To be human is to be offended.
Advertising has been in the news a lot lately and not in a “we paid to be here” kind of way. Sure, it’s a few days before the Super Bowl and all the ads are being reviewed – but that’s not the complete story. It began last week when an ING Direct ad was pulled for offending people because some found that it “[made] light of mental illness”. This week a Volkswagen Super Bowl ad was criticized for being racist because a white guy from Minnesota speaks with a Jamaican accent. And then today a Canadian Wheat Board ad was in the news because women’s groups were outraged that it featured a pin-up style drawing of a super hot cowgirl straddling a fence. Whatever, cartoons can be hot. This is nothing new, of course – it’s part of human nature to be offended by something. I’m offended by a lot of things, mainly people that don’t know how to line up properly at the drug store. So what are we supposed to do as ad-makers? Create great work then go through a checklist to make sure no individuals or groups are offended? This sounds like an elaborate recipe when all you really need is some vanilla extract. So in conclusion, just keep producing work that you’re proud of because no matter what you do – haters gonna hate.