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Win win, who’s left to lose? – By @CharlesHueWill1

Win win, who’s left to lose?

We have had some pretty incredible Masterclasses recently, two of which particularly resonated because they provoked some interesting questions. 

The incredible Sir John Hegarty pointed out that advertising is in fact the most distrusted industry and are we really that surprised? 

Based on a culture of ‘we sell or we die,’ it is understandable that there is an inherent distrust associated with advertising. Just ask yourself, how far would you go if it meant your survival? I would expect most responses to be, ‘as far as necessary.’ 

Sir John clarified that the way to approach this distrust was to instead promote from a position of truth. Key into areas that can’t be accused of swaying the public eye in a deceitful way, because they are born from honest positions, which the brands have always upheld. 

Another great talk we had was from the illustrious Steve Henri, who also illuminated that advertising was too driven by financial greed. He highlighted the prospects of using it as a tool to help, beyond the realm of charity but actually getting brands to change their ways for the better and improve the world in the process. 

This however is where the dilemma emerges, for me. I completely agree with both of these viewpoints and relish the idea that advertising can be used for a bigger picture. We are in the business of communicating globally, which is essentially an ideal space to share ideas that insight a positive change or new way of thinking. Equally though our communications need to be real and although we are given a budget to speak on behalf of these brands, unless things are going really badly, we don’t have permission for a complete remodel. Where therefore do you draw the line? 

As long as the brand wins, the idea wins, this is a given. Therefore if an idea can produce a legitimate benefit, it should be a win win allround? The problem is, unless a brand has a right to help, their help is deemed as wrong. This is understandable for a simple gesture of goodwill but should it be the same if the opportunity to really can help? 

If a brand has never ventured into that space before but the creatives leading the charge are able to get them there, even if only for a moment, should that opportunity be shunned? Just because it hasn’t been in the CEO’s past interests, but on this occasion a creative has changed their mind. Yes by offering them a win, but by making sure the World wins too, should one really complain? Many times I have heard, ‘they’ve never done that before, so why do they have a right to start now?’ Should anyone need a right to help though? To do real, tangible good? 

As demonstrated in many hero plot lines, sometimes people are at their best, when they have no need to get involved but choose to do so, ensuring the benefit of others. As creatives we are not able to change the whole system but should that stop us from trying to do good along the way? Is that really a bad thing? 

As an audience, if we refuse to accept brands’ attempts at improving the world, are we therefore not just encouraging them to continue along the corporate path that we equally despise? 

An idea doesn’t always come from a brand’s necessity to make money. It is approved because it does so, but it may well have been born from a hope to do good. A belief in an opportunity to create change. A single cog trying to manipulate a far larger system for the benefit of the world. 

Perhaps through our own beliefs in who has the right to do a good thing, we ourselves are condemning the world to lose, because we can’t accept that everyone should win? 

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