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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 27 2012: I wholeheartedly agree that "being a force of good" needs to be embedded in a company's culture and long term vision. The Nike Foundation is a good example. As I referenced in a previous comment, there was a great article recently in the Harvard Business Review titled "How Great Companies Think Differently". It talks about how successful companies balance short term financial goals and long term societal benefits.

      http://hbr.org/2011/11/how-great-companies-think-differently/ar/1

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