What the creative industry can learn from Chernobyl

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- Spoiler Alert -

The final episode of HBO’s TV series Chernobyl aired last night. It’s being met with wild applause across the globe and is officially the highest-rated show in HBO history.

Chernobyl is a miniseries that documents the 1986 nuclear accident in one of the worst man-made catastrophes ever. It led to the deaths of thousands of people and it’s still impacting many lives.

Believe it or not, there are several things the creative industry could learn from this massive tragedy.


1. Personal agenda

In the final episode, we witness the trial of three senior officials. They are being persecuted for the decisions they made during the night of the accident. All three men had been promised promotions and rewards if they managed to successfully run a safety test. Due to ego and hunger to climb the ranks, the officials took several poor decisions that caused the reactor to collapse.

We often see peoples' personal agendas cloud their judgment when making important decisions. Directors make decisions to work in favour of their personal goals rather than in that of their company’s vision. Decisions like that can ultimately jeopardise entire operations and impact people far beyond the decision makers.


2. Lack of transparency

It wasn't easy to get a peek behind the iron curtain. Sovjet officials held back information from its citizens and the rest of the world. Many lives could have been saved if the government had been more transparent about the critical situation.

Lack of transparency is something we encounter every day around the world. Brands are afraid of sharing their flaws and admitting when they have done something wrong. These are actions that are likely to backfire the second someone sheds light on them.

Imagine if Gillette would have made a statement about its wrongdoings before it launched The Best Men Can Be.
— We know that we have been driving toxic masculinity in advertising for many years. We know it was wrong and we have to learn from our mistakes. Therefore we are launching a new direction for our brand in our latest campaign…

Perhaps the outrage could have been avoided with a pinch of transparency?



3. Hierarchy

Hierarchies exist in most organisations. The plant workers in Chernobyl knew that something was off, but kept on working because they weren't told to do otherwise. Information was passed down the assembly line and the job was to execute on command.

Human errors will occur whether we like it or not. By having a company culture that empowers and encourages staff to speak up and voice their opinions minimises the risk of catastrophes. We are stronger as a unit than we are alone. At The Pop Up Agency, we believe that the best policy is honesty and the answers lie in the many. We are thinking about all the people who suffered in Chernobyl from 1986 till today.

- Maks & The Pop Up Agency.




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