Happy New Year! Happy New Year! Happy New Year! I don’t think I can say that enough.
There’s no denying 2020 was a lifechanging year for all of us. I won’t rehash all the reasons why or the toll it took. It’s over, and all I can say is, well, happy new year! As I was searching for positives amidst the mayhem, I came across a few campaigns from the last year or two that really gave me hope that it’s possible to change lives, and the world, for the better. You may be familiar with some of these while others may be new to you. I found them inspiring and I wanted to share them as we kick off this new year. It’s my hope that in 2021, we can do something lifechanging for your target audience. Enjoy.
Today We Rise
It doesn’t matter what side of the political aisle you sit, there is no question this ad will change lives. Shot in real time and edited within hours of the inauguration, it shows the reaction of Girl Up members from across the country witnessing Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic swearing-in ceremony. She was the first, but this ad will ensure she won’t be the last.
Toy maker LEGO knows a thing or two about fun, and about the power of creativity. They also know that when you combine the two, you can change the world. Aiming to help visually impaired children learn Braille through play, LEGO released Braille Bricks. Fully compatible with existing LEGO toys, Braille Bricks are molded with studs that match with Braille letters and numbers. They are also designed to be inclusive, so parents, teachers, and students who are sighted will be able to enjoy them as well. This is a brand that knows its strength and its possibilities.
According to the World Happiness Report, Romania ranks among the top 10 unhappiest countries in Europe. Coca Cola is a brand built on optimism and happiness. So, to help lift the country’s spirits, they created limited-edition packaging of a half-full version of their iconic bottle. Written on the back of each label was a piece of good news that pertained to the country, such as the fact that a Romanian team won the Robotics World Championships or that tourism in Romania grew by 6.3%. People could even order customized bottles with their own personal good news.
Pay With Plastic
This one launched in 2019, but its norm-busting approach to addressing ocean pollution is unignorable. Sponsored by Corona, it allows people in certain coastal regions around the world pay for Corona beer with plastic waste they find on the beach or in the ocean. It’s not always about the money, it’s also about what you believe and how you behave.
This one’s a bit controversial, but I applaud it for taking a risk and taking a stand. Gillette’s 35-year-old tag line, “The best a man can get” was put under a new light in the midst of the #MeToo movement. Instead of staying out of the fray, the brand decided to jump in by making a statement with a 2-minute film proposing that we could stop misogyny, sexual harassment, and bullying if we were better role models to our sons. To put their money where their mouth is, they committed $1M a year for 3 years to non-profits that share their values. Some praised the company for its bravery, while others panned it for taking advantage of a situation. I believe Gillette’s campaign is a good example of how brands can approach and voice their support for social issues by leaning into their own DNA. The watchout is that you just need to weigh all the pros and cons.
This is one of my favorites of the last few years – Budweiser’s short film commemorating basketball legend Dwayne Wade’s final season as a pro. The film introduces us, and Wade, to 5 people whose lives were literally changed because of things he did, not as a basketball player, but as a human being. It will make you cry. It will make you feel. And it will make you believe in the power each of us has to change a life.
I was particularly touched by this ad campaign for Gucci and Vogue starring Ellie Goldstein, a model with Down syndrome. While there is nothing unusual about featuring people with Down syndrome in advertising, brands like Gucci and Vogue have historically had a narrow definition of beauty. It was both bold and unexpected for them to widen their aperture and be more inclusive. It definitely made a statement and an impact. According to Gucci, the post of Goldstein’s ad on the company’s Instagram feed was the most liked post ever. Hopefully, this is a trend that will only pick up momentum.
Read more about this story here: https://www.insider.com/down-syndrome-model-ellie-goldstein-stars-in-gucci-campaign-2020-7
The Gift Bottle
Another goodie from Coke. Not a lifechanging idea, but it definitely puts a smile on your face, and shows how Coke understands their brand’s role in the world.
Watch this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr8tcCNMEWo
Perhaps a little self-serving, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out the lifechanging work our Omnicom network did this past year to pay homage to the frontline workers who kept us all safe. The campaign asks the public to unite in thanks and support for all healthcare workers under a reimagined American flag—one made of used surgical masks as stars and hospital colors as stripes. Money raised from the purchase of branded merchandise went directly to support the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund.
Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director