Advertising is ultimately a gateway to greater human connection and has the profound ability to eliminate social biases--even ones that appear to be invisible. Top brands have grown increasingly conscious of the customers they serve, sometimes changing the public perception of a whole demographic.
It might be fair to credit this trend to millenials, who represent $2.45 trillion in spending power and tend to stand behind socially conscious brands. According to a recent study by Omnicom, Generation Yers will actually spend 70 percent more on brands that support causes.
As a business owner, it's pretty exciting to think about how you might positively impact your audience, while promoting your brand. Here are some inspiring reminders to get your creative juices flowing.
A couple years ago, Always released a video that perfectly summed up the way that the general population of young girls view themselves after they reach puberty...and its millions of views are still climbing.
It consisted of a "casting call" in which young auditioners were instructed to "run like a girl" or "throw like a girl" or "fight like a girl." Every actress over the age of 12 obliged these orders by running, throwing, and fighting, well, like a lunatic with an exaggerated femininity. Younger girls took the instruction much more seriously and performed their tasks like someone who was a true expert with ambition. This scenario ignited a conversation about how society can make fun of women and how we should all cut it out. Like, NOW.
2. Witness the Power of Story
Viacom partnered with the global human rights organization WITNESS to create and roll out a new guerilla-style PSA campaign to raise awareness about social injustices happening all over the world. The PSAs then aired across Viacom's networks including BET, Nickelodeon, Logo, MTV, Spike, VH1, and CMT.
The media company projected eye-opening statistics across iconic buildings in New York City and filmed the reactions of passersby. Some messages were devastating, like the one highlighted in Logo's PSA: "In Saudia Arabia, homosexuality is punishable by death," which was projected above a subway entrance. Others were uplifting. For Nickelodeon's PSA, passersby saw pictures of young children who "Promoted digging wells for clean drinking water." New Yorkers see hundreds of advertisements per day, but these messages stopped them dead in their tracks--evoking very strong emotions.
The PSAs are currently being rolled out worldwide to Viacom's diverse group of networks, opening up a dialogue about biases in the hopes to eradicate them.
I was in a social setting with a bunch of adults a few weeks ago--and I actually heard a grown woman, in full seriousness, say "Women don't like science." I died a little inside. The good news is, companies like GE have made it their mission to foster a love of science in the general public.
A few years back, the innovative company created a Tumblr and Vine campaign called #6secondScienceFair in which they performed awe-inspiring science experiments that anyone can do at home. Check out my favorite here that uses food coloring, milk, and dish soap....mind blowing.
This campaign caused millions of people to care about science. And their CMO is a woman. Go figure.
It's thrilling to think that companies like these are continuing to focus their efforts on enriching the lives of others. How will you use your brand for good?