Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Religion and advertising.

I'm getting tired of this.

Almost a decade and a half ago, I was asked to lead the integration efforts on the biggest account in one of the world's biggest agencies. The benefits and the how-tos of integration seemed obvious to me then yet, today, twelve years later, we are still plagued by segregationists. (One way I had of leading this effort was to co-opt the language of the American Civil Rights movement. No one wanted to be called a TV-Supremacist or a segregationist. Calling them thus at least gave them pause.)

I was listening to a report this morning on NPR on the elections in Egypt. A lot of it concerned the popularity of the Egyptian political group The Muslim Brotherhood. The brotherhood, according to Wikipedia believes that the Koran is the "sole reference point for ...ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state." This, of course, appeals little to vast swaths of Egypt's population. Secular Muslims, Coptic Christians (roughly 10% of the state's population) and other minorities. It occurred to me while listening that most agencies are run by the advertising equivalent of the Brotherhood.

That is, they believe that their chosen medium is the "sole reference point for ...ordering the life of communications..."

Religious fervor, as far as I'm concerned, has no place in national politics. It certainly has no place in advertising agencies.

Yet, when you look around, it's all you see. Most agencies have a media axe to grind. Their particular media religion is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and all-influencing.

They are Zealots in persecuting and slandering adherents of other media religions. Those "others" haven't found the "one true way." They haven't seen the light.

Pluralism, a blending of views, thoughts, attitudes and beliefs, for all its faults, makes more sense than strict dogma. It's obvious to me. And always has been.


dave trott said...

Luckily George I think that's one problem we don't have over here.
As I tell my NY friends, all the religious fundamentalists left England on The Mayflower.

Unknown said...

It's partly to do with size. The size of USA as a huge market, and the fact that most everything here is very compartmentalized. Everyone is an expert in narrow field. More people doing a little part of a job each.
What one or two people do in Europe, takes several people here. While smaller markets simply never could afford that luxury.
Thus, many European countries long ago naturally embraced a more holistic approach in integrating digital.