Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Social Causes: Good/Bad advertising approaches

Universal public morality: principles and rules to which all individuals are committed to by being rational human agents and members of a civilized society. A role morality: the ethical principles or rules one is committed to by virtue of her professional role (job). A policeman for example is committed to enforcing the Law. He relies on role morality. An advertiser however relies on universal public morality. When in conflict, universal reality should trump role morality. Ultimately the role morality of advertising is determined by universal morality. Basically this means it is up to the individual to use their best moral judgement and to act ethically for the good of society. This also relates to advertising as a whole. If one advertiser acts against universal morality, it can ruin it for the rest of the industry. Pardon the Ethics lecture, but it seemed fitting for this blog. 

 Social Causes that :

Work     --Arnold Worldwide                        

Why it works:

This series of print ads is timeless. I think they could have even extend the campaign as far back as the ancient Greek and Romans. In my high school latin class we learned that gays were accepted and it was fairly common (if you were an older man) to have a younger gay lover. When did gays start to become hated on?

It is important that we (advertisers) take a moral stance for GLBT just as we would for other groups that have been stereotyped. The ad that said "It took 100 years for this to be considered a family portrait" is powerful because it reminds us that there is no "ideal" family portrait or mold. It's not the 50's anymore, we live in a progressive age. The more society is exposed to the new family portrait(s) the more accepting everyone will be. Here the advertising is being used as a tool to reflect our society. There are GLBT's and we, as an industry, are simply saying "We accept you".


Kinda Works...

Pepsico Frito-Lay turned to StrawberryFrog to identify, create and build a new nationwide Cultural Movement in the United States from scratch. True North. A brand that is about finding your life's true passion sponsored by a brand whose passion is creating the world's most innovative nut snack.
The movement began with full page newspapers across the nation calling on people with passion to join. We built an online community, gave them tools and experiences, and then amplified this to over 40 million Americans by turning True North into the primary sponsor of the Academy Awards.
If you haven't already picked up a pack of True North snacks, one thing you will notice is the elegant modern design of the brand across all touch points, creating an extraordinary experience that is very different from the brands main competitor: Planters. 

I think "True North" works for brand development and marketing strategies, and is not so much a good way of addresing social causes. Instead, it's looking at people who have passions and highlighting them. The True North story that won was about a cafe where she served and helped the homeless. However, FritoLay did not come up with her idea. In a way, they sponsored, or showed her movie at the academy awards. I think it's a smart marketing move, but too broad of a subject matter and not directly tied to a specific social cause. 

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