No More: Ethical Advertising

Guest Post by: Tessa Danielson

Since the invention of marketing products and ideas to mass audiences, strategy has become an integral part of mass communication. Advertising and commercial communication have evolved into a very complicated and much studied form of human interaction. With this growth and evolution of the strategy and implementation of communicating to mass audiences has come the issues of ethics and social responsibility. What do advertisers owe the public in terms of social responsibility? Should they be held accountable and be expected to follow a code of ethical conduct when it comes to communicating to large audiences? Does social responsibility even have a role in mass communication such as advertisements? Would having socially responsible communicators even make a difference in terms of society at large? B Danielson

With these questions in mind, I ask you to consider what the world could be like if the creative minds behind brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney, or Apple, created communication campaigns for ethical issues such as climate change, human trafficking, or the importance of vaccines. What could be different and what could change if the public were bombarded with strategic messages not about cars, shoes, and junk food, but about enacting social change in a responsible and ethical way? This is where No More is becoming a part of the newest step in the evolution of strategic communication: using their creative and strategic skill set in order to inform mass audiences and to call them to action. By creating a campaign focused on enacting social change, the advertisers involved with the No More campaign have stepped up and are using their skills to forward an ethical cause – regardless of whether communicators have an obligation to act according to ethical conduct or not.

The No More campaign and organization is aiming to end domestic violence by spreading awareness. No More wants to both prevent instances and support victims of domestic violence by spreading their message to mass audiences. The campaign is both strategic and creative in design and reach and has gained a lot of attention since airing a commercial on the Superbowl (a day, by the way, which is notorious for a spike in domestic abuse). By using a shocking commercial featuring a real call to the police from a woman experiencing domestic violence, No More has forwarded their campaign and used strategic communication for an ethical cause. This is the next step in the evolution of strategic mass communication.

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Whether consumers have asked for ethical conduct from advertising or not, I would be willing to bet that it soon will be demanded. It will no longer be enough to merely use ethics as a mean to create an end in the form of an advertisement. Society will soon demand that, the No More campaign and others like it, strategic communication be used as a mean to reach the end of social responsibility in brands.

Sad Loses for Journalism

Last week was a sad week. So much wisdom and talent lost.

Bob Simon, one of the few scholar reporters, was lost in an instant to a tragic auto accident as he prepared a “60 Minutes” piece on Ebola treatment. On seeing Mandela walk free Simon once said, “He was elegant and funny and gracious and I thought maybe he can do it… Not wanting the murder the people who sent you there. That’s the measure of Nelson Mandela.

David Carr collapsed in the New York Times newsroom after surviving addiction and cancer to become one of the wisest voices in the news. Of journalism Carr said, “Being a journalist… it’s a grand, grand caper. You get to leave, go talk to strangers, ask them anything, come back, type up their stories, edit the tape. That’s not gonna retire your loans as quickly as it should, and it’s not going to turn you into a person who’s worried about what kind of car they should buy, but that’s kind of as it should be. I mean, it beats working.”

Jon Stewart, after 17 years on The Daily Show, suddenly announced he’s signing off, taking his wise and wry wit with him. Recalling his work Stewart said, You just have to keep trying to do good work, and hope that it leads to more good work. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. Yes, I want to look back and know that I was terrible at a variety of things.”

Brian William, the iconic NBC news anchor, painfully plods toward his own demise until he is sentenced to six-months without pay, not nearly enough for the trust he broke. Williams once remarked, “A person starts dying when they stop dreaming.” Maybe he dreamed too much.

Indeed it was a dark week for journalism. But from these long shadows brilliant and yet unknown young journalist will arise. And they will raise those to be remembered up and into the light – and let those that need fall back into the shadows.

Jean