Alex Bogusky’s latest advertising effort—“The Real Bears”—takes on soft drink manufacturers in fairly stereotypical fashion. That is, iconic advertising imagery is twisted against FDA-style factoids baring the dangers of consuming sugary beverages. It’s the kind of propaganda one might expect from Adbusters or any consumer watchdog group blessed with a decent production budget.
Criticism of the concept or execution aside, haters are already lining up to brand Bogusky a hypocrite for biting the hands that used to feed him. Not too sure the complaints are valid. First, Bogusky has always used his craft for causes. The man was instrumental in launching the truth campaign to slap Big Tobacco. He also authored The 9-inch “Diet”; plus, Baked In certainly hinted at his revolutionary bent. Joining the Made Movement is another indicator of his political nature. No, there’s nothing schizophrenic about his recent actions. Indeed, it could potentially be argued that Bogusky was never comfortable collaborating with corporate advertisers, and ultimately opted for a divorce. He’s not the first person in history to undergo a philosophical reengineering.
What remains to be seen is if Bogusky will ever use his radical skills to address the dearth of diversity still common in the advertising industry. Going up against his former employers is one thing. Does Bogusky have the courage, conviction and cultural competence to confront his former coworkers and peers?