The Good Life 2030: a world without advertisers

I felt nervous if I’m honest, and left it to the last minute to create my submission for this gem of a project by Purpose Disruptors. The burning question in my soul was How can we make marketers more creative before we hit the hot 1.5 ºC?


But how will we shape public opinion, how will we sell our products! ADVERTISING PAYS FOR YOUR BLOODY EDUCATION are you mad??!

That kind of panic makes activists laugh, while imaging a post-corporate world, where all the advertising budget and resources that is a waste of creative time and money, used to sell toxic products or promote polluting industries – would instead be going into projects to build utopian cities, communities instead of the consumerist dystopia our industry feels uncomfortable even talking about. 

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Rational: Rant more like … 

Consumerism is not a trend or a way of life. It is a fundamental violation of multiple human and environmental rights. Advertising stops us caring about human rights and the environment. Advertising undermines our care for each other and our environment by appealing to our insecurities, our need for approval, security or social status. 
But now, some advertisers have come to realise that appealing to our good nature will help them sell more stuff, too. But Buying from ‘sustainable’ fashion brands isn’t the best way to reduce the human and environmental cost of fashion; buying less is.
Advertising damages human rights and the environment in multiple ways. Direct negative impacts include gender stereotyping, dominance of corporate narratives and world views, blots on the community and environment that advertisers refer to as ‘street furniture’, greenhouse gas emissions and car accidents through digital billboards, promotion of materialistic values. The list of reasons to delete advertising go on; freedom of information and expression is violated by misleading advertising, freedom of thought is violated by subconscious manipulation by advertising, best interests of children are violated by junk food advertising, freedom from slavery is violated by advertising created by fast fashion brands, the right to a sustainable environment is violated by promoting excessive consumption which worsens climate change and pollution. The advertising industry should help us to support human rights, and make ethical choices. But instead advertisers promote careless marketing to children, normalising violence, sexualised behaviour and body image ideals. They continue to engage in irresponsible food marketing promoting unhealthy food, encouraging tonnes of waste and environmental damage.

When will this corporate behaviour end? Global advertising campaigns promote an authoritarian ideal of perfect consumer capitalism, ironically while the world is in climate chaos, ironically while we endure austerity and slave-like cost of living. Capitalism functions perfectly well without democracy as it happens. We’ve all worked it out – that advertising has eroded cultural diversity and left us in an economic crisis at the beginning of the 21st Century, those who do not accept that are complicit. Advertising revenue dwarfs resources for human rights. In 2020, advertisers globally spent $557.3 billion, largely promoting consumption. This is 14 times the $40 billion needed in 2020 to support record levels of global humanitarian assistance. 
A world without advertisers is a world focused on building & strengthening communities, communities that desperately need and deserve help from a creative industry run by a top 10% who are still very busy selling us shit we don’t need, while their OOH partner companies harvest and sell the public’s data with their smart street furniture“. for those that don’t know, that’s the real oil in this story. 

My submission to this brief, is a complete rejection of every brand name in the brief from D&AD to JCDefaux. I hope you will all understand why I take this side of history instead of theirs after 17 years working in advertising, some of us know better who to trust when it comes to creative responsibility.

There’s still some confidence among the creative industry locals that advertisers are people worthy of the responsibility to lead change, especially now there’s an opportunity to do so with the rise of fascism and the continuing political apathy that has endorsed it; brands see an opportunity to led the public where politicians have failed it seems. As far as I’m concerned, evil has triumphed because bad creatives on mass have done nothing much but sell us Nike & Burger King for 50 years and ignored all calls to radicalise since 1964.  Burger King who D&AD and Cannes and all the rest still award like its groundhog day in corporeal paradise. So how we all got to the conclusion that advertisers could be change makers in here, or anywhere, remains a mystery looking at the most recent public confidence polls.


& if subvertisers made adverts …
they would probably be     the best adverts in the world. 


Cheers! 👍 


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