Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

How to advertise without being a jerk (and change the world for the better) [Infographic]

You don’t need to be in the advertising industry to know that it is not exactly the most well-liked industry in the world.

While we mostly agree with WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s recent essay defending the advertising trade, which was written in response to the ad-bashing comments made by UK MP Helen Goodman earlier this year, we think that getting defensive doesn’t actually help advertising regain consumer trust or fix its image problem. If we’re serious about changing the perceptions of advertising, we have to go after the root causes. Here’s an infographic that we’ve created to illustrate how:

How to advertise without being a jerk (and change the world for the better) [Infographic]

Embed this Infographic using this tag:

<a href="https://referralcandy.wpengine.com/2014/03/26/how-to-advertise-without-being-a-jerk-and-change-the-world-for-the-better-infographic/"><img src="http://cdn.referralcandy.com/images/advertiseinfographic2.png" alt="How to advertise without being a jerk (and change the world for the better) [Infographic]" title="How to advertise without being a jerk (and change the world for the better) [Infographic]" width="590" /></a><br /><a href="http://referralcandy.wpengine.com">ReferralCandy - Refer-a-friend Programs for Ecommerce Stores</a>


Desmond Chua

Desmond Chua

Desmond is the co-founder of Statement.sg, a fashion ecommerce brand selling witty t-shirts. He strives to design the best ReferralCandy experience to help you acquire more customers. He also practises parkour with MOVE Academy Singapore in his free time.


  • Alright… I really liked this infographic.

    Until you got to the “How do you fix advertising’s image problem.” Boy, would I love to “not work for the bad guys.” But anyone with more than an year of experience in advertising knows, THIS IS A PIPE DREAM.

    As a cog in the machine, how can a copywriter, designer, even creative director, fully control the clients their agency takes on? Threaten to quit? That takes quite a bit more leverage than I’ve ever had, unfortunately. Employee churn across the industry is high. Creatives especially are viewed as replaceable. How, exactly, do you suggest to go about “not working for the bad guys.” As if it’s that easy… “just don’t do it!”

    There are clients that my company represents whose operating practices I don’t necessarily agree with. Now, several of these clients are iconic brands. Big names are the big spenders, with many agencies of record and software solutions at their disposal. But having met many of the people working at these companies, they seem to be “good people.” So bigger the dilemma gets – who are the bad guys, really?

    It’s something I’ve struggled with ever since entering the advertising/marketing industry and it’s not going away. How have others weeded out the “bad guys”? What kind of a stand can someone in a 200+ employee agency/company really take, without getting the ax? I know many peers who have experienced the frustration of working on brands whose agendas they don’t respect, but they did it. Because they felt they had to.

    • Hey Brad! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

      I totally agree with what you’re saying. “Don’t work for the bad guys” is a luxury that most people simply can’t afford. I don’t think your peers are any lesser people because they may have had to work on brands they didn’t respect. I think that’s just being human and a symptom of living in these complex, convoluted times.

      I think what we were trying to do here (with this post) was to lay out what the path might look like. It goes so far, so deep. We’d have to change consumer mindsets on the ground.

      I wish it were easier to change things overnight, but if they were, then people better than us would’ve already done it. I have no easy answers. I sympathize with your position. At the least, I hope more people are mindful of how staggeringly complex the entire shebang is.

      Thank you so much for writing!

  • This is absolutely brilliant. There’s plenty to love about the advertising industry (having a campaign that gets a lot of traction and hitting goals for clients), and then there is the more soul-draining side of advertising that brings the jerk side out of all of us, whether it is due to our own decision, or a decision that comes from above.