The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky had a unique insight into the weaknesses of mankind. In his novels and short stories, many of his characters struggled with the problem of lying. He was right in observing that we all lie to ourselves, but we also lie to others.
Gaudier-Brzeska, the amazing French sculptor who was killed in World War I at the age of 23, also had an instinct about the nature of the human experience. He called the resulting sculpture The Imp, which is what people are like when they lie.
Frank Walton, in his article The Risk in Communicating, points out that America is becoming worse at what he calls “soft power”— getting others to want what it wants. He believes that passion and character are often more significant than reason in communication.
Bob Seltzer writes in Thinking Outside the Proverbial Box about the challenges we face in our business to come up with new ideas. As an illustration, he describes a fascinating project called “Manhattan on a Tank of Gas” for the new Ford Escape Hybrid automobile. Other examples show how to be creative in communications programs.
In Why We Lie, we are reminded that we lie for different reasons. Sometimes it is for noble causes, but most often it is because “the truth” is painful. There are also times when it’s hard to know what the truth is. But as professionals, we have a responsibility not to communicate information we know is false.
Beluga on the Brink by David Katzive describes his trip to Russia to capture on video the conditions that have led to the precipitous decline of a rare species, the old beluga sturgeon. The project resulted in enormous media coverage. The subject Morality and Numbers intrigues Emmanuel Tchividjian as he considers the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Swiss payment for Holocaust victims and malpractice suits. Yet, despite the relationship between morality and numbers, human values are based on different criteria.
Repairing the Fray by Andy Sobel and David Langston describes the problems that arise when management is isolated from the workforce. Creative communications to overcome such difficulties can utilize the same techniques that are effective in branding campaigns.
Heidi Blum Kushel, who has produced many outstanding videos for corporate and public service clients, tells a gripping story in Perfect Match. She was the only one who could provide a crucial allogenic stem cell transplant for her sister who faced death from advanced ovarian cancer.
Raising the Red Flag by Jean-Michel Dumont describes how our Beijing office helped organize an historic AIDS event. With an estimated 5 million people in China infected with HIV/AIDS by 2005, there was an urgent need to achieve public awareness. A unique black-tie AIDS Ball created unprecedented media coverage.
My 100-Year-Old Friend, Roy Neuberger gives an enlightening perspective from a great businessman and great art collector. His office, Neuberger Berman, is filled with art because that’s the way he and his colleagues want to live and work. He is grateful that he can continue to acquire great works of art for the Neuberger Museum.