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Greg Foyster: Against Advertising


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‘Advertising’s re-branded public image troubles me. I’m an old employee of the industry, and The Gruen Transfer reminds me of conversations I had within the walls of advertising agencies, where social issues – such as the link between fast-food marketing and childhood obesity – were acknowledged, and then dismissed with a clever quip. The message, never explicitly stated, was that advertising is just a bit of harmless fun, so we shouldn’t worry about it too much.’

In the midst of a stellar advertising career, Greg Foyster came to the realisation that the work he was doing had grave consequences for the health of the planet. He became a walking contradiction, spending weekdays writing ads promoting petrol-guzzling V8 cars and weekends researching the dire impacts of climate change. To offset his guilt, he started writing pro bono campaigns for environment charities, but finally his inner conflict boiled over and he left advertising in pursuit of a simple life.

In today’s Lunchbox/Soapbox, Greg discusses how advertising promotes discontentment with what we have in order to sell us stuff we don’t need – and how the resulting waste is choking ecosystems and causing dangerous climate change. And how, rather absurdly, we still don’t get it!


Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good rant. Every Thursday, the Wheeler Centre hosts an old-fashioned Speaker’s Corner in the middle of the city, where writers and thinkers can have their say on the topics that won’t let them sleep at night.

Featuring some of the most compelling voices across just about every sector of human endeavour you can imagine, the themes dominating Lunchbox/Soapbox are proudly idiosyncratic. BYO lunch. Ideas provided.



Greg Foyster

Greg Foyster is an environment journalist. His feature articles, news stories and opinion pieces have appeared in more than 15 different publications, including the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Big Issue,Crikey and G Magazine. His first book, Changing Gears, is about a 6500 kilometre cycling ... Read more


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