Brand Purpose The Drum Awards Brand Strategy

The Drum Awards for Social Purpose: a closer look at the Best in Brand Purpose category


By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

November 14, 2022 | 10 min read

Ahead of the awards ceremony on December 8, we recap the nominees in the Best in Brand Purpose category, in which Arcadis, Economist Impact, Ballantine’s, Aflac and Dove are all in the running.

Nominee AFLAC

Nominee Aflac made a short film

All of the nominees have now been announced for The Drum Awards for Social Purpose, but while we count down the days until the ceremony (part of our week-long awards festival running from December 5-9), we thought we’d take an in-depth look at the campaigns in the running for Best in Brand Purpose.

These awards celebrate the people and brands making a positive contribution through socially responsible marketing globally, with the Best in Brand Purpose category judged on clear strategic thinking using research and insights, creativity and innovation, tangible results and outcomes, proof of effectiveness, and impact and measurement.

Arcadis and Man Bites Dog

The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index (SCI) 2022 builds on a legacy index of 100 global cities first published in 2015. The 2022 report incorporated a range of new indicators and cities, and measures activity across three pillars (Planet, People and Profit), ranking each city based on the results.

Arcadis challenged Man Bites Dog to refresh its index to help the firm retain its market-leading position and reignite the urban sustainability agenda at a time when economic pressures (from pandemic recovery to conflict impacts) were curtailing momentum and investment.

The revamp enabled the SCI to maintain its position as the seminal urban sustainability index, amplifying Arcadis’s thought-leadership position and generating international speaker opportunities for Global Cities director John Batten.

Since its June launch, the campaign has secured over 700 pieces of (internally audited) coverage in over 50 countries, with an independently estimated reach of 450m. High-profile hits range from international FT publications to Australia’s Daily Telegraph and Time Out Magazine. The campaign microsite has been visited by more than 12,000 people, with a high average dwell time of almost five minutes.

Economist Impact

Economist Impact is a new business unit within The Economist Group. Proprietary research revealed that its clients were increasingly turning to its public policy and thought-leadership offerings to explore topics of importance to their businesses. It also highlighted a desire for the organizations they work with to be more than vendors of advertising space.

With a 75-year track record of evidence-based policy research across 205 countries, The Economist was in the right place to deliver this. The team sheds light on policy choices through benchmarks, economic and social impact analysis, white papers, forecasting and scenario modeling.

The scope of its projects is broad (health, sustainability and new globalization) but focused on addressing critical issues at the intersection of people, the planet and progress. Economist Impact was launched in September 2021 at the United Nations General Assembly during the Sustainable Development Goals session – a moment of global significance watched by the world’s most influential people.

In just its first year, Economist Impact helped 1,000+ partners engage audiences with the influence to affect real change. One highlight is The Sustainability Project, which saw 97m+ impressions (paid and organic) and 356k unique users. The editorial film series gained total views in excess of 2m and attracted its biggest base of organic users with 35% of total user share, 5588 hours spent to date and 25% of returning organic users since launch.

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

The Drum Insider

Once a month

Learn how to pitch to our editors and get published on The Drum.

M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment and Ballantine’s

In 2021 and 2022 Ballantine’s marked its own commitment to making music culture safer and fairer for all. Through its True Music platform, it has been a long-time champion of diverse talent and underrepresented music communities around the world.

Ballantine’s 2021 ‘Resetting the Dancefloor’ report found that one in three music lovers globally have experienced discrimination, and a further 84% have witnessed it on the dancefloor. Surveying over 2,300 music lovers across four continents, Ballantine’s aimed to drive action to address this through a series of commitments and initiatives, including a six-figure fund to support emerging music collectives and global activation True Music Studios.

True Music Studios brought together artists, promotors, panelists and underrepresented groups to celebrate local sounds, scenes and diverse communities, offering music fans around the world inclusive experiences both in real life and livestreamed to their homes.

The campaign saw 17 announcement pieces from media outlets such as DJ Mag, Wonderland, Record of the Day and Gay Times. This editorial reach garnered 3.8m total reach, with Balentine’s social reach attracting over 6m across social channels. By working with 181 artists, it lead to +12% female representation across all events (increased from 34% to 46% in 2020 activations) and 30+ inclusive events delivered in line with Balentine’s Safe Dancefloor policies, attended by 15,000 consumers and reaching 128 million people online.


Aflac believes the costs of care shouldn’t come at the expense of peace of mind, and for more than 65 years it has helped people with the expenses health insurance doesn’t cover. In 2021, Aflac took this a step further by launching the Close the Gap initiative, which educates, supports and advocates around the critical and rising issue of medical debt, including its disproportionate impact on people of color and those in underserved, under-resourced communities.

Through a multifaceted campaign and elements such as a short film, deep national research and grant programs, Aflac is helping Americans understand and protect themselves from what insurance doesn’t cover so they can care about everything else.

For the Close the Gap launch in January alone, Aflac earned nearly 800m impressions, 8.7m social media impressions and an ad value equivalent to $5.2m. With nearly 90 earned placements in national outlets, including Forbes and local newspapers such as Kentucky’s Harlan Enterprise, Aflac raised awareness around the critical issue of medical debt and its disproportionate impact on underserved communities.

To date, the impressions resulting from the initiative have amounted to 1,510,447,206. Some ways Aflac and its employees have promoted Aflac’s purpose-driven culture include a $158m donation to support children facing cancer and sickle cell disease,10,000 volunteer hours logged by 173 employees in 2021, and more than $1,283,792 donated to United Way to support local communities where employees work and live.

Collectively and Dove

For three years, Collectively’s work with Dove has centered on the intersection of product and purpose marketing, driving impact across product narratives in tandem with purpose-led marketing and diverse and inclusive casting. ​​In 2022, Collectively developed a multi-platform, cross-category strategy to accelerate Dove as a top 10 influencer-led beauty brand in the US and increase brand lift through creator-led brand storytelling.

With learnings from three years of Dove work delivered by Collectively, it actively invested in earned and nano communities, building relationships that could drive new interest, broader share-of-voice and added-value content. It also hosted its influencer content consistently, deploying A/B testing to assess success/optimizations across formats, messaging and asset types, as well as an increase in investment in macro and elite talent to extend reach and awareness.

It would then tap into consumer sentiment and trends on YouTube and TikTok to ignite brand relevance and deploy a relationship-first mindset, building partnerships that work for the brand and talent, and apply competitor learnings to take Dove content to the next level. And, finally, track all commerce-driving traffic to major retailers to measure direct sales impact.

This work spanned 22 paid campaign briefs and 13 PR mailers while nurturing and developing a community of 1,000+ creators across earned and paid activities. Content generated a massive reach and awareness, with more than 573.5m total impressions and impressive lower-funnel activity, with content exceeding the ‘Purchase Intent’ rate benchmark by 27% – further reinforcing the power of influencers to drive sales.

As of July 2022, the results of its annual campaign have had significant payoffs and measurable brand lift, advancing the brand’s positioning in Traackr’s beauty brand social rankings from #14 to #4, with an increase in VIT rank by 704% year-on-year.

For more information about the awards and how you can attend/watch the results, head over to the dedicated site.

Brand Purpose The Drum Awards Brand Strategy

More from Brand Purpose

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +