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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 19 2012: Your original post brought to mind Amy Lockwood's TED Talk, in which she discusses how condoms are advertised and sold in the Congo, and how the government/big brand sponsored programs have a worse time distributing free condoms compared to generic condom brands, who see profits. It's an interesting video that touches on taboo, culture, and the ways that organizations can adjust their advertisements to help their consumers. Check it out! http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/amy_lockwood_selling_condoms_in_the_congo.html
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      Jan 24 2012: Thanks for sharing. Understanding your audience is rule #1 for advertising, and I find it especially interesting in this context. It’s a good reminder for advertisers whose ambition is to do good, that they must remember to desires of the audience whom they want to do good for.

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