Today on Twitter I read a tweet by GOOD that mentioned a Media for Social Impact conference that will be hosted by the United Nations Office for Partnerships and PVLIC Foundation tomorrow (4/11/2014). I immediately clicked the link, seeing that this title alone encapsulates my passion, my goal in life, my obsession. I cannot believe they made a whole conference about it! After mentally adding this conference to my life’s bucket list, I explored the website and found these 6 commercials that amplify a positive social message. Each topic was completely different from the rest, but they were all beautiful messages worth sharing. Here is my personal ranking of the 5 company ads featured on that site:
5. MICROSOFT 2014 SUPER BOWL: EMPOWERING
I have to hand it to Microsoft since it is a big step for such a huge company to use up all their Superbowl dollars on talking about how technology “gives hope to the hopeless” and empowers. However, this ad was the weakest in terms of having a concrete cause and message they were trying to convey. It still felt a lot more like “this is all the great things we’ve done” rather than “this is the good that you can do.” Still, a Superbowl spot gets the most impressions in all of the television landscape. Remember folks, use technology for good, not for evil.
4. THE GIRL STORE
This is a great way to leverage media as not only a message, but a tool in the age of e-commerce. I love the idea of having people “shop” for specific items that they are actually donating to children who are at risk of sex trafficking. The actual store was a great touch as well. The problem: uhh… what are those little girls doing trapped in that glass box, and why do they look so hopeless in the website? I understand that this may be the unsettling touch needed to call attention, but it adds a whole new level to making a commodity out of girls and of victims of poverty.
3. ANAR: AID TO CHILDREN AND ADOLECENTS AT RISK FOUNDATION (SPAIN)
This is one I have seen around my Facebook feed a while back. Definitely one of the most innovative uses of advertising technology for outdoor displays that I have ever seen for the social impact sphere. International acclaim is also a big deal considering this ad is actually done in Spanish. Makes me wonder though: how many kids actually called that child abuse number? Or is this one of those cases where the stunt was merely pulled so that it can be shared on the internet and gain more awareness
2. GUINNESS BASKETBALL COMMERCIAL
Sorry Microsoft, but Guinness tackled helping the differently-abled in a more compelling manner with its human touch. The twist in the middle actually took me by surprise. It was a situation that normalized a group of folks that would usually be seen as the marginalized or outcasts. The story was also relatable enough for everyday folks to replicate. It was obviously an ad at the very end, but that spirit of camaraderie and respect still lingered beyond the commercialization.
1. DOVE REAL BEAUTY CAMPAIGN
I rarely pay attention to pre -roll ads that show before Youtube videos I am trying to watch, but the Dove Real Beauty Sketches ad made impossible for me to avert my eyes for even a second. I remember finding this ad so much more creative and meaningful than whatever silly music video I was about to view when I first came across this last year. This video takes the cake in my ranking because the issue addressed here does not seem so remote. In no way is it calling out another group as the helpless, or marginalized ones that need our help. This video says that each of us needs our own help – we need to start seeing ourselves for the beautiful beings we truly are in order to make the world a happier and more confident place.
I am probably not going to know what happens in this Media for Social Impact summit since it is a very closed event. However, the fact that it exists at all has restored my belief that the media industry – specifically advertising – is on its way to make a huge splash in addressing the Millennium Development Goals. With this newfound hope, I decided to revive this blog so I can keep on learning how I can make an impact on this Media x Social Impact space (especially as I just graduated college and am now seeking the next big thing in life). None of these videos may have touched on my specific niche of global poverty alleviation in the economic sense, but they all address the poverty of the soul and how media messages can inspire people towards fulfilling their own calls to action.