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Laura Desmond

TEDCRED 50+

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Can advertising be both a force for commerce AND a force for good?

People love to say they hate advertising – and in many ways, I think we've earned our bad reputation (which might sound strange coming from the CEO of the largest media agency in the world). Personally, I believe that advertising has a responsibility to be more informative, more relevant, and more reliable in helping people navigate the landscape of choices in their lives. At the same time, we have to honor our commitment and responsibility to our client partners to grow their businesses and build their brands. In your view, what advertisers are doing the best job of serving this dual role in a genuine way? What are some examples you've seen, both past and present, that demonstrate being a force for good as well as a force for business? What more can be done in this space?

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    Jan 14 2012: To tell you the truth I can't think of any advertisers that are serving both roles in a genuine way. Is there something I'm not seeing?
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      Jan 18 2012: Hi Austin. I’ve just posted a video on this topic via Ted’s youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/tedaws?x=us_showcasephase2_8498_27
      In the video, I talk about a couple recent campaigns – Secret’s “Mean Stinks” and Coca-Cola’s “Arctic White-out” – that I think do a good job of blending “good” and commerce. I’d love for you to check out the video and then let me know your thoughts.
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        Jan 18 2012: I like the examples you give. Tell you the truth, I had never seen an ad of the "Arctic White-out" campaign or any of the "Mean Stinks". I may have grown very cynical of advertising. I usually chose to ignore it. However, if I think about it, recent anti-smoking ads in magazines and on TV have had a huge impact on the perception of smoking, informing the potential and current smokers of its dangers. That would be an example of advertising as a force for good.

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