Jason Dooris: Is Marketing The Best Forum For Social Change?

Jason Dooris: Is Marketing The Best Forum For Social Change?
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, Atomic 212° CEO Jason Dooris (pictured below) explores whether or not marketing and advertising is really the correct forum for brands to leverage themes that are sensitive to its consumers.

Jason Dooris

While the selfie-snapping members of Gen Y are often criticised for being self-absorbed and vain, Millennials are actually some of the most socially responsible members of society, which is helping to lead a serious shift in marketers’ mindsets.

At this year’s Cannes Lions, Titanium & Integrated juror John Mescall said successful marketing agencies of tomorrow would be the ones that “create work not only designed to live in the world, but also to somehow move the world forwards”.

His insight was based on the fact that a number of the festival’s big winners were for campaigns that didn’t just focus on the client’s product, but also aimed to create social change.

Issues such as equality, domestic violence or even voting rights were given air time in campaigns for investment companies, beer or telecom carriers.

And it’s not just a case of the awards trying to look responsible or edgy by saying the best ads are the ones that try to make the world a better place – it actually makes sense from an economic point of view.

Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report found that 66 per cent of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable brands – a number that was even higher, at 73 per cent, among Millennials.

There is undoubtedly a benefit for these corporations to leverage themes that are sensitive to its consumers – it evokes emotion, passion and demonstrates a brand’s social awareness.

But is marketing and advertising really the correct forum for this? Are brands ‘using’ or ‘exploiting’ the sensitivity of a given issue for their own benefit?

Take the phenom that is Fearless Girl (main picture), which took out the Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes this year.

It promotes a fantastic message, championing corporate gender diversity, and has received global attention to the point that it is now one of the must-see attractions when visiting New York. Now it’s a regular occurrence for dozens of people to wait in line to get a snap posing, hands on hips, next to Fearless Girl.

Installed in March of this year, the statue was supposed to be in place for a week, then a month. Fearless Girl remains in place on Wall Street to this day, with public advocate for the City of New York Letitia James having implored Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the statue a permanent fixture.

And yet it has been incredibly divisive. While it is undoubtedly a fabulous sculpture by artist Kristen Visbal, Fearless Girl is also a brilliant piece of advertising for State Street Corporation – a centuries-old financial services holding company with offices all over the world.

Specifically, a plaque at the base of the statue reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference”. It’s a great message to the corporate world, however, “SHE” is also the NASDAQ ticker for State Street’s SPDR Gender Diversity Index, founded in 2016.

Indeed, NASDAQ published a piece calling the statue out as “a sly (perhaps too sly) ad by State Street”.

“While also sending a nice message, to think that State Street would have done this without having SHE in its fund line-up just doesn’t seem likely,” Eric Dutram of Zacks.com wrote.

“If so, why didn’t they debut this years ago? And at the same time, it was a stroke of genius to not try and put the statue out last year when the fund launched, as that clearly would have been seen as an ad.

“So, by putting out the statue this year, State Street gets a feel-good story in the news about an in-focus issue, and apparently, the chance for their statue/ad to be face-to-face with one of the most iconic images in all of American finance.”

The iconic image to which Dr Dutram is referring is of course Charging Bull, the three-tonne bronze statue which artist Arturo Di Modica created and installed – using hundreds of thousands of his own dollars – following the 1987 stock market crash.

Charging Bull was intended to be a symbol of the “strength and power of the American people”, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that Di Modica is not impressed with Fearless Girl, calling it “an advertising trick”.

But while both Dutram and Di Modica raise valid points – the statue may be an ad, put in place purely for a multi-billion-dollar company to increase its bottom line – is it really such a disaster, particularly if Fearless Girl leads to more women in the boardroom, or if it at least sparks important conversations about gender equality?

An interesting anecdote makes the point for me. A few weeks ago, a couple of rabble-rouser lads made a point of posing with Fearless Girl making unimpressed faces.

A woman called them out for being sexist, which was clearly what they had hoped would happen.

“This isn’t a symbol of feminism,” one of the young men said. “It’s an ad for corporate America.”

“So what?” the woman responded. “Can’t it be both?”

Check mate. And it’s perhaps the question we should ask when it comes to ‘goodvertising’ – there may be an ulterior motive, but is that really such a bad thing if the story told makes a positive difference in the world?

