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The Road to Hell

GlassrMilton Glaser is one of the most celebrated designers in the world.

He created the "I💗NY" logo, designed the psychedelic Dylan album cover, and founded New York magazine with Clay Felker.

He also came up with a quiz he called "The Road to Hell" that he gave to young designers.  Here it is:

Would you—

  1. Design a package to look larger on the shelf?
  2. Do an ad for a slow-moving, boring film to make it seem like a lighthearted comedy?
  3. Design a crest for a new vineyard to suggest that it’s been in business for a long time?
  4. Design a jacket for a book whose sexual content you find personally repellent?
  5. Design an advertising campaign for a company with a history of known discrimination in minority hiring?
  6. Design a package for a cereal aimed at children, which has low nutritional value and high sugar content?
  7. Design a line of T-shirts for a manufacturer who employs child labor?
  8. 8. Design a promotion for a diet product that you know doesn’t work?
  9. Design an ad for a political candidate whose policies you believe would be harmful to the general public?
  10. Design a brochure piece for an SUV that turned over more frequently than average in emergency conditions and caused the death of 150 people?
  11. Design an ad for a product whose continued use might cause the user’s death?

Glazer thought it important for designers to think about "what we actually do in life." He believed you could get pretty far down the road to hell if you didn't think about the ethical implications of the choices you made, especially the clients you took on.

The same could be said about public relations. So with apologies to Mr. Glaser, here's "The Road to Public Relations Hell":

Would you --

  1. Promote an old product as "new and improved" if the only real difference was the packaging?
  2. Promote a slow-moving, boring film to make it seem like a lighthearted comedy?
  3. Position a new vineyard to suggest that it’s been in business for a long time?
  4. Promote a book whose sexual content you find personally repellent?
  5. Do public relations for a company with a history of known discrimination in minority hiring?
  6. Publicize a cereal aimed at children, which has low nutritional value and high sugar content?
  7. Do public relations for a manufacturer who employs child labor?
  8. Promote a diet product that you know doesn’t work?
  9. Represent a political candidate whose policies you believe would be harmful to the general public?
  10. Publicize an SUV that turned over more frequently than average in emergency conditions and caused the death of 150 people?
  11. Promote a product whose continued use might cause the user’s death?

 The point of both tests is to see how close we come to what Glaser considers the "function of art," which in many ways is also the true function of public relations -- to enable people "to understand what is real."

 

 

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