News & Opinion

Advertising for the greater good

Consumers have more choice than ever before. Successful brands are tapping into the value systems of consumers by discussing the topics important to society and those that resonate with the concerns, beliefs, and aspirations of target audiences.

Brands are looking to a more reflective media: 68% of news brand readers agree it is important that a company acts ethically, according to TGI Clickstream data. And they are using the power of the press to draw attention to key societal topics such as the environment, racism and health.

Here are a few recent examples:

BP: As the world’s focus on global warming continues to grow, the company recently announced clear targets to reduce its emissions while at the same time increasing output. BP’s ad in The Daily Telegraph fully embraced transparency and reported on its progress. To illustrate its aim and cement its commitment to succeed, the ad cleverly turned the iconic BP logo into a target board. BP has committed an additional US$100 million to research and the implementation of low-carbon initiatives.

Oatly: Did you know the food industry generates nearly twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as all transportation combined? In Oatly’s recent ad in The Guardian, it highlighted the impact the industry has on the environment. It also brought Oatly’s brand purpose — making it easy for people to eat and drink without taxing the planet’s resources — to life by introducing product labels that record the impact the product has on the environment.

Premier League: “The passion we share brings us together. This is everyone’s game.” This message was shown in the Premier League’s ads in recent UK weekend papers. “No room for racism” is a bold new campaign aimed at demonstrating that football is for everyone and racism will not be tolerated. Discrimination in football has become a recent topic of concern and the UK’s top football league is uniting teams and footballers alike around the issue.

Philip Morris: The world’s biggest tobacco group launched “The Year of Unsmoke” with a powerful print ad in The Times. Featuring its definition of “unsmoked,” the ad is part of a wider campaign urging people to rid their lives — and the world — of smoke. The move is likely to cannibalise the sale of “conventional cigarettes,” which is where the majority of its profits come from. Philip Morris has invested US$6 billion into research to develop smoke-free products and has a smoke-free portfolio of four products.

These examples show how brands are benefiting from aligning their actions and communications with a greater purpose. With engaged readers and a history of campaigning, newspapers are the perfect place to deliver these messages.

At Cannes Lions, the eighth UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, “You have tremendous power to shape opinions. You are master storytellers.”

Let’s hope brands and advertisers increasingly use that power for the greater good.

A version of this blog was first published by INMA

by Hannah Ohm Thomas 23/04/19

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