Photo credit: Volkan Furuncu/ Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

Please login with linkedin to comment

Charging Bull Designworks Fearless Girl goodvertising helloworld Troll

Latest News

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Appoints Apparent As Media Agency Of Record
  • Media

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Appoints Apparent As Media Agency Of Record

Coinciding with the launch of its new season, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has appointed Apparent as their media agency of record. The full service independent will manage all media strategy, planning and buying for the Sydney Symphony following an agency review. The appointment comes as Simone Young makes her debut as the Sydney Symphony’s new […]

Smart Accelerates CTV Growth Ambitions Via Publica Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Smart Accelerates CTV Growth Ambitions Via Publica Partnership

Independent ad tech platform Smart has announced a new partnership with connected TV (CTV) ad platform Publica to accelerate its growth ambitions. The integration is a major step in Smart’s commitment to building a scaled, vertically-integrated TV advertising platform for media buyers and sellers following its recent acquisition of global premium CTV demand-side platform (DSP) […]

TV News Network Forced To Apologise & Call In The Police After Playing Porn Instead Of Weather Report
  • Media

TV News Network Forced To Apologise & Call In The Police After Playing Porn Instead Of Weather Report

A news channel in Washington State has been forced to apologise and call in the police after viewers were subjected to 13-seconds of pornography instead of the evening weather report. Local station KREM accidentally broadcast the explicit clip during a weather report that aired at 6.30pm last Sunday evening. News co-anchor Cody Proctor was discussing […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
The Hallway Extends Work With Streamotion, Creating Name And Brand Identity For News Streaming Service Flash
  • Campaigns

The Hallway Extends Work With Streamotion, Creating Name And Brand Identity For News Streaming Service Flash

Following the successful launch of entertainment streaming service BINGE, independent full-service agency The Hallway has further extended its partnership with Streamotion, developing the name and brand identity for Foxtel’s Group’s news streaming service, Flash. Flash is a first of its kind dedicated live news streaming service, featuring more than 20 local and global live news […]

ID Collective Snares Sportsgirl Account
  • Media

ID Collective Snares Sportsgirl Account

Full-service communications agency, iD Collective, has been appointed by iconic Australian fashion brand, Sportsgirl, adding to its notable list of fashion clients, to develop and implement a strategic program. Leveraging iD Collective’s strong media and influencer relations and extensive experience working in the fashion space, the agency will drive key communications for Sportsgirl in the […]

Edge Creates First Local Campaign For Nevro, “I Am Not My Pain”
  • Campaigns

Edge Creates First Local Campaign For Nevro, “I Am Not My Pain”

Independent creative agency Edge has launched Nevro’s first local campaign, “I am not my pain”. Nevro is a medical technology company offering innovative solutions to chronic pain. Their HFX therapy has been available in Australia since 2011 and is a form of spinal cord stimulation (SCS), where an electrical device is implanted surgically near the […]

Dishing The Dirt On 10’s Upfronts With Beverley McGarvey & Rod Prosser
  • Media

Dishing The Dirt On 10’s Upfronts With Beverley McGarvey & Rod Prosser

There was a slew of announcements at 10 ViacomCBS’s Upfronts on Wednesday, so B&T sat down with executive vice president and chief content officer Beverley McGarvey, and chief sales officer Rod Prosser to get the lowdown. The announcements focused heavily on new content across 10, 10Play and Paramount+, as well as new offerings for advertisers. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Seven Appoints Tara Carlon As Executive Producer – Digital/Sport
  • Media

Seven Appoints Tara Carlon As Executive Producer – Digital/Sport

The Seven Network has named Tara Carlon as its executive producer – digital/sport. Carlon will manage digital and social strategies and operations for 7SPORT, including next year’s Olympic Winter Games Beijing and the XXII Commonwealth Games, along with digital sports programming. She has been a highly valued member of the 7SPORT production team for the […]

Apparent Tunes Up With Sydney Symphony Orchestra After Being Appointed Media Agency Of Record
  • Media

Apparent Tunes Up With Sydney Symphony Orchestra After Being Appointed Media Agency Of Record

Coinciding with the launch of its new season, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has appointed Apparent as their media agency of record. The full service independent will manage all media strategy, planning and buying for the Sydney Symphony following an agency review. The appointment comes as Simone Young makes her debut as the Sydney Symphony’s new […]

Bundaberg & Leos Enlist Comic Becky Lucas To Celebrate The Pubs Reopening
  • Campaigns

Bundaberg & Leos Enlist Comic Becky Lucas To Celebrate The Pubs Reopening

Remember those great pub rituals – the art of a good ‘Cheers!’, the dexterity involved in masterfully carrying a round, or the quality ice-breaking chat that lands you a new friend? After a devastating 18 months for Australia’s hospitality industry, Bundaberg Rum’s $11.5 million COVID-19 recovery fund Raising the Bar is encouraging Australians to support […]

