This may come as a shock to some of the creatives out there, but no one in advertising is a rebel.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “But I’m an artist! I’m a writer! I come up with out-of-the-box-ideas! I wear shorts to work! I play drums in a punk band! I shaved my head! There’s a poster of Che on my cubical wall! I smoke pot every morning! I ride a motorcycle! I surf/skateboard!”
Those things are great, but they don’t make you a rebel. If you work in advertising, you are a part of the capitalist world. You’re a big part. It’s your job to make people buy things. Things they might not need. Things that might be dangerous. Things that might be turning the world into overheated garbage dump.
Now that doesn’t mean that what we do is evil. The best of us work hard to make our advertising interesting and artistic. And most of us have a list of things we would never do. (Sell cigarettes to the under 12? Uh, fuck no.) But to suggest that we are anti-establishment, while pulling in a paycheck, is just nonsense.
Now if anyone out there is thinking about becoming true rebel, more power to you. But I would I like to remind you that that is a lonely and dangerous path. And it doesn’t start with a new shirt or a new band or a new car.
It starts with a letter of resignation.