How do we feel about creatives/agencies who took/are taking de facto blood money to work on things like Juul, Facebook, other brands who have (debatably) proven to be various levels of dangerous to people/society? There’s always some ad dipshit or agency who will take the $ and leave his/her conscience at the door, but shouldn’t we be holdin these ppl to same scrutiny as, say, tobacco agencies/creatives? Personally I will blackball anyone who worked on FB, Juul etc from my agency/hiring funnel.

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Why punish people who worked on those accounts? For a lot of people they don’t have the privilege of turning down work in their agency hands it to them.


This is a good take. I’ve worked at one of the aforementioned companies and I have a kid with special needs. Without a national safety net, I have to make choices for my family that include having health insurance that covers thrice weekly therapy, specialists and regular hospitalizations.
Unfortunately, righteous indignation won’t pay hospital bills.


I understand where you’re coming from and if I have an ethical problem with a client I won’t take a gig, but I have no loans to pay or a family to feed. You’d think after such a tumultuous year you’d be more understanding.

You can’t put your money where your mouth is if you don’t have money to begin with.


👍🏼 Your personal opinion. And my personal opinion is that we are ALL guilty when we chose this profession. All of us are cogs to push people to buy things that they don’t need. Whether you’re trying to sell a packaged good or fast-food that leads to heart disease, diabetes and cancer... to enlisting high school students to join the military under the guise to “defend the free world”... we should all take ownership that what we do as a whole, isn’t noble by any means. We distract ourselves by big thinking and “good” creative when, in the end, we’re cogs with our own unique personal blinders on. Personally, if we really looked at the ethics behind the products we push... most of us should blacklist ourselves.


Blackball someone who took a job, maybe the only job available to them so they could make their bills or put food on the table, all because they worked at a company whose morals you disagreed with?

Youre as bad as that which you opose.


The soap box of privilege from which you speak must be quite high. It’s perfectly acceptable to have lines that you personally won’t cross, but to blackball someone based solely on a their historical client list is pretty insane. You can feel passionately about your beliefs without projecting them on to other people. I hope when hiring you simply choose the best person for the job. These types of overt biases have real consequences.


I’ve worked on JUUL and McDonalds, along with other national and global accounts. I was put on these accounts as those were accounts that had open positions. I would hate to think someone would look at my resume and throw me in the discard pile because the assumption is I chose to work on those accounts. When I got into this business I knew the job was to get people to buy things they didn’t know they wanted or needed not whether or not I agreed with the product or service.


There’s a line, sure. And there are brands I wouldn’t feel great working on. But I’m sure all of us have had brands that we’ve worked on that make us feel kinda gross. Like working on a meat heavy brand as a vegan (me) or some national defense stuff. No client is 100% pure.

We might not all have blood on our hands. But we for sure have some weird goo.


I’ve been in that exact boat. Haha.

I am not a huge fan of FB, but I am on it. It does help me stay connected to family that lives all over. There are good and bad sides to almost every account. The fashion industry is the 2nd highest polluter of our water, would you not work on that? Coca-Cola company uses more plastic of any other company and Uber is known for sexual harassment and assault within the workplace. Unless you’re working for a non-profit I’m sure the companies most of us are working for are pretty unethical.


@CD1 you seem to just want a scuffle here, so be it, but “backpedaling” was—god forbid—hearing all of you & realizing that I was wrong in initial post and too harsh/black & white with outright blackball...instead, I would give those Juul-ish jobs on someone’s resume a LOT more scrutiny and ask questions about motives and intentions when taking that job for (debatably harmful) brands like that.

But IMO you can’t separate Facebook groups from the larger entity...that’s like saying you would be fine working on an RJ Reynolds brand that wasn’t literally cigarettes...

i.e. is it knowingly overtly killing people via lung cancer, emphysema, etc? No.

Is this hypothetical non-tobacco brand helping make RJ Reynolds richer so they can make and sell more cigarettes? 100%.

