By Melina Filippidou
At the end of the day no one dies
I didn’t always want to work in advertising. A few years ago, when my focus was on journalism, I used to think that advertisers are a bunch of heartless, corporate jerks that get paid to deceive and mess with people’s minds. Turns out so are journalists, plus people’s minds aren’t that innocent to begin with. Then I saw Mad Men and thought that advertisers are just narcissists who can be creative when they drink. Then I came to SCA and thought that advertisers, no matter what they are, need to remember what they do.
I love listening to brilliant minds of the industry talking about what drives them. I usually find their definitions of advertising quite inspiring and honest: The curse of creativity, the need to change things, the desire to improve anything that surrounds us, they all sound exactly like what my generation needs to hear and get motivated by. But for me, none of these makes advertisers heroes. Can we say that we are disruptive? Of course. Can we say that we contribute to culture? Sure. Can we say that we tackle taboos? Absolutely. Can we say that we make the world better? I wouldn’t go that far.
We are supposed to make brands look good and occasionally that includes giving them a good cause. But it’s not like we start a revolution. It’s 2018 and if history has taught us one thing is that when people actually decide and try to change lives and make the world a better place they pay with pain, blood, losses, jail time. Unconditional sacrifices for a non- negotiable purpose. Our world’s pathogenies and injustices are all results of a flawed yet well-established socioeconomic system. Brands, as much as advertising, are a fundamental part and at the service of that system. The way I see it, the communication industry may give us the means to trigger significant changes but lacks the purpose. So we’re usually stuck with beautiful, good-causy campaigns that cannot get rid of the stigma of hypocrisy.
To make a long story short, people may be great at what they do but this doesn’t necessarily mean that what they do is great. I keep reminding this to myself as often as possible, because sometimes living in our own little branded world can be misleading and make us believe that we are more important than we actually are. We all seek different things in advertising and in life; a load of money, a sense of approval, a genuine purpose or just having some fun. No matter what we’re looking for in this business, let’s just be humble about it, stay honest to ourselves and keep an eye on those egos. As James Lowther has put it, «it’s advertising. At the end of the day no one dies”.