Adman Fired for Exhibiting Tiny Scruple

bogusky This gent here — dig the name, Orwell fans — is Alex Bogusky, ad agency ex-wonder boy (who’s 47, of course).  Mr. Bogusky sold his small marketing consulting firm to a larger corporate parent agency a few years back.  Now, he has been essentially fired because he holds and publicly reveals views such as these:

As we took on the BK account, we politely offered that we could not work on that part of their marketing. And in subsequent years we declined multiple invitations to work on the kids’ business. Once one of our adult spots for ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ (hard to believe, but young adults love Sponge Bob) was repurposed and re-edited by another agency to add toy footage and aired on Nick. I was livid and we got it pulled.

“It’s not a matter of the rightness or wrongness of the products being advertised. That is a grey [ed. note: note the hip Brit spelling and Mr. B’s lack of said color on his equally hip mane] area. But there are children and there are adults. And the duty of adults in society is to protect its children. And that is black and white.”

Such are the institutional strictures of professional marketing.  The lords of the universe tolerate no dissent, no matter how puny and peripheral.

Oxymoron of the Week: Institute for Advertising Ethics

ashtray ROFLMFAO.  According to Advertising Age, “the American Advertising Foundation is teaming up with the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute this week to launch an Institute for Advertising Ethics.”

Led by an apparently undiagnosed Alzheimer’s victim named Wally Snyder, the new Institute aims, of course, not for the inherently impossible and ridiculous — honest advertising.  That is a pure oxymoron, as the entire point of modern corporate marketing is scientifically crafted deception.

What the new Institute wants to achieve instead is, of course again, “building consumer trust and brand loyalty in the new global and digital economy” by getting “[t]he advertising industry [to] take a proactive stance on ethics.”  Advertising advertising, in other words.

The promise?  In Wally Snyder’s words, “research reported by the Wall Street Journal showed that consumers are willing to pay more for an ethically produced product.”  Translation:  If you can trick people into thinking your trickery is honesty, you can trick them even better.

Meanwhile, the American public remains dangerously mis-informed on this topic.  Ad Age reports:

In a 2007 Gallup/USA Today Poll, advertising practitioners ranked third from last among professions in public perception of honesty and ethics, just ahead of lobbyists and car salesmen.

When it comes to dishonesty and manipulation, lobbyists and car salesmen are mere dabblers compared to corporate marketers.