That to me is the difference. So if you would be cool working on Facebook Groups because unlike the larger Facebook entity, groups isn’t (arguably) helping to destroy our democracy and promote division/racism/hate speech, then that’s great for you. I just personally wouldn’t be cool with it.

I hope Wieden calls you.


All good opinions. I guess I just wonder where is the line that people will not cross? I also have financial responsibilities and people to help take care of (elderly parents) but will not work on Juul eg. Anyone who’s worked on fast food or soda could be “accused” of helping our nation become morbidly obese and die younger/fatter, so it’s a slippery slope...but you’re all 100% correct: not my place to judge and say “don’t work on Burger King or Coke!” even though they, arguably, like Facebook and certainly Juul, are worse for society than better. Guess I’m just mostly livid at FB for being so willfully ignorant, blind, arrogant and greedy in the overt destruction of our Democracy. And if agencies refused to make their cutesy Portal spots eg, or advertise with them, they’d learn a lesson where it hurts most: their bottom line.

I think your line has to be personal. I think Big Tobacco is objectively bad and my grandfather died of lung cancer. The product should not exist. However, FB has created a wildly sophisticated ad network that helps small businesses thrive and has no peer. FB should be regulated but you cannot say the product has no value just because it has no value to you personally.


Tobacco sure. OxyContin? Sure.

Idk about Facebook. What do their ads really do? It’s not like they can change the narrative through ads.

My no-list is pretty much tobacco, firearms, and defense contracting, and any company run by known bigots (papa John's, chick FIL a, hobby lobby, a whole lotta politicians). I'd have a hard time staying at a company pursuing these types of sectors as well.

But I also that sometimes ethical compromises need to be made in order to keep the lights on and people employed.

Unless the creatives actively influenced the major business decisions made at the top, I don't think I could fault them for it.

"Let's make candy cigarettes to get kids used to the physical habit early!" - There's a special place in hell for that person.

"Let's make an ad about weird Facebook groups, like people that like rocks." - While I may question their taste in what makes a good ad, I wouldn't demonize them for being tangentially associated.


Would you turn down Droga if they recruited you to work on Facebook?

How about Wieden + Kennedy?

Both of them did Facebook brand campaigns last year.


Ball’s in your court... whatcha gonna do?

More about Juul, honestly, though FB took the lead in this thread. And would I go to Wieden or Droga to work on Juul?


Not a chance in hell.

And I mentioned Juul in original post because I saw McCann hired a big name ECD who’d worked in-house for Juul, among other brands and agencies. Don’t know the guy, seems to have a good background, but I would just look long and hard at someone who said, “Sure, I’ll take the lung cancer money and work on your brand, Juul”

But then again maybe at that moment he had a sick kid or parent to care for, so to echo others who rightly pointed it out, I shouldn’t judge unless I know. Still, just on paper, if i had an agency & was hiring, I’d ask about his choice on that one before I hired him. As for FB, I think history is showing that, as an overall entity, it’s a different kind of destructive to our society, but destructive nonetheless, despite the Groups ads for small purse dogs people being so cute and all.

Also, because you explicitly say in your post you’d blackball anyone who would worked on FB. Second question for you. If a very qualified team from WK or Droga who worked on the FB work... wanted to work for you... you would blackball that creative team?

Blackball was clearly a charged/triggering word, sorry for that. Like my Juul response, I’d just ask them about their work on it, if they wondered the same thing I do about the Jekyll/Hyde aspects of that brand, and think long and hard about hiring someone who worked on brands that haven’t been great for society, decency, equality, human health (obviously Juul, arguably FB).

It wasn’t as much triggering as much as it was blunt. Takes cajones for you to blackball Droga and WK so kudos to you for doing that... and kudos for turning them down. Personally, I’d be open to them and open to hiring from them. Not everything is black and white... there’s a lot of grey area... and if we’re not careful, cancel culture rhetoric is also an endangerment to society.

Agree and also the author of the post said they’d turn down a job offer from Wieden and Kennedy if was asked to work on the Facebook Groups campaign 🤔... then started back pedaling about using the word “blackball”.

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