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Of War and AdLand
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Advertising is not unfamiliar with conflict. War and advertising have gone hand in hand for decades. Back in the day, some may have called it propaganda. Others would have called it public information. Both groups could technically have been correct. 

Propaganda gets a negative connotation due to its improper use. Yes, the American father of public relations, Edward Bernays, was actually all for "proper" propaganda, and was against "impropaganda." It is unfortunate that the latter made more headlines.

But we digress.

Nations have used advertising to get their messages out to get the public behind the war effort, to let the masses know what is going on, and, overall, to boost nationalism. We know Uncle Sam was created to help bolster recruiting numbers. Rosie the Riveter was made to celebrate women's involvement by going into factories and working.

But where is our advertising once wars are over?

Example: the ad below was done by Y&R Israel for Natal, the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War.



According to Adland.tv, this ad is focusing on those who suffered from the 1973 Yom Kippur War (also known as the Arab-Israeli October War). The source says that the war devastated most of the nation and Natal, the trauma center, is pushing to reach out to those still suffering 39 years later and help them get back on their feet.

In the U.S., our troops — deployed and veteran — need the help of AdLand. The suicide rate among active soldiers deployed is at its highest peak since those numbers began being reported. Depression, PTSD, and other ailments from war are ravaging the ranks of our veterans, and without help they have trouble coming back into our non-militaristic society.

Advertising, whether we like it or not, reflects what we feel is important. The lack of creative that reaches out to veterans here, therefore, really says something.

Forget the criticism. What's the call to action? If AdLand wants to help this population, we need to push account teams to reach out to organizations that help U.S. veterans. We need to let these organizations know that we are ready and willing to help for this cause. Organizations cannot be afraid to reach out to AdLand, either. And Corporate America, you too can be a part of this. If we all believe that free enterprise is a tide that "lifts all ships," then partner with these organizations that may need assistance.

If we truly are a nation that stands by our military, our advertising efforts should reflect it.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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