Earlier this summer, University of Oregon professor Deborah Morrison put forth a provocative call to action to the advertising industry, but how many advertising and marketing professional took the 15 minutes to read that it deserves? I collaborated with her while running the sustainable business program at Oregon, and I’d offer the suggestion that one reason it will remain hard to operationalize is that each agency would need to hybridize their business model in ways that are very hard to believe are realistic. However, within her article are seeds of an idea worth pursuing. What if a collaborative social enterprise were formed by ad firms in any given market, with goal of supporting, economically, this public interest communications and advertising work? Then, they could empower their employees to choose to work on this work at a reduced fee structure in an environment built to support those efforts. Pro bono strategies have inherent limits, and we cannot expect firms to forego fees without first building a different mousetrap. Then we might reasonably hope that professionals in the field could put their values into full operation.
Why Do We Work?