The importance of being angry


There is, it seems, an assumption out there in adland that being ‘curious’ is a desirable quality to possess.

Or at least claim.

Particularly if you call yourself a planner or – loathsome word that it is – ‘strategist’.

Curiosity does of course, have much to recommend it.

But if you want to be a planner rather than just a finder-outer-of-stuff, if you want to do more than peddle ‘insights’, if you want to move things forwards, if you want to be leader,  if you  want to change the world, then simply being ‘curious’ just isn’t going to cut it.

You need to be cross.




Or even plain ol’ fashioned fucked off.

For curiosity is about wanting to know how things are.

It’s about wanting to look under the hood of things and discover their workings.

But being angry is about being dissatisfied with how things are.

And wanting to change them.


Being angry compells us to action.

Martin Luther King wasn’t ‘curious’ about civil rights.

He was angry at their absence.

Change comes from indignation that the status quo is allowed to exist.

Change comes from exasperation at the fact that the ways things are, is not the way things should be.

Change comes from anger at what people are asked to put up with.

People aren’t ‘curious’ in Egypt.

They’re angry.

And when it comes to our small part of the world, there is surely lots to be angry about.

Products that don’t live up to their promises.

Promises that are specious.

Marketers that knowingly pollute minds and bodies.

Businesses that cannot grasp the notion of service.

Businesses that haven’t woken up to the fact that being a responsible corporate citizen isn’t a sideshow for bleeding heart liberals, but is actually better business practice.

Businesses built on the back of dubious and conveniently outsourced labour practices.

Brands that choose not to inform the consumer of the human and environmental impact of their manufacture, consumption, and disposal.

Marketing content that barely conceals its disdain for its audience.

Marketing content that shamelessly peddles in tacit or explicit sexism.

Marketing content that pollutes our leisure time, our private space, and our physical environments.

The list needless to say, goes on.

And in all of this, curiosity will not help.

Because curiosity isn’t opinionated.

Curiosity isn’t dissatisfied.

Curiosity cannot marshall resources.

Curiosity cannot persuade and bring along others.

Curiosity will not keep you going when the going gets tough.

Simply put, curiosity just isn’t enough to help us with the things that really matter.

For  – putting aside for one moment all the fancy talk of ‘engagement’, ‘participation’, ‘community’ and so on – what people really need (indeed, really deserve) is as Helen Edwards has written, better products, better service, easier lives, a cleaner world, and more health and happiness.

The purpose of our efforts is to help in that.

In ways both big and small.

Our purpose is to make people’s lives better.

And making people’s lives better requires vision, impatience and action.

Ask Gandhi.

Ask King.

Ask Mandela.

So if we are to contribute to people’s lives, if we are to play our humble part in changing the world for the better, then f’fuck’s sake, let’s get angry.



Helen Edwards, ‘Too many marketers ignore their primary task


  1. G

    A noble post. Adland’s purpose isn’t changing the world for the better, though, is it? (I wish it were.). Surely it’s to add value and drive growth for clients. Hopefully this will increasingly mean a better world as businesses become more conscious and responsible – but most of the time these do not coincide, at least for now.

    • Martin Weigel

      Yeah… I suppose it comes down to distinguishing between means and ends… I’d hope we see that making people’s lives a bit better is how we create that value for clients. But like you, I’d question how many corporations really feel they have responsibilities beyond fiscal ones.

  2. Mani Kadayam

    Sigh…As an Indian I am tired of seeing the name ‘Gandhi’ being misspelt as ‘Ghandi’ ad nauseum, ad infinitum. As a strategist I am really angry for fuck’s sake….

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  4. Dzmitry


    1. What are doing in the ad agency? Please don’t deceive yourself with “changing the world” notion, it has nothing to do with it.
    2. Why do you think that curiosity and being cross/hungry for change are the opposites?

    Kind regards,
    Dzmitry Hryshkevich

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  7. Louis Davis

    This article pisses me off. What kind of an absolute moron sees the similarity of religious violence in Egpyt and the planning profession? To compare the plight of the residents of Cairo, King or Gandhi to some imagined movement or set of grievances related to marketing is not only an inaccurate comparison-but a manipulation. The two set of contexts do not relate in any way, shape or form. Civil Rights in both instances were at a deficiency because of the government’s failure to uphold human rights and the paradigm, the WHITE paradigm’s inability to absorb different cultures. What a “planner or strategist” does in some wank-each-other-off ad agency is hardly going to change the world, and to think it may, amidst the “social marketplace” revolution (which is also rubbish) is naive, misguided and immature. What the fuck are you talking about?

    Fuck you

  8. Cary Hazelton

    The Only people I have seen getting up and physically doing anything towards change besides sitting on their assess talking anout shit, are veterans. And I know people are gonna get pissed but…. those 98% ers and annonymous. These three groups I have seen physically doing things toward changes they want. I wonder why? What do the three have in common to make them get up?

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