Creative campaigns hold the potential to reach further than simple brand promotion. Creativity-in-action has the capacity to shape societal change. As highlighted in Warc’s 2023 Creative Effectiveness Lions report, brands are redefining their purpose by using creative ideas to inspire, educate, and foster positive transformation.

Brands that genuinely embrace a purpose and use their creativity to advocate for progress build trust, loyalty, and a dedicated following beyond their target market. They become leaders of change in their respective industries.

But making an impact does not come easy. How do you connect strongly enough with an already ad-saturated audience as they go about their daily lives? Let’s take a closer look at how some brands have got it right…


The influence of narrative: Delicately crafting stories that resonate

Great creative begins with storytelling. Narrative-driven campaigns have the power to evoke emotions, challenge perceptions, and inspire action. Take the “Dove Real Beauty” campaign, launched nearly two decades ago. Dove’s portrayal of real women in their advertising shattered conventional beauty standards, sparking a global conversation on self-esteem and body positivity that can still be heard today.

Their campaign idea not only influenced advertisers to make changes but it also played a role in inspiring Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, to ban ads boasting unrealistic body image on London’s public transportation system. This example shows how a narrative-driven campaign can contribute to meaningful societal change.


Authenticity and purpose: Aligning brands with values

Nowadays consumers are more discerning about the brands they choose, seeking those that align with their values. However, what if your brand’s actions were the driving force behind attracting consumers, rather than relying on them to seek you out?

Nike’s track record exemplifies this approach as they have fearlessly addressed social issues in the past, sparking conversations about important topics. Such campaigns demonstrate how authenticity and purpose can drive meaningful discussions.

Nike consistently excels in inspiring innovation and delivering compelling messaging. The brand has been a notable presence in the Web3 space, upholding a consistent brand identity and motivating consumers to unlock their true potential. Their latest brand video is exceptionally moving, encouraging individuals to push their boundaries and break through obstacles when necessary.


Amplifying for change through visuals that cut through the noise

Besides creating an authentic story, ensuring that you amplify your messaging through thought-provoking creative visuals is what will enable you to cut through the everyday noise and can stop individuals in their tracks.

Take Oatly’s recent campaign, “Show Us Your Numbers,” for instance. In this initiative, Oatly boldly calls on other food industry brands to reveal their climate footprint figures—a collective effort to combat climate change through the idea of paying for competitors’ advertising space if they reveal their carbon footprint (effectively executed in the large OOH spaces they’ve purchased).

Whether or not these other brands choose to participate is not the focal point. Instead, the emphasis lies in Oatly’s ability to effectively convey a message for the public to pause, think, and engage with an essential conversation. 


Innovation and technology: Redefining engagement

We see more and more campaigns using technology as the core of the creative idea. Embracing technology and innovation means we can connect in novel ways to spark interest and engage in interactive, two-way conversations with consumers. Take Patagonia and their “Worn Wear” campaign, which used a mobile app and augmented reality to encourage people to repair and share their clothing, thereby reducing waste and promoting sustainability.

This use of technology not only showed Patagonia’s commitment to innovation but also ignited discussions on the power of disruptive thinking in marketing, challenging its audiences to be part of the movement.

The creative execution of your campaign can go beyond solely meeting the objectives of activity and can become a compelling narrative that fosters trust, inspires action, and drives meaningful, positive change in our world.

Authentically connecting your brand values through the transformative power of creative can champion matters that align both with you and the wider environment in which you operate. So next time you’re writing that brief or planning for your next campaign, consider the impact you can have and how you can effectively make a difference through the powerful execution of creative advertising.

Our team of Creative Strategists, Directors, and Planners love to make a difference. Interested in working with us? Let’s chat!