When I see such ads, it prompts me to be critical about it and that’s what I initially wanted to do, but then I choose to educate the said brand + advertiser than giving a piece of my mind.
Advertising is kind of like throwing a dart in the dark. As a business owner, you’re not sure where it will land and if it will earn you any branding points. That’s why you have to be super careful about releasing what’s perceived as bad advertisements. No matter what you create, whether it’s a billboard or a commercial, it’s crucial to keep your audience and the cultural environment in mind. You risk releasing offensive ads if you don’t. Creativity in Advertising
Everyone has different thoughts and feelings about what makes for offensive or unethical ads, but let’s face it, we all know where that road leads and one should be careful and responsible in what they are producing. Creativity in Advertising
I personally suggest these steps to both companies and advertisers before giving birth to creativity.
1. Don’t Be Insulting – It’s unwise to make assumptions about your audience. Ultimately, your opinion or judgment doesn’t have a place in your advertising strategy.
2. Avoid Stereotypes – Look carefully at the content you’re producing. If it looks like it can be taken the wrong way, it probably will be.
3. Be Mindful of Everyone – Even if you don’t mean ill intent, any misinterpreted ads are still your fault. Think about your ad from all angles before releasing it to the public.
4. Keep it PG – Sometimes sexual innuendos work for a company, but it should never be at the expense of somebody else. You don’t want your company to make the list of ads going wrong.
5. Mind Your References – It’s always too soon. Sensitive subjects and jokes that are anything less than PC are not likely to work for your branding and will only lead to problems.
6. No Undertones – Religion, and politics are taboo topics for a reason.
7. Positive Vibes Only – Advertising goes beyond making more money and increasing traffic to your store. It’s so prevalent, and people are exposed to it so often, that it can spread powerful social messages.
8. Know Your History – If a word, phrase, or idea is already offensive, you can’t change its meaning. Be aware of your cultural environment.
9. Try Not to Take Sides – Your brand can, and should, be a voice in the world, but you shouldn’t take sides on heavily divided topics.
10. Be Inclusive – People from a variety of demographics are going to see your ad. Don’t alienate any group.
Overall, advertising is a powerful medium that shouldn’t be taken for granted, it’s important that you’re mindful of the words you’re using and what they may mean. Your ads can send an important message to the public beyond selling your products. Make sure you’re always sending the right one!
PS: After 27 years of brand building and advertising, I am still learning and I hope others learn too.