It’s Aristotle who inspired the question of advertising things we don’t really need. And it’s Aristotle who helps me deal with it.
Aristotle’s philosophy held that people can only be happiest when we are doing all we are capable of doing.
We can’t be truly happy knowing we can and should do something, and then not act. We can’t be truly happy lounging around when we know we’re capable of starting a business, organizing a club, or writing a letter to the editor. We can’t be truly happy passing a homeless person on the street when we’ve got a dollar in our pocket we know we don’t really need. And when you’re capable of doing intelligent, creative, brilliant advertising, that’s what you’ve got to do, too.
While some may argue that no one really needs a Porsche, vitamin-enhanced water, or an iPhone, I would also argue that the producers of those goods are probably happy because they’re doing all they’re capable of. They’re trying to engineer a better car, make more interesting water, or make media more accessible by whatever standards they set. They’re innovating. And that’s what we do as a species. And if I really believe that about a product, I’m happy to help advertise that.
So how does this relate to any of you today? The One Show College Competition is currently under way. I understand the deadline is February 21st. You’re all capable of getting in that book. What a great opportunity for you to be happy.