The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Freedom Of Speech vs Justice Of Wrong
September 28, 2006, 8:34 am
Filed under: Comment

This is abit old actually, but over at Ad-Pit … Rob Mortimer raises an interesting point …

Apparently a TV ad for breakfast serial ‘Frosties’ is so annoying, the child actor appearing in it is getting death threats.

Now I’m sure most people will agree that as much as certain commercials may drive you to the edge of despair … making an actual death threat is going way too far.  [Imagine how the poor little kid must be feeling!]

However Rob’s point is this …

Could/should creatives or the agencies, be responsible for all aspects of communication produced on their clients behalf? In this case, is the agency behind the Frosties ad liable for the distress this poor kid has experienced?

Sure, there are many ways to look at it … many people you could blame [from the client who approved it, to the network who showed it, to the parent who let their child appear in it] … however I believe that this is ultimately an argument about creativity and the freedom of expression/speech.

Of course sense, decency and consumer understanding should prevail [otherwise you’re just as bad as the M&C India idiots I talked about] … but my ultimate view is that whilst communication/media has the power to influence negative individual actions, ultimately the responsibility HAS TO be with the person undertaking the acts otherwise life will stop.

As my Father argued – if Musicians and Video Game Producers are to be held responsible for all acts of violence [by individuals who claim their ‘inspiration’ came from other peoples ‘creativity’] then the bible should also be banned.

He said that not only did it feature incredible acts of violence throughout the book … but given the human mind is so powerful, words could be imagined in far more outlandish, violent, detailed ways, than any video game or song could achieve.

In essence, he believed words had a far greater ability to inspire ‘wrong-doing’ than audio/visual creativity [because the brain has zero limits on its imagination] and so if we were solely blame the ‘creator’, then it would lead to the destruction of creativity.

6 Comments so far
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Your Father was one of the smartest, most generous and humouress guys I ever met.

The World is a far less interesting place without him around.


Comment by George/Cynic

I agree of course.
I did state (and I do think) that because advertising is trying to create an action (buying/consideration) etc, and music/games arent; they are closer to being responsible.

But still nowhere near enough to ever actually be responsible…just closer.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

One of God’s greatest …

Comment by Rob

Good point Rob … but with so many Bands and Game Developers going heavily into branding [be it via product diversification / videos etc], I’d say the divide between them and the ad-community is getting smaller.

I really should put up the ‘WHAT BRANDS CAN LEARN FROM BANDS’ paper – I think you’d like it.

MTV did … they not only have printed it in their annual trends book, but they’re flashing it around marketing departments and ad agencies trying to show them they are missing the point.

Hmmmmmn, how good would an MTV Ad Agency be?! Now there’s an idea …

Comment by Rob

It would be great for the first 6 years, then lose its way, then diversify and find its way again a few years later.

I think your dads idea should be printed up and handed to every lawyer who tries to make a name for themselves with conservatives by banning or attacking creativity anywhere.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yeah … but how good would it be for 6 years eh?

I remember trying to convince the guys at VIZ Magazine to set up an agency because their spoof ads were some of the most effective things I’d ever seen.

They looked at me like I’d cracked – gawd bless ’em.

As for my ol’ man and his lawyer techniques – scariest man in a court room – well, to anyone who was guilty of corporate misdeeds.

Agencies should be glad he never got his teeth stuck into them … they’d be even less profitable than they are today, ha!

Comment by Rob

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