If you saw an injustice in the world, would you stick up your hand and say something? Or stand by and watch it happen, again? The world is full of examples of individuals and governments standing by and saying nothing while atrocities rage. “Never again” is a slogan we all know from WWII. Yet, every day the world turns a blind eye, somewhere.

So, would you stand by and say nothing if you saw bad marketing or advertising by a colleague, a client, or (gasp) a competitor?

Whenever I have seen a bad advertising or marketing campaign I often wonder, “Who in the room thought this was a bad idea and said nothing?” “Who chose to not speak up in fear of what others would think of them?” THAT is the person I would want to fire.

One thing that I believe “differentiates” me from my competitors is that I am pretty darn average. I am born on the cusp of Baby Boomers & Generation X. I am that sweet spot for advertisers per my socio-economic background, education, age, marital status, consumer habits, etc.

So here’s my point: If I’m thinking it or seeing it, I wonder how many others are? And how many of them will actually speak up before it is too late?

I’ve told a partner that his edits reminded me of McDonald’s and “99 Billion Served.” I showed another partner that, on first glance, the font and design chosen by the client for their new bottled water looked like “phallic water.” Not the imagery they were going for.

And when a firm’s new logo was launched I heard my peers gossiping that it looked like a melting Big Stick Popsicle. Ironic thing is, when speaking to internal folks, I heard many of the same comments and more. However, I don’t think anyone stood up and made certain that their feedback was heard.

This morning I let a colleague know that his campaign, while cute, was striking me the wrong way. The imagery took me to the wrong place. It wasn’t how I, as the consumer, wanted to be thought of. What he does with that feedback is his own business.

I don’t know if anyone else will choose to speak up, but I value my relationships too much to allow bad marketing to happen to good people.