It’s hard to believe that today Donald Trump becomes president of the United States. No doubt the inauguration will be the giant ego show we expect, despite having what seems to be a terminal music problem.
Every morning since he was elected, we’ve woken up to yet another random edict at 2am by the man who will arguably hold the most important position in the world. His communications are more astute than they seem, ensuring he stays in the news each day, yet the result is a general feeling of despair. It can feel hopeless, when with every step forward we are labelled "snowflakes", and told to get back in our box and shut up.
We face four years of this: the most un-presidential of presidents. Lies, double standards, bullying, intolerance, scare-mongering and using power for personal gain. A president whose actions we can neither defend nor explain to our children because of their inappropriate nature.
Fake news has undoubtedly played a big part in this. Years ago when our industry was discussing Eli Pariser’s book, The Filter Bubble, no one imagined that phenomenon would influence global politics the way we’ve now seen, a result of being exposed to more and more of the same opinions. That it would be so easy to convince people that the world’s problems lay in other people and cultures, rather than divisive domestic economic policies after the global banking crash. That it would be so easy to pit "us" against "them".
In Brexit, in the US result, in the re-election of Pauline Hanson in Australia, and in the popularity of UKIP here, we are seeing deep-seated resentment and fear bubbling to the surface. Now more than ever, we need to show we are not simply "snowflakes".
We advertising folk are expert communicators at heart. By acting in a more presidential way ourselves, could we all be more active against the rise of intolerance? We should embrace everything that Trump does not.
From Maltesers to Kevin Roberts, 2016 was the year that diversity and inclusion was finally recognised as a serious issue in our industry. There will always be noise around moving society forward, but we have the skill and understanding to change perceptions and reframe arguments, to take away power from those who would set us backwards. Even if they are presidents, our real detractors are a vocal minority, and by understanding the underlying reasons for the shift we’ve seen we can help to create a better vision of the future. This week’s campaign, led by Campaign Edge, to reinstate a photo of two Muslim girls into Australia Day billboards after right wing pressure had them removed is a great example of being part of the solution rather than simply a bystander.
We should continue on our mission to make a positive change in the world: to represent fairness, honesty, diversity and inclusiveness. To be a creative force for good, our people, our clients, our customers and our industry.
We recognise that the world has never been more divided and never angrier. But it is our job to continue the progress we are making and reflect the richness of the cultures we live in, to progress into our future with positivity.
Laura Jordan-Bambach is creative partner at Mr President