Brands are determined to take a stand

If you have been following my activity in the last 5 years, you have probably already heard me saying that brand storytelling and branded content & enterteinment are essential for engaging with end-users.
You probably also now that BC&E effectiveness have much more to do with brand values than sales or lead generation.

For companies that have values to share, communicating with an active and conscious target is a great resource and, also, a big challenge. That’s probably why purposeful campaigns have recently become a  trend in advertising and some global companies are promoters of “visions” or cultural movements distributed on large-scale platforms, take for example GE’s ecomagnation, M&S Plan A and Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan.


“Purpose must sit at the core of the brand, driving everything it does. It can not be an add-on or something that comes and goes according to whim or budget. It’s this authenticity that consumers recognize and reward, because today’s consumers, especially millennials, can smell bullshit a mile away”
– Keith Weed, Chief Marketing And Communications Officer 

And we have seen several brands take these opportunities with a great outcome, some to the point of being award-deservers to such a great scope as the Cannes film festival.

In 2018 Dentsu Aegis found that purposeful campaigns have taken a large part of the winning entries at Cannes during the past five years

“Taking home 29% of the Grand Prix or Gold Lions in the previous four years, with a significant increase in 2017, where nearly 50% of the awards were handed to purposeful campaigns.”And this trend was confirmed in 2018: Almost 60% (15 out of 27) of Cannes Grand Prix winners were assigned to purposeful campaigns.

Since 2017, corporate organizations took the lead (VS. Non-Profit) in creating purposeful campaigns, both in terms of the absolute numbers and relative percentages.

That is probably why the 2018 edition of Cannes Lions epitomizes the Festival’s attention to environmental and social causes through the launch of a new category: Sustainable Development Goals Award. In this category out of 20 winning campaigns, 11 were made by a corporate organization (not an NGO!): 4 awards were assigned to Carrefour for ‘Black Supermarket


One to Enel Romania with ‘The Nest Address’ (Life on Land), one to P&G with ‘The Talk’, one to Kelloggs with ‘Uniform against malnutrition’, one to Fazer with ‘Cricket’ and one to Ikea Italy with ‘The Room’ just to name a few.

Some of these campaigns won the most important categories: Film (The TALK) and Creative effectiveness (‘Savlon Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’) – for the first time giving more emphasis to the social impact than to the business results.

And this creates a pattern for other brands to follow, because, since purposed brands are now becoming a more popular and rewarded part of society, this obliges others to “follow or die”. Staying in the dark with matters as important as sustainability or not knowing how to communicate their efforts are some of the reasons why consumers are now ‘shaming’ brands. In such a competitive market like the one we have today, in order to keep growing, brands must step-up and become more sustainable, turning social impact not as their path but as their goal.

RELATED CONTENT: Purposeful communication: Opportunity or threat?

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