Select Page

Engaging Social Experiments

Social experiments are exactly that, experiments. No matter how well they are researched, planned and the film footage is edited, there is no guarantee of a positive outcome.

However, when the risk involved pays off successfully it becomes a powerful source of human understanding and lessons of life that can reflected upon about one’s own attitudes and social behaviour.

1. Ing Bank, Love Beats Money

Advertising Agency : J. Walter Thompson, Amsterdam

Directed by Susanne Opstal, this social experiment was designed to discover whether people value their friends or family members more than money. It is powerful and insightful revelation about love and friendship and the value of relationship bonds.

2. Samsung Galaxy, The Way You Are

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, France

Didier Borgel Hansen directed this commercial that won an Epica Gold award for ‘Personal Electronics Devices’. It involves a social experiment to discover how teenagers would react to their parents having ten minutes of unrestricted access their cellphone in return for a free trip to their desired holiday destination.

The trepidation and anxiety this caused for the teenagers is an insightful revelation about how much of our personal information is stored on our cellphones and what it can reveal about our lives, social morality and innermost thoughts.

3. Dove Portugal, How Men View Real Beauty

Advertising Agency: Blac Ship, Portugal

Directed by Carlos Cipriano and Duarte Dominques this commercial is about a social experiement to discover how men view real beauty. Men were connected to heart monitors that recorded their emotional responses to the the images they were shown.

As can be expected from social experiments, many advertising commentators were of the opinion that the results were of dubious value. But I am also also aware that most of those commentators have never faced the challenge of producing a creative idea, selling it to client and then having to manage its implementation.

As the old saying goes ‘opinions are like navels, everyone has one’. My navel gazing opinion is that everything considered, the experiment was an inspired creative initiative that provided a valuable reminder of an insightful truth that true beauty is heartfelt and not ‘skindeep’. For me the tagline of the commercial sums up the message with relevancy and resonance; “Real beauty touches the heart.”