busting ads: what works, what doesn’t

every industry has its assigned seat at society’s table, including advertising, but each has to mind its manners. so although i sympathize with the adbuster mentality, when advertising grates and feels unwelcome, it’s more a case of shoddy strategy, ethics and work than an indicator of advertising as a whole. advertising is a necessity, and it can be a necessary evil or a necessary delight, depending on how it’s executed. whether promoting a local organic restaurant that grows its own food on the roof or promoting a massive global corporation, advertising should be aware of its own PR effect. for example, an alcohol brand that places a billboard in a deeply impoverished neighborhood runs of risk of appearing opportunistic at best, nefarious at worst. when advertising scores only this type of Pyrrhic victory, it needs to excuse itself from the communal table to freshen up before it returns.

when do you think advertising goes too far, or grows tiresome? what campaigns, if any, crossed your own personal boundaries and why?

kim taylor

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