BNS 493: Can’t Sell, Won’t Sell – Advertising, Politics, & Culture Wars (with Steve Harrison)

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On today’s episode of The Brian Nichols Show, I’m joined by Steve Harrison, author of “Can’t Sell Won’t Sell: Advertising, politics and culture wars. Why adland has stopped selling and started saving the world”:

“The advertising industry has lost interest in selling.  According to the IPA, we face “a crisis of effectiveness”. And our politics are to blame. We’re now so left-leaning, we’re no longer willing to stoke capitalism’s engine of growth. Instead, we’ve embraced a new raison d’etre: we’re saving the world. 

But how genuine is our commitment to social justice? Who’s buying our purpose-driven campaigns? And what of the angry mainstream who are alienated by the agenda we’re imposing upon them? Most urgently, as businesses close and millions of families face unemployment in the post-pandemic recession, will advertising rediscover its commercial purpose and help revive the free market? 

Or will an out-of-touch industry double down on social purpose and drift further to the margins of British life? This is the choice we face, and it’s one that adland cannot shirk.”

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