Think advertising is a crooked and deceptive business? Think Again.

Time after time I hear misinformed individuals talk about how corporate advertising is the devil. They say that TV commercials and ad campaigns will suck out your soul and deceive you from the time you are born until the day that you die into believing you need things you don’t actually need and driving you to want more more more. Some have even gone so far to say that “Religious and cultural values are being eroded by the type of advertisements that are on TV today.” Well, that’s only one side to the story.

Although I’m only getting started in my career in the advertising business, I have experienced enough to understand that there is more to an advertising campaign than meets the eye. I have come to find that advertising can, in fact, have a positive impact on businesses, society, and individuals.

First, I would like to give you the example of Public Service Announcements (or PSA’s). These, my friends, are made by none other than advertising agencies. Yes, that’s right. Smokey the Bear, Rosie the Riveter, and many other popular campaigns for motivating change have been created by those who are damaging society and eroding religious and cultural values. If you don’t believe me, check out the Ad Council NYC website. The Ad Council is a group of people who set advertising agencies up with non-profit organizations to create campaigns for PSA’s, and make a difference using advertising to influence people. Take, for example, this TV commercial on adoption done by the Ad Council in NYC:

Is this a way of reframing the problems facing adoption and getting people to see it in a different way? Is this deception? What I think it is, is genius. But some might disagree.

Second, contrary to popular belief, ad campaigns can change the world. I think this video that I found on a recent Tweet from AdAge simply speaks for itself.

Are they tricking people into donating organs? Maybe. However, maybe all these people never knew they could become an organ donor, or didn’t know how, and using Sport Club Recife was a genius creative’s way to get their attention.

Third and finally, many people don’t know that there are such things as small local advertising agencies. The next new movement after going green is “buying local” something small advertising agencies have been persuading people to do for years now.

Last summer I was an intern at Dixon Schwabl, the top small company to work for in America, and local advertising gurus. They know  and are involved in literally everything that goes on in my hometown, Rochester, NY. While many agencies are quick to go after the big corporate fish, Dixon Schwabl found it’s niche in small clients and local businesses. With their philanthropic nature and their willingness to take on privately owned restaurants, local festivals, and small non-profits, they have been improving the city by showing Rochestarians the  true potential of the businesses in their community.

Dixon Schwabl is only one of many outstanding examples of local advertising agencies and how they improve a region. How do you think small businesses get the word out? They turn to advertising in their local communities. And in many cases, they hire the professionals from advertising agencies to get them started or to save their company in dire situations.

So, I hope I’ve shown you that advertising doesn’t always mean bringing sales and more revenue to multi-million dollar corporations. It’s not as cut and dry as producing consumers. Advertising is strategy, reframing, and improving the outlook of problems using creativity and bringing products, services, and issues to the attention of the public.

I hope I’ve convinced you. That is what advertising is all about, after all.

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