Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple months, you've probably noticed a sharp upswing in the number of brands and companies adopting political messaging as part of their marketing and comms strategies – or, in some cases, pointedly declining to do so. As the reality of a Trump presidency sets in, many major advertisers have responded by injecting their campaigns with more overtly political – and potentially divisive – messages. At the same time, media conversations around the role brands and large corporations play in the political arena have picked up, with advertisers coming under greater scrutiny (and rightly so). More than ever, brands are choosing – or being forced to – draw a socially conscious line in the sand, spurred on both by the people they sell to, and the people that work for them.
As someone who used to work in advertising (and continues to work with brands in various guises) I’m obviously watching these changes with great interest, but it’s something that anyone who employs their ideas or skills in service of a larger company should be giving serious thought – regardless of context. That advertising should fall under closer scrutiny is inevitable, being as it is a fairly opaque synthesis of fact and what I’ll call ‘persuasive’ fact – but whether or not you work in advertising, you too have a part to play.
Until next week,
Sex doesn’t sell anymore – activism does. So says former adland creative director Alex Holder, in this excellent piece for The Guardian that questions the big brands who are falling over themselves to create socially conscious campaigns.
Another former ad exec Carrie Ingoglia talks politics, morality and fake feminism on a recent episode of the (excellent) Forbes podcast Hiding In The Bathroom. If there’s one link you click on this week, make sure this is it.
And once you’ve finished listening to that, check out the Medium article referenced that kick-started the whole conversation.
Looking at things from a fashion angle, legendary photographer David LaChapelle discusses his new #makelovenotwalls Diesel campaign, a clear response to Donald Trump’s divisive and discriminatory policies.
Whilst you’re over on Dazed, feast your eyes on this delightful short film by Kenzo, starring actress Tracee Ellis Ross and singer Kelsey Lu, and shot by Lemonade director Khalil Joseph. (FYI - if fashion film is your thing, be sure to check out the work of director Kathryn Ferguson, who I interviewed a few months ago).
London crew: I’m taking part in a panel discussion at General Assembly on Imposter Syndrome (something I apparently have in common with this week's WCW Viola Davis). Drop by and say hi! Tickets are free, just be sure to RSVP in advance.
Plenty of food for thought in this exploration of the Danish attitude to work-life balance from Stylist magazine. Given that Denmark apparently has "one of the happiest workforces in the world, and is the second most productive country in the EU", clearly they're doing something right.
I’m currently staring down the barrel of an inbox overflowing with unread emails, so this article about easy ways to deal with email overload caught my eye straight away. Top tip? Send fewer emails (quite frankly, I feel like I’m nailing that aspect already).
And finally – if you follow me on Instagram (hint hint), you’ll have guessed by now that I was a serious fan of the (Oscar! Winning!) movie Moonlight. Having waited what felt like an eternity for it to be released in the UK, I finally watched it last week and was moved to tears at what might be the most delicately told and beautifully shot story I’ve ever seen on film. If you haven’t seen it yet – do. If you have seen it – here’s Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney's screenplay, which is a joy to read.