Burberry Dazzles In Spectacular Spot As Models Literally Take To The Air
  • Campaigns

Burberry Dazzles In Spectacular Spot As Models Literally Take To The Air

Classic British fashion house Burberry announced its attentions that it wanted to shake its dowdy Princess Anne image in a Millennial-grabbing TVC back in November (check it out here.) Continuing a similar theme comes its latest work called “Open Spaces” and it’s definitely a dazzling effort created by the brand’s in-house creative team. At almost […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
IPG Unveils “Remarkable” 15% Q3 Growth
  • Advertising
  • Media

IPG Unveils “Remarkable” 15% Q3 Growth

Interpublic (IPG) has announced its Q3 revenues for the year grew a staggering 15 per cent, a number the holding company’s CEO Philippe Krakowsky (main photo) described as “remarkable”. The New York-headquarted agency now boasts the best numbers of the holding companies to report thus far, with rival Publicis up 11.2 per cent and Omnicom […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why Facebook’s Metaverse Will Transform Marketing As We Know It
  • Opinion

Why Facebook’s Metaverse Will Transform Marketing As We Know It

In this guest post, Codi Agency and LISNIC.Com founder Lisa Teh (main photo) talks about how Facebook’s proposed Metaverse will change the way brands market and engage with their customers… When Mark Zuckerberg comes out and says Facebook will be investing $50M and hiring 10,000 people to develop their metaverse, you know that it’s no […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
NGINX Launch Parodic “Investigative Reporter” Campaign Via The Misfits Media
  • Marketing
  • Media

NGINX Launch Parodic “Investigative Reporter” Campaign Via The Misfits Media

The latest NGINX campaign is live as The Misfits Media Company, and NGINX creates parodic ‘investigative reporter’ content with Dan Ilic on the streets of Sydney. The Misfits recently partnered with the APAC marketing team at NGINX to take an investigative deep dive into the world of mobile apps as the good, bad and (even) […]

Pinterest Announces New Tools, Features and Experiences For Users
  • Media

Pinterest Announces New Tools, Features and Experiences For Users

Pinterest has introduced a new suite of creator and Pinner products and experiences globally, as the platform continues to evolve to become home for the next generation of creators. At its second annual Pinterest Creators Festival, featuring Megan Thee Stallion and Storm Reid.  Pinterest creators Kerin Rose Gold, Wendy’s World, Henri Purnell, Carolina Gelen and […]

Digitas Creates Its Own Flavour With Data Driven Beer
  • Marketing
  • Media

Digitas Creates Its Own Flavour With Data Driven Beer

Agency Digitas ANZ has developed its own unique brew of beer, galvanizing the team to channel its expertise in data, technology, digital media and creative. The brainchild of senior creative at Digitas, Nick Duron – Digitas’ ‘Unicorn Punch’ comes in alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties and was created as a means of making Australian and New […]

Afterpay’s New Study Shows How Next Gen Aussies Are Feeling About Post-Lockdown Life
  • Marketing

Afterpay’s New Study Shows How Next Gen Aussies Are Feeling About Post-Lockdown Life

As Australia prepares to hit its 70 per cent nationwide double vaccination milestone, a new study from Afterpay reveals how Gen Z and Millennials are ready to Press Play on their lives, after 9 in 10 (88 per cent) missed key life events through lockdowns. From hitting restaurants, cafés and pubs and jetting off overseas, […]

Come From Away Reopens In Sydney!
  • Media

Come From Away Reopens In Sydney!

Producers Rodney Rigby and Junkyard Dog Productions have announced that the worldwide smash hit, Tony and Olivier award-winning musical COME FROM AWAY, has reopened at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney. The pandemic led to all theatre shows closing curtains in Sydney, however, with vaccinations rates soaring and restrictions easing, the theatre is back and Sydney […]

Guardian Australia Launches Revealing Climate Change Podcast, Australia V The Climate
  • Media

Guardian Australia Launches Revealing Climate Change Podcast, Australia V The Climate

Former PMs, high-ranking politicians and climate experts blow the whistle on how Australia became an international climate change pariah in the new Guardian Australia podcast series, Australia v the climate. Guardian Australia will release a special investigative podcast series ahead of the Cop26 global climate summit, scrutinising Australia’s role in the climate crisis over more […]

Enero’s Q1 Revenues Soar 22.6%
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Enero’s Q1 Revenues Soar 22.6%

B&T's unsure if Enero boasts Champagne clients on its books, but the corks should be popping on these bubbly numbers.