I was watching a re-run of How I Met Your Mother the other day. In an episode called ‘Garbage Island’, Marshall, besieged with guilt for not having realised his dream of becoming an environmental lawyer yet, decides to make a presentation to the board of his company with the recommendation to invest $12 million towards cutting their carbon footprint in half. The boss says they already spent that much money on an event for charity recently, and he even got to meet Sting in the bargain, so he didn’t think there was any point in spending that much money again even if, as Marshall said, cutting their carbon footprint in half is what would really make a difference to the world.
So much advertising we see is reminiscent of misguided clients like that. It’s all about the pomp and show rather than making a real difference. It’s high time this perception changed – and it’s why I really like John Willshire’s ‘make things people want’ rather than ‘make people want things’ philosophy. Stuart’s tweet below is a tongue-in-cheek remark, but not completely off the mark either.