Do you need ethics to work in advertising?

Advertising is already short on heroes, and it may have lost another one. Veteran creative director Dave Trott, shown here, author of the brilliantly written How to Get Your First Job in Advertising (PDF link here), has admitted he got his first job by straight-up lying. On his blog for London’s CST Advertising, Trott says he landed his first copywriting gig by swiping a friend’s work from New York. Later, on a pub outing with his boss, Trott decided to fess up. "I thought it would make him laugh," Trott writes. "But it didn’t. He went ballistic." This anecdote is bundled in with another story about lying to his boss a few years later, and the point of it all seems to be that ethics are for the weak and naive: "If you think something’s right, you take responsibility for making the decision happen. Or you hide behind doing it by the rules." His logic didn’t go over well with Simon Veksner, the creative director behind Britain’s popular Scamp blog, which has often cited Trott as a role model for young people in advertising. Watching the two go at each other in the comments section of Trott’s blog is like watching a showdown between Ayn Rand and Jesus. "I’m not going to write a post that explains why you shouldn’t lie and you shouldn’t steal," Veksner writes on Scamp. "What next? Why you shouldn’t rape a receptionist?"

—Posted by David Griner