I was reading something quite embarrassing on the weekend (I think it might have been the Style section of the Sunday Times), but there was something in it that I thought might be blogworthy:
I think it said that Alain de Boton tweeted that your job is worth doing if it reduces someone’s suffering or increases their joy.
And I suppose, by extension, that means your job is not worth doing if it does the opposite of those two things.
Both categories can of course encompass advertising.
Your work can annoy and degrade people. It can belittle them, make them feel awkward and inadequate; inspire insecurity, misery, bullying and fear. It can make people’s children resent them; it can promote obesity, indolence, ignorance and profligacy.
On the other hand, it can comfort, encourage, educate and broaden horizons. it can inspire creativity, make people realise their potentials, save lives and reduce suffering.
In almost every brief you have the choice to do one of the above, and that is a rare and wonderful privilege.
Striving for intelligence, tolerance, warmth, understanding and the promotion of the kinds of values that make the world a better place is a noble way to spend your working life.
Undermining any of that is wrong.
You only have a certain amount of time on this planet.
Perhaps this can all be distilled into a single simple phrase:
Don’t be a cunt.