Alex Bogusky muses on advertising ethics


Alex Bogusky penned an interesting piece on PSFK. It leads with the idea of creating yet another Cannes Lions category—for agencies that engage in something called “accurate, careful and ethical use of advertising.” The more compelling bits are Bogusky tying himself in knots trying to explain how blurry the ethical line is in advertising. Oddly, he says he used to be opposed to working on pharma, which creates life-saving drugs, but would have done tobacco, which does not. (He changed his mind on tobacco after working on the “Truth” campaign.) Then there’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s Burger King work. I hadn’t known that the agency told Burger King it wouldn’t do any work aimed at children. Bogusky says he was “livid” when the shop’s SpongeBob commercial, which he says was aimed at adults, was recut and targeted at kids on Nickelodeon. CP+B got the spot pulled, he says. It’s an interesting quandary. I can’t help but wonder, however, if creating a cool, cartoony mascot for BK didn’t help it hawk burgers to children anyway.