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June 17, 2015
Offended Someone? Good.
 
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life".
                                                                                                               -Winston Churchill


We are continually perturbed by the political correctness that is pervading the advertising community. 

Are we seriously so worried that we are going to offend someone, or some party? Since when are we so afraid to suggest or advocate an idea that doesn't appeal to the masses?

This is a serious matter.

For example, this article appeared on a reputable advertising platform, and the author (whom we respect) and the comments (those, we don't respect) suggested a unintented option of censuring the subject's creativity and freedom of expression.

How sad is it that we are so quick to judge and condemn, versus celebrating and cheering on creativity and provocation. People used to flock to advertising agencies because the handcuffs of conformity, convention,and conservatism were taken off. Want a lack of freedom of speech? Go to Corporate America. AdLand is (or, was) the place where ideas ran wild, and the playground of creativity was open all day, for everyone.

Apparently the winds are changing.

We constantly consult small and medium-sized businesses on the fact that not everyone is going to love their idea. And, more importantly, that fact is okay. The most important people to the brand are the people who will most likely buy your product. If you offend your customer, then that's an issue. If you offended someone who never plans to become a patron, who cares? Get over it.

As the market gets more and more fragmented, those who cover general topics will pick out the specialized messages, present them to the masses, and declare how bad they are. But,since the message is meant to create a fervor, it will be hidden that the message being scrutinized was sent to a market segment.

We all know, when we're trying to raise a mob, details are rarely important.

How unfortunate.

Please, AdLand, we implore you again, let us never confuse bad ideas with ideas offensive to some. That's a slippery slope no one wants to take.

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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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