Advertising for Good
Advertising has been used to prompt us to part with our money for everything from chia pets to make-more-money schemes. Newer, shinier, fresher, it’s all been proclaimed in magazine, radio and television ads. Remember “whiter than white”? Wow!
So imagine, if you can, that we could turn advertising on it’s head, using it to prompt us, encourage us, entice us to do the very things that would do us the most good.
Instead of watching chocolate oozing, cars zoom-zooming or diamonds dazzling, imagine if we turned the wit and artistry of advertising to noble ends: to encourage us to be the best of ourselves. Imagine ads that promote kindness, patience and courage. Imagine ads that show us how beautiful generosity is and how appealing humility can be.
Since I started doing radio back in April 2012, I’ve been ending each show with a segment on Good News and another on Inspiration, encouraging listeners to think about what one thing they can do differently for themselves or to help someone else. Imagine if instead of consuming we choose to share, instead of rushing to buy we offered to help, and instead of making much ado about the kind of car we drove or the clothes we wore, we focused on the content of our characters.
If you imagine that consumerism has become yet another form of worship, then the way to counter the influence advertising has had on our desire to aspire is to make it work both sides of the street: it can sell stuff, but it also has to pay it’s dues by encouraging, enthralling, enlightening us to aim for the best we can be.
I’ve long believed that what our ears hear our brains believe, and perhaps our eyes can be used to train our hearts.
Wouldn’t it be great too see how saving money makes for a beautiful and stress free life? How about ads that showed people happy to sacrifice one thing to have another? Or an ad that addresses the concept of acceptance of self? Why do these ideas get relegated to PSAs (public service announcements)? They should be as important as selling the next fashion accessory or computer model.
I’m not holding my breath that ad agencies are going to come rushing forward to do good with their considerable talent and influence, but wouldn’t it be lovely if we spent time fixing up our insides as we do decorating our outsides?
What do you think?