Does working in advertising make you a more empathetic person?
I have always been taught that the best way of answering a creative brief is to put yourself into the mindset of your audience. In doing this I have imagined that I have wanted to own an electric car, my laundry whiter than white and even help in getting rid of dandruff. But does doing this thought process hundreds, if not thousands of times make you a more empathetic person or do you end up seeing people simply as different demographics?
An online guide to using empathy more effectively has the following help - ‘try and see things from other people's point of view, validate other people's perspective, listen and ask yourself what the other person would do’. Good advice, but even if you do all of the above is it offset by trying to sell things to people? (especially if you’re motive to better understand them is driven by profit).
Based on my personal experience I believe that the 60,000 thousand people who work in the UK advertising industry are overwhelmingly good people, that really do care about both local and global issues and social injustice. And if this is true then why do so many modern advertising campaigns trigger angst and unease in the public? Because it’s easy, or should I say lazy. Because it doesn't matter how emphatic you are when there’s a deadline looming fear sells and it’s easy to forget your morals, even if it’s just this once.
So yes I do believe working in the advertising industry does make you a more empathetic person and as a result a better creative, but not necessarily a better person. Which is a shame as the industry I love has amazing opportunities to be a force for good, an instigator of moral and social responsibility.