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Laura Desmond

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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 24 2012: I absolutely adore advertising, because for me, it is first of all an expression of creativity. And of course it is used in both good and bad ways - you have drinkaware campaigns to educate people, and campaigns promoting random crap you don't need. However, it's not about the advertising - I mean, I love a well-done campaign, even if it's for something I stand against. It's about making the right choices as a society. I mean, COME ON!, we know better than to buy stuff we don't need, most of us can see through advertising and realise that we're not bound to agree with it nor listen to it. And if you consciously make the choice to not be influenced by external stimulators.

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