Why Focus on Social and Political Issues? Part 1
Why has the advertising industry come to focus on social and political issues instead of selling products?
This reflects an overall societal trend. Attitudes towards capitalism are becoming more negative. Conventional wisdom is that it’s unethical to do something only for money. When I left my corporate job to go back to school for something that was a passion project, I got a lot of admiring comments, people saying “I wish I could do that.”
The idea of a job being soul-killing because you’re doing what someone else wants you to do has become common. No longer is it seen as admirable to contribute to a larger enterprise.
Nonprofit work is respected, but it’s also recognized that nonprofits don’t pay very well. In order to support a family, you need to work at a for-profit company.
At the same time, employment in large companies is increasing. Large companies are dominating whole sectors of the economy. They provide attractive benefits and stability. I know I appreciate the benefits I got from working at two major multinational companies.
Having the profit-making brand you work on take a stand on a social issue allows people to feel they’re contributing as they might in a non-profit way, while still getting the benefits from working on a for-profit venture — kind of like having your cake and eating it too. It’s a form of “virtue signaling.” It says, “See, I care too!”
That’s how the overall trends support this shift in the field. Next week, I’ll detail the history of this issue, specifically in marketing. Be sure to subscribe to my blog on this website. so you don’t miss an entry.
And don’t forget the webinar on social and political issues on Aug 29 at 10 a.m. NYC time.