Social issues advertising is typically perceived as something initiated and created by state authorities to raise awareness for pressing social issues like air pollution, child abuse, drunk driving etc. And typically, this kind of ads can hardly be called commercials – because they are made without profit as a goal.
Nevertheless, in the recent years, the tendency has changed, and this is driven by consumers who are increasingly more aware and more active in the desire to have their share in dealing with global issues.
For example, Nielsen research conducted back in 2014 showed that 55% of online consumers from 60 countries stated they chose to pay more for products and services offered by companies that strive to tackle social and environmental issues.
Another research found that “Products of caring companies are seen as superior”. In other words, companies with corporate social goodwill receive higher profits because their perception by consumers is improved, which is called noble edge effect. Ch
So, brands that want to resonate with their audience, especially if they are millennials, need to differentiate themselves and take their stand on social issues. However, it is critical that they are genuine and relevant to their industry in their efforts to make the world a better place to live.
Actually, there are some good examples of how famous brands handle this and how to successfully combine profit and social issues within a single advertising campaign.
Ariel – Share the Load
The video commercial aimed at India, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh to introduce a new line of produce ended up going viral in 22 countries and being translated into 16 languages. The reason for this head-spinning success is the issue that’s raised in the spot which perfectly fits within Ariel’s sphere and captures people’s attention as well as encourages spectators to take action and “Share the load” – help women around the house, at least – with laundry.
Stella Artois “Buy a Lady a Drink”
What? Beer brand dealing with social issues? Is that a joke? Well, in this case, not at all. Stella Artois has successfully focused upon an issue within its niche – clean water crisis in the developing world. Their campaign featuring Matt Damon, a famous actor, and partnering with Water.org, has already been driving awareness of this problem for a few years. Moreover, they take steps to really have their share in tackling the issue – providing clean water to those in need of itby selling special edition beer chalices.
Dove “Real Beauty”
Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” ad (or rather a short film) has become one of the most viral video ads of all times. Dove has found a way to set apart its identity by addressing women’s problems that are seldom talked about. No doubt, you’ve seen this ad lots of times, but every time it’s hard to hold back tears. The spot sparks emotions, and this is key to success with advertisements. Rather than bluntly stating the advantages of its products, Dove reassures its target audience, women, and shows understanding, which wins their trust and loyalty.
Beware – be authentic
We already talked about an infamous McDonalds’ “Dead Dad” ad, which didn’t get it right with emotions and messaging. Suggesting that a fast food restaurant could help a son cope with his father’s death was too insensitive. The ad was pulled because of the wave of disapproval it caused.
Well, looks like “Do good and good will come to you” principle is working in the harsh world of advertising as well. Hopefully, you’ve found inspiration and ideas for your new social issues campaign are spilling out of your mind.
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