We’ve had a good run of ad disasters lately, haven’t we? Nivea inadvertently flirted with white supremacy and Pepsi trivialized a century or so of nonviolent protest with the aid of a Kardashian. Last week McDonalds UK tried to sell Filets-O-Fish (Filet-O-Fishes?) on the backs of dead dads.
After picking up their jaws, the first question most right-thinking people ask is “who the hell let this happen?” As most ad agency vets can attest, ideas often snowball before anyone can put a stop to them. Usually, these snowballs simply hit the side of a barn; they tend to result in campaigns or ads that made sense to a small group of people in a conference room but not in the real world. A career-minded sort (not judging) gains nothing by voicing qualms about them.
However, when an idea has the potential to become explosively damaging, everyone has the responsibility to stand up and strongly advise restraint. As an example, let me share the time I helped prevent an agency from re-fighting WWII.
One would think this would be hard to forget