Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Where have all the scruples gone?

Where have all the scruples gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the scruples gone?
Long time ago?
Money's killed them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

From a strictly speaking adverting POV, the work that Ogilvy & Mather's did for BP--positioning them as a green, beyond petroleum company is masterful. The logo itself is one of the best. And the face the advertising put on this evil, rapacious company made them seem human, respectful and forward-thinking.

Even after 15 people died from a negligence-fomented blast in Texas, BP was happy and cuddly. Turns out--surprise surprise--they were Adolph Hitler in a Teletubby outfit.

I'm not sure where Ogilvy's responsibility lays in all this. They did their job. But, if memory serves, this is the same agency that once turned down tobacco accounts for ethical reasons. The one whose founder proclaimed "The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife." ie Speak to the consumer, as you'd speak to your spouse, with intelligence and candor.

I'm not sure where the network clearance people were in approving all this advertising. I've been asked for back-up to claims a lot less suspicious (and it turns out spurious) that BP's "Beyond Petroleum." That isn't beyond petroleum destroying the environment, folks.

I'm not sure where the advertising journalists were.

I'm not sure where WPP stockholders were.

I'm not sure about what we can do about BP, their flouting of regulation, of truth, of anything but profit.

Not sure what we as ad people can do when we are asked to do something in support of the goals bad companies. We have kids to put through college. Mortgages to pay. To lose your job over morals?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Google "Great Pacific Garbage Patch".
Read about the number of albatross that die in pain having swallowed plastic bottle lids. Read about the plastic breaking down into tiny pieces such that there's more plastic than plankton in some areas, which is entering the food chain.

Anyone who works on Coke, Pepsi, bottled water, bottled juice, etc. is as amoral as anyone working on cigarettes. At least cigarettes mostly kill only humans.

There's no room for morals in advertising. If you have a conscience, you don't work in this industry as it's all about flogging shit to people they mostly don't need.

eileenerb said...

What is it they say? Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising?

Tore Claesson said...

In essence if you have scruples it's hard to work ANY job nowadays. It's hard to live a pure life. Maybe we should all become Amish?

geo said...

I do not wish to join the Amish
No matter what, they don't get Famish.

Anonymous said...

The blood of every man who died in that Gulf oil rig disaster is on the hands of everyone who worked at Ogilvy while O&M had the BP account, including me.

Anonymous said...

Current events in the Gulf of Mexico have exposed BP as just like all of the other incompetent, greedy, big oil companies. If anyone was stupid enough to believe all of that brilliant work Ogilvy did to make them seem all warm and fuzzy and environmentally conscious, it's almost certain they don't believe now.

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