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Is 'Truth' Possible with Creatives?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In this consumer-driven society, we in advertising are pushed to perform under strenuous circumstances. We have to do a thorough job of researching audiences, creating messages for the audiences, with increasingly less time, less money, over more platforms. 

Above all that, the consumers, the people we are charged with connecting with, demand transparency and truth. 

No easy feat.

With all that being said, there are calls for more and more "truth in advertising." But is that possible? Does this industry naturally attract those who are willingly to bend truth into...truthiness?

Research seems to lean toward the affirmative. In late 2011 research came out that suggested that those who are constantly supposed to think "out of the box" are more likely to cheat or engage in unethical activity to gain their incentive than those not needing to be creative.

The study explicitly tested creative individuals and tempted them with money to cheat. Scary thought.

So then, if we pride ourselves on being in an industry that thrives on creativity, is the thought of "truth in advertising" an idealistic reach never to be fulfilled?

If the research proves right, then the last thing the industry would want to do is tie agency compensation to performance. If the model demands higher pay for higher performance, according to the research, that is a recipe for disaster for the consumer.

The consumer is supposed to be the one we're serving after all, right?


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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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