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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 25 2012: To each their own in terms of how they define good but I will give some more food for thought. Lets use online affiliate marketing/advertising as the example as there are many ads that have made me chuckle or provided minor entertainment but when clicked delivered a false promise. Therefore, if "good" encompasses entertainment or amusement then yes advertising can be a force for commerce and a force for good.

    Lets use a better example in beer commercials. Alcohol is a substances that is constantly abused and negatively affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year but I laugh and/or smile at almost every beer commercial I see.

    The major point I'm trying to make is that advertising/marketing is to increase sales. If the product, service, or cause your advertising happens to do "good" (however you define it) then you sleep easier at night.

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