• Charlotte Alford

Doctor, Doctor! I feel like doing a PhD

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

You know what I like? Having money.

I am a massive fan of getting a monthly pay cheque and being able to buy unnecessary items. For example? An expensive gym membership that will only be used for the sauna, yet when people ask "what did you get up to last night?" I can say "aww, just the gym".

You know what I'm not a fan of? Being a poor student that stress eats an entire cake, while fretting over the correct use of a dash in an overly long essay that no one, not even the assessor, will ever read.

And yet, somehow I find myself googling PhD's. I've become institutionalised by education. Actually worse than that. I think I have Stockholm Syndrome.

My captor? Student debt.

I love the world of advertising. Yet sometimes I do wonder how much of an impact it has. Do we help womens rights? Fight corruption? Do we tackle racism? There are a million and one problems in this world and, call me an idealist or - more likely - self gratifying, but I want to help at least a couple of them. Unfortunately, for my credit score, I have discovered a PhD that is looking to do just that..

So as a way for me to avoid a further thirty grand in student debt, please humour me by reading my top five ads that, I think, have had a small contribution in making the world a slightly less shit place.

In 5th place we have:

Coca-Cola - Don't Buy Coca-Cola

Well... not quite fifth place... more like last place. In all honesty, this is included purely so I can have a dig at Coca-Cola. While this is a clever ad, it does somewhat glass over the fact that Coca-Cola produces more than 110 billion single-use plastic bottles on a yearly basis.

Bandwagon jumpingness - 1,000,000/5

Effect - I'm seriously hoping no one is drinking the Coca Cool Aid, but given how many people I have seen applauding this campaign, I am probably wrong.

In 4th place we have

Starbucks - Every Name's a Story

I'm not sure if I was hungover, sleep deprived, or a mixture of the two, when I first saw this. But this made me proud in an emotional way of the advertising industry as a whole.

(Side note: Typing this makes me a little more sure I was hungover.) I could spend all day talking about the insight, directing style and impact of this campaign. But let's save that for a day when I have no other ideas for a blog post.

Bandwagon jumpingness - solid 4/5 - They very much jumped on, but they've done it in an impacting way, so somehow that makes it okay.

Effect - If the YouTube comments are anything to go by, a hell of a lot.

In 3rd place we have

Cancer Research - Right Now: Adyan Singing

Bandwagon jumpingness - 0/5 - it's Cancer Research, I don't think it's possible for Cancer Research to jump on the research of cancer bandwagon.

Effect - Google it. Watch the follow up ad. Safe to say, it has had an effect.

In 2nd place we have

Savage x Fenty Show

I would love to show the entire show, unfortunately my Uncle told me it was "taking the piss" to share his log on details for Amazon Prime with the internet. Bit hypocritical considering he gives his kids into trouble for not sharing. Although this is, pretty much, a feature film. This, to me, is just one massive ad. And a fantastic, empowering one at that. It manages to show a variety of female bodies, without making a huge big deal about it. Because realistically it shouldn't be a big deal, it should just be the norm.

Bandwagon jumpingness - She's Rhianna. She has never jumped on anything, never mind a bandwagon, in the history of time itself.

Effect - An education to every corporation on what diversity truly is... and my bank balance to take an underwear shaped hit.

And in 1st place we have ... a deserving drum roll please...

Innocent - The Big Knit

Okay so I'm maybe a bit biased. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Innocent; I have Innocent Socks, my friend once bought be me an Innocent Smoothie recipe book (Best. Present. Ever.), and I have applied for so many jobs within Innocent that instead of an offer, I'm expecting a restraining order any day now. The Big Knit has been running for seventeen years now and every year I get excited to buy a tasty smoothie with a tiny hat on top. I truly love this campaign.

Bandwagon jumpingness - How dare anyone even suggest such a thing.

Effect - World Peace.

So there we have it; Five (four) reasons why I should have a little more faith in the industry I have spent five years working towards. Now, even as a type this, I do have a slightly cynical little voice in my head saying that these companies (apart from Innocent of course) only created these ads as a way to boost sales. But you know what? So what if they did? See if one person watches them and feels more comfortable in their own skin or less alone in this world or uses a refillable water bottle, then I honestly think it is worth it.

Side note (mostly to myself): It is probably important to point out the absolute pointlessness of putting myself through yet another bound of education. There is no need; It will not help me in my chosen career. If anything it will probably make it more difficult for me to get a "proper job", because I'll have two more years of education, while everyone else is out getting real life skills. And to think, more debt. I'd be paying for the privilege of endless deadlines, achene inducing stress and weight gain, probably because I'm too poor to even afford a sauna-less gym membership. Not to mention the, no doubt, demoralising feeling of saying "I'm a doctor" and someone going "like a surgeon" and me going "eh no, in advertising".

But damn, Dr C E Alford has a really nice ring to it...

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