I cannot forget when I was studying A’ Level English Literature, my dynamic teacher often spoke off topic, primarily on the negative changes in our society and the rising levels of violent crime. There are two things she said back then that stuck with me. One was, “If we continue to ignore this growing problem, it will eventually reach our front door.” The other was, “What enters the mind affects our behaviour.” I remember my teacher’s words as I live in a Trinidad that is in a social decay and work in an industry that ignores the problem.”
My personal belief is that each and every one of us can individually chip away at that particular social ill by making a positive contribution in our own way. Instead of putting blame of others, I wonder what could I do to make a difference. On my own, I talk one on one with young persons who seem to need guidance, advising them on the need for education or even how to obtain such as, to my amazement, many are very unaware of the free opportunities that exists in Trinidad and Tobago for personal improvement. That is the humble contribution I give in order to help make my country a better place. On a wider scale, I think about the advertising industry. It is no secret that advertising manipulates the public’s perceptions in order to sell products. So we make you feel inferior if you do not have “so-and-so” product. You are more of a man if you drink “this-or-that”. We use colour to influence your mood, affecting how you dip into your pocket. We have studied all the marketing science so that the consumer can make the market share of our clients improve. This is good, but life is not all about money. Peace of mind is the ultimate desire, and I wonder if there is a way that our work could contribute to positive change. I wonder if we in advertising could use all that psychological, manipulative science to affect national change while still making the cash register ring. I wonder.