Measurable action: How agencies are using creativity to inspire social change
In a year as transformative as it has been challenging, it’s no surprise that there’s been soul-searching across the advertising industry. As agencies of all sizes have sharpened their purpose and focus, they’ve doubled their efforts in building a more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive society, through the brands they work with and the stories they tell.
With this renewed energy, Global Citizen set a unique challenge to some of the world’s biggest and most innovative agencies. They set out to use their creative superpowers to build engaging, digital-first campaigns that would help drive positive action around the five pillars in Global Citizen’s post-Covid recovery plan for the world.
Global Citizen’s five pillars
We spoke to BBH London's creative team, Chloe Stephenson and Charlie Pendarves, and Rick Lamb, managing director, U.K., at Jellyfish, about their joint campaign for the pillar: "resume learning". Their goal was geared to inspire social change through direct response and conversion-based ads.
Combining creativity and technology to make a difference
There has been a definite rallying cry for social change across all industries but particularly so in advertising. At BBH, we believe in the power of creativity to make a positive difference not just commercially but also for people and communities.
New ad formats always help inspire novel ways to present our creative idea
Our “resume learning” campaign sought to highlight how 1.5 billion children around the world have been affected by school closures during the pandemic. We wanted to encourage people to sign up to Global Citizen in order to help drive tangible change.
Using YouTube’s video action campaign (VAC) format enabled us to create a story for action, which meant we approached our narrative arc differently. We moved away from the traditional beginning, middle, and end, instead utilising a really simple construct: an idyllic school being repeatedly destroyed.
New ad formats always help inspire novel ways to present our creative idea, and the VAC challenged us to drive action early — particularly in the skippable YouTube format.
Creativity is key for driving action, as it allows us to translate difficult or complex conversations into digestible content that people want to engage with. Using creativity and craft, we can frame a topic in a fresh way so people reconsider how they can act to resolve it.
We believe in the power of creativity to make a positive difference not just commercially but also for people and communities.
Using creativity throughout the marketing funnel
Typically, creativity sits more comfortably alongside top-funnel activity. But with the Global Citizen campaign on YouTube, the creative was designed to drive action. We used lower funnel tactics to harness intent and direct people to sign up to this global campaign for social change.
Until recently, platforms could be mapped almost to a specific role within the ecosystem. Brand and performance marketing felt separate. But now, all platforms need to adapt to allow consumers to jump from inspiration to action. In a saturated media environment, users are bombarded with messages, so these steps must be clear up front.
With formats like VAC, we have the power to reset expectations of what a direct response or conversion-based ad looks like, and it provides a sweet spot between creativity and effectiveness. We can apply that creativity not just to our concept but to drive conversions and inspire positive action, as we have with Global Citizen.
Scaling action and driving change
All of this year’s campaigns are now live on YouTube and running in their specific territories. Initial results are resetting the expectations of how creativity and automated ad formats can be harnessed to drive action while delivering a clear and measurable return on investment (ROI).
Following its premiere at Cannes Lions, we hope this inspires a meaningful and urgent change for everyone globally: taking action to build a more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive world.
Watch all the ads from the Global Citizen campaign:
ADVANCE EQUITY FOR ALL | US | “Wishful Thinking”
Creative Agency: Alma | Performance Agency: PMG
PROTECT THE PLANET | US | “Make it Stop”
Creative Agency: FCB | Performance Agency: 360i
RESUME LEARNING | United Kingdom | “Class Dismissed”
Creative Agency: BBH | Performance Agency: Jellyfish
END COVID FOR ALL | Brazil | “VC”
Creative Agency: Suno | Performance Agency: Blinks Essence
STOP THE HUNGER CRISIS | India
Creative Agency: Ogilvy | Performance Agency: Interactive Avenues
Director, Strategy & Ops and Ads Marketing, UK & IEGoogle U.K.