Seth Godin writes:

We're responsible for what we sell and how we sell it. We're responsible for the effects (and the side effects) of our actions.

It is our decision. Whatever the decision is, you need to own it. If you can't look that decision in the mirror, market something else.

I was surprised he wrote this because I gather Seth’s readership is primarily marketers, and he generally tells them, or I should say us, things we like to hear, e.g. from the same post: Marketing (the use of time and money to create a story and spread it) works. I guess that candy coating was added to sweeten a medicine that no one, in marketing or otherwise, really wants to swallow: you’re responsible for your own actions.

I was somewhat worried about this responsiblity when I accepted my current job at an advertising agency, but in the past year I haven’t really been asked to help sell anything I feel bad about. Helping sell beef is the closest I’ve come to an ethical compromise, as I’m vegetarian. But I’m the kind of vegetarian who finds this amusing:

MEAT IS MURDER. Tasty, tasty murder.

Photo source unknown

It seems I’m lucky to be working at an agency with pretty good clients, and most people who work in this industry are making a lot of ethical compromises they would rather not think about in terms of personal responsibility. So I don’t expect Seth’s post on this topic is going to sell many books. But I was pleasantly surprised to read it.

 

Your car alarm is ridiculous. Years of trigger-happy alarms have trained the public to ignore them, and nobody would care if your tastelessly noisy car got stolen anyway. If someone had driven off in it last night as the alarm was blaring, I would have applauded him! THIS IS WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO MY SENSE OF CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY.

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