Social Doesn’t Just Mean Media

Love him or hate him, Bill Clinton made a hell of a lot of sense speaking at the Cannes ad festival on June 21. His message was simple: Use your power to communicate to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

In looking at graduate advertising programs, and speaking to professors and students alike, Southern Methodist University’s Temerlin Advertising Institute stands out in this regard. Program director, Dr. Carrie LaFerle, made clear to me that one of the cornerstones of TAI’s program is social responsibility. She truly believes that “the new generation of advertising professionals believe it’s okay to succeed, but not at any cost.” The program instills in its students respect for the consumers they will serve and accountability for the culture they will help shape.

Clinton emphasized society’s need for honest, synthesized communication and Adland’s power to create just that. In a landscape that is increasingly global, enabled by technology, and overwhelmed with choices, communicators’ influence is greater than ever before. Focused messages, good or bad, reach consumers faster and permeate deeper. Advertisers have a responsibility to acknowledge the new socially and globally conscious consumer, and to use their unique tools as a force for social change.

Advertisers shift toward social media has served consumers and brands well – a similar shift toward social consciousness will undoubtedly do the same.

The more I think about it, the more I realize this is actually important to me – there’s too much negativity, too much lying, and too many messages that poison consumers’ thoughts, and too often in the case of women and adolescents, confidence. To be able to make a positive impact by doing something I love? What could be better?



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