To outsiders, the notion of advertising integrity is an oxymoron.  But creative people know there’s a code of honesty and originality that good people honor.  So what qualifies as stealing?  Sometimes it’s hard to know.

Hearing a good voiceover and hiring him for your spot is not stealing.  Hiring a director whose work you saw in another spot is not stealing.  Putting work you didn’t do into your portfolio is stealing.  Entering shows with bogus work is  dishonest.   In the short run, you can get famous by ripping off other people.  In the long run, that fame will haunt you.  It will propel you into a role you can’t do, and you’ll fail.  Better to have humble talents and use them honestly, and be respected by your peers. The business is a long march.  Stay in it by staying true to what you can honestly do.


David Fowler created long-running advertising campaigns for Motel 6 ("We'll leave the light on for you"), BP ("Beyond Petroleum"), Fanta ("Wanta Fanta"), Claritin ("Claritin Clear") and many others. His forty-year creative career included twenty years at Ogilvy & Mather in New York, as well as stints at Goodby, Silverstein in San Francisco, Ammirati & Puris in New York and The Richards Group in Dallas.