other: May 2013 Archives

Overwork deaths, also ad agencies et al

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Pic and my source Shanghaiist here's the original article - 600 000 overwork deaths a year here

Everyone is talking about Li Yuan, the 24 year old ad agency employee who died of heart failure / overwork stress. This happens a lot more than you'd think. Tragedy. 

However, it makes me think of how what used to be thought of as basic working rights are routinely dismissed even by rich companies who think of themselves as creative or progressive. In a passionate online discussion among us Shanghai folk, many insightful things were said, by people inside the industry too.

I want to reprint this from Mike H. of Shanghai rockers Hello Money:

It's an incredibly toxic and delusional culture. Most offices have a touch of delusion to them, of course, but the advertising industry seems to have fooled itself into thinking it's a global creative force and needs to be taken seriously artistically. That's how they have developed the overtime culture I*** ****** describes - the reasoning is essentially that one shouldn't watch the clock when creating art.

In reality it's literally the EXACT opposite of art: content created SPECIFICALLY to sell things (not even their own things! Other people's things!) with all artistic merit compromised.

Now, a lot of people outside the advertising industry do this kind of thing, we've all gotta make a dollar/RMB here and there, and there's no shame in it, but what makes advertising so pungently repulsive is that not only do they deny the extent to which they are sell-outs - they argue that they are a global creative force. It's possibly the most delusional group of people I've ever seen.

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This page is a archive of entries in the other category from May 2013.

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