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Topical Brand Activism

Brand Activism and its influential relevancy was a hot topic last year and no doubt will continue to be so in the future.

How does Brand Activism differ from Brand Activation?

Brand Activation is focused on a positive out-of-home consumer interaction with a brand that provokes as many senses as possible. It is a tactical advertising intervention to promote consumer brand preference.

Brand Activism is about a brand using its powerful communication resources to add its voice against social injustices and its perpetrators.

It is a moral stance of establishing brand kinship by placing consumer interests before and beyond company market share targets.

The Communication Industry generally views Brand Activism as a positive and welcome development, if it is done correctly, and for the right reasons.

There is an increasing acceptance that a brand’s perceived commercial value and it’s perceived societal values are becoming so intertwined in consumer value propositions that they cannot be separated.

For companies to succeed In this polarized environment they will have to ensure that their brands stand for a higher purpose and how the company operates is aligned to that higher purpose.

The bigger the brand the bigger the expectation will be that it has the means and influential media reach to break down barriers and aid social upliftment endeavours.

2. Danish Channel TV2, All That We Share

Advertising Agency: &Co. (Part of The North Alliance of Nordic Agencies)

The original Danish version of this heartwarming 3 minute long commercial was viewed 5.4 million times in its first week, roughly equivalent to every single person in Denmark having seen the film.

The release of the English-language vesrsion gained over 3 million views on Youtube in just two weeks.

The online success of “All That We Share” shows that it is a global message we all needed to hear at a time when the cohesiveness of societies everywhere is under much stress.

2. Diesel, Make Love Not Walls

Advertising Agency: Anomaly, Amsterdam

Directed by David LaChapelle, this topical and vibrant commercial features the moody and ambient strains of “Higher Love” by Alex Vargas and stars Ukranian balet dancer, Sergei Polunin.

The rainbow tank featured in the commercial Diesel aims to use and promote as a symbol of hope on a tour to New York, London, Berlin, Shanghai and Tokyo.

3. United Colours Of Benetton, United by Half

Advertising Agency: Creativeland Asia

To commemorate International Women’s Day in India, United Colors of Benetton asked women to unite in their long-held commitment to the social justice cause of fighting to be seen as an equal gender.

The commercial received an overwhelmingly positive response with over 7.7 million views on YouTube in less than a month and the fashion brand consequently decided to spread its message of gender equality globally.

4. Procter & Gamble’s Always, Like A Girl

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, Toronto and London

The social activism experiment ‘Like A Girl’ is based on a powerful insight that gender stereotypes are so ingrained in our culture, that they are even part of our language.

The expression ‘like a girl’ in fact, is often used as an insult to tease somebody who is weak, over-emotional or useless. If it happens to young girls at a time when identities are already very fragile, it can have a devastating effect.

The societal impact of this Always brand initiative was huge. The launch commercial on YouTube was viewed more than 90m times and shared by over 1m teenagers.

Men and women all over the world joined the brand to help reclaim ‘like a girl’ as a positive statement and the #LikeAGirl hashtag skyrocketed on social media.

As Bob Hoffman the advertising guru, renowned blogger, international speaker and author so poignantly observed; “Good ads appeal to us as consumers. Great ads appeal to us as humans”.