Advertising during a pandemic?

I sit in quarantine and turn on the TV. While being pummeled with news reports of death, dying, desperation and depression, I’m bombarded with bright lights and cheery marketing messages.  “Drive this car and enjoy life.”  “Drink this soda and you’ll smile.” “Eat this burger and happiness will fill your belly.”

Feel bad-feel good. Frown-smile. Cry-laugh. We talk about roller-coaster emotions but this is ups and downs with built-in commercial breaks.

Unemployment has exploded. An economic depression is looming. Images of mass burials in the middle of New York City assault our senses.

As a marekting professional, teacher of advertising, and a consumer, I undertand perfectly the necessity for businesses to sell their products and services, even in these horrendous times.

But as a human being I feel violated by the pursuit of profit. I make my living creating advertising and instructing students on composing effective messages.  I am conflicted.

I can’t stop watching the news if I want to be a responsible citizen. I can try to ignore the advertising but that would be acting irresponsibly as a professional marketer.

Talk about a disconnect. Yes, I am conflicted.



About nhbrownlee

Advertising copywriter, Creative Director and state of New York college professor. I love true stories. Who doesn't?
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