Pick A Team

Some people are very principled when it comes to advertising.

For example, I know of directors who refuse to shoot McDonalds scripts because of their disapproval of how they believe that company has treated rainforests etc. (whilst happily taking Nike scripts when they made sweat-shop kiddies sew their footballs together for tuppence an hour).

Then there are the many people who will not touch cigarette advertising because of the apparent evils inherent in promoting something so unhealthy and addictive (whilst happily promoting alcoholic beverages that are equally damaging, if not more so).

Then there are the companies who will not advertise children’s toys that encourage the kiddies to pester their impoverished parents into buying things they can’t afford (whilst happily advertising certain child-centric brands of crisps and other junk food, which are unnecessary, unhealthy and ultimately a waste of money, whether the parents are impoverished or not).

Anyway, that aside, I thought it might be a good idea to point out what ultimately happens when you work in advertising.

Say, for example, you work on Wrangler. What you are doing is joining ‘Team Wrangler’ to get a person who wants a pair of trousers to buy Wrangler over Levi’s, Farah, Top Shop etc.

When you advertise Amnesty International, you are basically joining ‘Team Amnesty’ to send someone’s charity donations in their direction rather than that of Oxfam, NSPCC or War on Want.

And when you advertise The Sun, you are joining ‘Team The Sun’ to make people choose that tabloid over The Mirror/Star/Sport etc.

The effect is mainly that of brand choice, not ultimate market growth. However, even if you did get people to spend more money on jeans overall, that money is always going to come at the expense of companies who would otherwise receive it for their own goods or services.

And that’s why this post has the title ‘Pick A Team’. You are spending your time, intellect and energy to help someone out at the expense of someone else.

Now, are you sure you want to help Tesco over Safeway? Volvo over Ford? Marmite over Golden Shred?

Because that’s what you’re doing.

Every minute of your working day you are picking a team and fighting for it.

Which might be worth bearing in mind when you think about the principles you apply to the work you take on.