Advertisers Must Use Creativity to Drive Change

It’s not enough for ads, and today’s advertisers, to just sell things – they have to change things, too. In fact, consumers identified advertising as one of the best channels for companies to communicate their good deeds. In response to the demand, some ad experts are stepping up to the plate, using their skills and creativity to foster an advertising-fueled revolution – for good.

Image Source: 2010 Cone Shared Responsibility Study

One can scarcely discuss advertising at this time of year without mentioning its biggest stage – the Super Bowl. This Sunday, brands will spend an estimated of $270 million to capture the attention of American consumers. Although some companies in the past have used the forum to promote the causes they support, one advertising firm is asking its comrades to go a step further. ADD or DELETE is a campaign encouraging individuals to identify which Super Bowl ads they think “add” to society and those which should be “deleted” from the marketplace – raising awareness for how dollars could be better spent. In addition, the firm issued an ongoing challenge to advertisers to re-direct five percent of global ad spend to support global good, representing about $25 billion annually.

No Right Brain Left Behind is an initiative challenging teams from creative industries to craft products and approaches that promote creativity in education. Led by several advertising heavyweights and in partnership with Social Media Week 2011, the call-to-action will address widespread problems such as poor math scores and falling graduation rates. The initiative plans to pilot winning submissions for how to make school curricula more creative in 2011 and 2012.

Companies – including advertising agencies – are being held increasingly accountable for helping to solve social and environmental issues. Solutions require each entity to leverage its unique assets and marketplace influence for the greater good. So, as you’re rating the ads this Sunday, ask yourself if your industry has answered the call and how your organization can do its part to better leverage the incredible outlet and significant dollars advertising provides.