Procter & Gamble Global Marketing Officer Bob Wehling, and an advisor to the new institute, said. “I’ve seen so many people shade the truth. This is my profession, and I feel like it’s being desecrated by so many people.”

I can’t quite see an institute housed in a university having much sway over an industry that doesn’t report to them. Who knows, maybe the professors can guilt trip us ad pros into changing our ways. Not! Change happens on a case by case basis, and is totally dependent on the personal beliefs and experiences of the agency principals involved.
“A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something,” Bill Bernbach said. Exactly. And not many agency principals are in the game to take a hit, they’re in it to win it. Of course, winning means different things to different people. For some, it really is all about the cash. Others genuinely want to use their skills for the greater good.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.