The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When Doing Good Ends Up Being Bad …
April 25, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Awards, Corporate Evil, Culture, Only In Adland

So recently I judged a massive amount of effectiveness papers.

A massive amount.

And while there were some excellent submissions – and, sadly, a fair amount of terrible ones – the thing that struck me overall was that it appears Indian marketing is stuck in a ‘do good’ inflation race with itself.

As I’ve always been someone who has advocated the potential for brands to make a difference to their community, you’d think I’d be very happy about this, however when so much of it comes across as contrived, forced, exploitive – or worse – desperately trying to ‘one-up’ the competition without any real thought to what the audience needs – just what they want them to have – you end up feeling disillusioned by the end of it.

Not only that, but I have to question how effective these sorts of campaigns can be when it seems every brand in every category is basically doing the same thing.

As I said, left me feeling disillusioned and I appreciate that’s amazing given it came from reading countless papers about doing good, but I guess that’s another thing advertising is brilliant at doing.


27 Comments so far
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As I hope to say later this week to a CMO who bangs on about this – if customers were concerned about this, then there wouldn’t be sweatshops and disposable fashion.

Comment by john

This is just marketing’s latest iteration of greenwashing.

Comment by john

I wish this wasn’t the case, but sadly it is. And anyway, doing good should be a human’s default position, not a badge of honour or a comemrcial quid pro quo.

Comment by john

The amount of brands that seem to approach their ’cause’ with a 12 month timeline frightens me. Actually there’s worse … it’s the brands that do a one-off stunt – often linked to some religious festival – and then claim they were doing their bit for culture, disgusts me. Especially when their ‘act’ is so self-serving as to be ridiculous.

Fortunately not all brands do this, some genuinely give a shit and have shown it year after year.

As I’ve said before, I believe brands have the capability to help society while helping themselves [there’s no point doing something if they can’t make money because then they will stop doing it], but doing an ad campaign is not the answer, doing an ad campaign that is linked to a new approach for the way they conduct their business – and what they do with their profits – is the answer.

With the award entries I judged, most didn’t do this. Some did, but sadly, with so many jumping on the bandwagon they pioneered, their acts are now lost in a sea of “god-complex” positionings.

Comment by Rob

If they really cared, they would change their business practice not purely their advertising.

Comment by George

Oh, you already said it. Bugger.

Comment by Rob

As you always have said Rob, making money is a good thing for companies because it allows them to do good things with it. But the key is how they did it and what they did with it once they got it and I am assuming from your post, this is where the submissions you judged left a lot to be desired.

Comment by Pete

And so did you. I should read all the comments before I start ranting and raving. Or just leave you guys to give my answers. You do it better than I do for a start. Ha.

Comment by Rob

youre reading fucking ad award submissions, what else do you expect them to do, write the fucking truth. if they did that theyd have to write “we put out some more bland bollocks but our media spent and distribution power meant we could brainwash the fuckers into submission and dictate price and access with the retailers so our sales went up.”

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by George

Yes. Ironically, I’d probably prefer that as an entry. The way they’re all written now is more dramatic than a Michael Bay movie trailer and more fiction than a Harry Potter novel.

Comment by Rob

Or they make some statement advertising to hide they’re an average product charging you top dollar and taking all the cash to launch brands that are the opposite of the values they say they have. Dove and Axe anyone?

Comment by DH

I don’t think Robert think much of Dove’s claims either David.

Comment by George

Don’t get me started …

Comment by Rob

And Happy Birthday Andy. Did you get my present?

And yes, I did send one which is more than you did for me.

Comment by Rob

Happy birthday boss.

Comment by DH

i did. you fucking smartarse. wheres the fucking money?

Comment by andy@cynic

It is not your birthday until tomorrow Andrew.

Comment by George

that gives you a few more fucking hours to get me a fucking great present then.

Comment by andy@cynic

Happy pre-birthday Andy.

Comment by Pete

I am sure you have not forgotten than I am buying you an excellent lunch tomorrow Andrew. And there will be wine.

Comment by Lee Hill

where the fucking presents?

Comment by andy@cynic

Happy official birthday Andy.

Comment by Pete

i dont want your thanks i want your cash.

Comment by andy@cynic

[…] was longer than the initial round of judging and [2] some entries encapsulate what I ranted about here … my pain is going to be your gain. But on the bright side, at least I get to ensure anything […]

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[…] saying you care and committing to it are – sadly – very different things which is why it’s kind […]

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