Fans of “Mad Men” are addicted to the TV show because of its sharp suits and cool attitude, as well as its hip satire: the five-Martini lunches, the missing seat belts, the cake-baking housewives. Weren’t the early 1960’s ironic that way? Yet as a media piece, “Mad Men” glosses over the subtler and more insidious attitudes Don Draper’s mid-century Madison Avenue injected into American culture — principles that adversely affect all of us today.
One flawed decision made a couple of generations ago was the choice to empower consumerism so absolutely. From ad copy to credit limits, consumers are drawn and bound to buying stuff at the risk of everything else — from the natural environment to the health care system. And, as global economies stall and municipalities struggle, cause-based organizations find themselves even more strapped.
We at DISTINC believe these priorities are askew. It’s the job of all of us, as responsible citizens, to clean up or reverse these questionable decisions. In a perfect world, we could do so with the support of governments, though lately that’s not been the case.
With a philanthropic mission of creating a better world or a more just society – give a hand to the downtrodden and a voice to the voiceless – non-profits take action to remedy some of society’s most pressing ills. Yet for decades, they’ve directly competed with consumerism, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage. They need evangelists: enterprises and individuals to help them embrace the tools of capitalism in order to compete with it.
DISTINC is among those agencies that understand the nuances of brand positioning, identities and messaging. We are strategists, designers and storytellers orchestrating it all in order to give cause-based organizations a fighting chance.
We feel a little unsettled that the kinds of things we work for are considered optional in the modern world. Good schools. Happy families. Healthy communities. The arts. Who would consider these things optional? Mad men, indeed.
Running on shoestring budgets and fueled by pure passion, non-profit organizations re-prioritize what could have been our priorities all along. They embrace clear thinking as a counterpoint to the madness. But they have far to go. Now is the time for advertising and branding agencies to put down their Martinis and take a closer look at the pressing need for positive change.