Where is Alex’s chorus? Or the triangle of ad deprevity.

Imagine a triangle. On one side is pushing tobacco. The other side is glamorizing gambling. And the last side is exploiting children. When I started my career this was the terrain I promised myself I would never work. And I never have. And, frankly, my moral compass hasn’t wavered much through the years.

But I’ve never run a half-billion-dollar agency and had to balance these concerns against billings and still stand up for my beliefs. Although, Alex Bogusky may get too much praise for being a genius when many of those awards came from  the 80 hour work weeks of his creative staff. But he deserves it for what he’s doing now. Speaking out now about what’s bankrupt in our industry.

Ironically, all the praise that was lavished on him for busting his ass and grinding his employees into doing Cannes-winning work has dried up now that he’s voicing his conscious.  Seems we don’t really like whistle blowers too much. Press coverages says he “turns back,” and “disengages.” Aren’t you engaging when you offer a critical  assesent?

I’ve heard very little praise from industry leaders. Much less agreement that maybe he’s on to something. Probably the most positive things that have been said is “the industry will miss him.”

Maybe they’re scared their corporate masters will object or the press will call them hypocrites. Possibly they disagree. But I don’t hear any agency heads, creative directors or holding company boards saying he’s wrong.

What the good guys should be doing now is applauding and joining in a chorus with Alex. I’m but I minor voice in this industry but I’ll say Alex is right, “it’s the duty of adults in society is to protect it’s children.” (And don’t get me started on the Disney princesses.)

It’s understandable that folks are doing what they can to survive in the economy. Not everyone has banked the kinda cash that Alex has (me included) but the industry could probably benefit from a little more self reflection and so could the work. As it is much easier to be creative when you believe in what you’re doing.

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Posted on: August 3, 2010, by :