To Those in Advertising: Yes, We Are Curing Cancer Here

Why what we do matters

Three short months ago, for the first time, I saw the inside of cancer. And I went straight to the basement where all the scariest things lurk.

Within three weeks of my dad finding out he had the disease, he was gone.

And with that, came a tsunami of thoughts. What am I doing with my life? Am I making a difference in the world? I mean, I make ads for a living. It's a job that has always been considered so frivolous. 

It's "just" advertising.

Nobody will die if we don't get this idea right. 

We're not saving lives here, people. 

We consistently diminish what we do. And we let others do it, too. We just sell hamburgers. And mints. And stuff to make your hair nicer. 

But this wasn't a plan B career for me.

I chose this job. 

The people that I work with chose this job. I'm sure they could have been architects or doctors or lawyers. Instead, they've dedicated themselves to using their creativity to solve problems. 

Problems bigger than ads.

Inequality. 

Racism. 

Bullying. 

Animal trafficking.

Domestic abuse. 

What we are doing is meaningful. And we're probably the only industry that blends the realities of business with the endless possibility of imagination. We are an industry driven by hope. An industry that attracts people who start everything with "What if?" and who fear lack of change more than risk and the unknown. 

I believe in the power of creativity to move the world forward.

That creativity can start a conversation.

Change minds. Behaviors and actions. 

Speak for those who can't. 

Generate empathy. 

And shine a light on the deepest, darkest corners of the world. 

What we are doing matters.

Refugee Nation.

Fearless Girl.

Campaign for Real Beauty.

Tap.

Blood Normal.

And there will be more.

When I sat in the hospital with my dad, watching the people around us working to literally save lives, I felt helpless. I also felt admiration. And while we may not be the ones to cure cancer, we can be the ones who use creativity for good and will never stop asking, "What if?"  

frank mckenna

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Jordan Doucette
Jordan Doucette is executive creative director at Leo Burnett. She guides the creative direction of the Kellogg Co. account, leading the U.S. work and building on the brands that Leo Burnett helped create.

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