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Vatican official urges advertising that promotes human dignity

Pontifical Council for Social Communications president Archbishop John Foley has stressed the importance of a "good name" in advertising.

Addressing the World Federation of Advertisers assembled in Brussels for its 50th anniversary meeting, he said that "being" is better than "having". Our being is synonomous with human dignity, while advertising's emphasis on "having" tends to put poor people down, even subconsciously.

He said: "Emphasise quality, emphasise efficiency, emphasise even better grooming and cleanliness and good appearance - but please do not suggest that a possession is going to make one person better than another person."

He also raised the issue of political advertising, which he suggested works against democracy because "the costs of advertising limit political competition to wealthy candidates or groups".

"As you know," he said in conclusion, "advertising profoundly affects the values and the morals in society - and not just people's buying habits. I hope you realise your own power - and that you continue to use it responsibly, as so many of you do."

Archbishop Foley addresses Federation of Advertisers (Vatican Information Service/EWTN)

World Federation of Advertisers
Pontifical Council for Social Communications

29 Oct 2003