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Do Marketers and Media Professionals Need Moral Clauses?
By: Emory Brown
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Ye without sin among you cast first…This is what Jesus said to the mob that wanted to stone a woman for committing adultery. And as we know, the mob had to find another unknowing victim to attack because Jesus put them on “The Spot” for acting as if they were above reproach. However, in the world of big marketing and media, we have brands throwing big stones at spokespeople all the time. Do we need a moral clause to help regulate our industry?

Moral… hmmm! Is this what every entertainer or athlete or celebrity strives for? I can see it now, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong comparing notes on their forth coming book The Art of Being Moral In The Spotlight. A Guide to Keeping Your Rep, Your Wife and Your Pockets Right. Come on, let's be realistic…spokespeople are only human. You know. One head, two eyes, ten fingers, ten toes. Human! 

Therefore, my question is: As marketers and media professionals, are we forgetting this fact in the face of news coverage and brand profits? Yes, we have to protect our brands. Yes, we have to report the news. Yes, we have to make sure certain actions are forbidden when interfacing with the brand as a representative. Yes, we have to protect our brands from being sued. Yes, we have the freedom of speech and the “Press” has the right to report the events of the day. But where is our moral compass?   

Have we become unconscious about protecting those who help us reach those record-breaking quarterly sales and bonuses? Those people who make the cover stories we write to sell newspapers, magazines, or drive traffic to our online media presences? We have to be careful at how we throw stones. I’m not endorsing wrongdoing, but some people are downright destroyed by their mistakes being made public. I felt bad for poor Tiger Woods after his infidelity was made public, he lost his wife, his family, endorsements, came in 93rd in the 2011 PGA tour. You know he had to be devastated. We’re talking about the Zen Master of all things that require grass, rods, and little white balls to play.

We all make mistakes. Is being human a reason to be humiliated publicly in the face of your family, friends, and children for what happened in your personal life? Remember Robert Downey, Jr. was once a drug addict and now he’s the face of the superhero that our kids want be: Iron Man. Maybe we need to remember that all our superheroes have weakness. In the real world kryptonite could be lust, love, money, fame, drugs, power, or political views, to name a few. Something that any human can fall victim to at any time!


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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