Brand Purpose The Drum Awards The Drum Awards For Social Purpose

The creative trends to consider for your social purpose campaigns in 2023


By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

November 24, 2022 | 8 min read

We dive into the creative trends spotted by the jury for The Drum Awards for Social Purpose.

social purpose 2022 trends part 2

Even more trends from brands who are using purpose for good in 2022

As we draw nearer to The Drum’s week-long awards festival (running December 5-9) we will be rewarding the people and brands making a positive contribution through socially responsible marketing globally at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose. The awards ceremony will be held at The Drum Labs in Shoreditch, London on Thursday December 8. Find out how you can attend here.

Ahead of then, we caught up with the award’s judges for their thoughts on this year’s entries.

Fleurie Forbes-Martin, story and growth director, Stronger Stories

Whether action came in the form of meaningful investment, creativity, technological innovation or holding space for new voices, the most powerful work kicked fluff to the curb.

In its place, agencies and brands came together to invent revolutionary ways to elevate voices, shine a light on inequities and put power back into the hands of people that are owed it. In doing so they have and will continue to inspire a ripple effect that reaches far beyond their original briefs. I felt proud to be part of an industry that is leading by example. Perhaps it’s because we have less tolerance for empty promises than ever before, or perhaps it’s because there’s a fundamental shift happening in the collective psyche.

Either way, I hope with all my heart that businesses and agencies entering other Drum Awards take notice of these purpose-led renegades and feel a deeper sense of urgency to join the right (and most fantastical) side of history.

Graham Nolan, co-chair, storytelling and partnerships, Do the WeRQ

There is no progress toward purpose without innovation. For all the intent for change in this world – and we know the intent is genuine and widespread – the awarded work made clear that if our current tactics were working, we wouldn’t still need change. The most powerful cases didn’t augment and reinforce old policies; they addressed genuine tension and demanded new answers, collaborations and thinking. The education category didn’t just find new needs for enlightenment and augment old tactics for new solutions; they simply and effectively reinvented approaches to how people should be educated specifically to the needed impact.

In the most celebrated work, the metric was lives changed, and the leaders and collaborators involved understood what a changing world must look like. Our challenges as a society feel unrelenting; this work shows that creativity is an infinite resource for human connection and relief.

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Meg Beckum, executive creative director, Elmwood

The good news is that there’s plenty of socially conscious work happening in the world. I was particularly impressed by the diversity of social issues – from the environment and sustainability to the war in Ukraine to sexual health, education and alcohol and substance abuse – and so much more.

The best work was enabled by two things: extraordinary innovation in technology and deeply authentic expression and storytelling. Artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) transformed brilliant ideas into reality and did so with tremendous scale. Also, the most successful entries tapped into today’s interwoven stream of entertainment, news, politics, social media and advertising. Awareness and educational campaigns spoke their audiences’ language, attitudes and values – delivering highly engaging and relevant content.

Ary Ganeshalingam, global chief marketing officer, Change Please Coffee

The marriage between technology, storytelling and impact was a standout for me this year. I particularly loved entries that didn’t necessarily talk about what good they were doing as the core of their campaign, but showed how they could help the audience (or more importantly, those in need) get involved in doing good, and all very effectively (driving the great conversation and potential for further amplification, and provoking real change). Overall, the best ideas were built on simplicity and not overly theorized or convoluted, and this ends up being the most powerful and engaging as a judge. The attention bandwidth of consumers is fast diminishing, and the impact of the message is forced to behave accordingly.

Andrea Hartley, chief executive officer, Skating Panda

The overall theme I saw from judging entries – and this pleases me greatly – is the gradual shift to focusing on outcomes versus just looking at outputs in terms of real impact. Integrated campaigns are getting returns on budget by focusing on long-term behavioral changes in society, and that is exciting. Social impact and purpose have been buzzwords for such a long time now, and over the years I’ve seen them being used loosely for campaigns to sound cool and tick an ESG box. So it’s reassuring to see an increasing level of work that is delivering real impact, properly, and for good.

There’s an intricacy and rigor in both the agencies doing the work as well as their submissions, and it shows how, as an industry, we are taking this work seriously. With everything going on in the world – from war to the climate, gender inequality and driving diversity and change – it wasn’t a surprise to see that the submissions reflected these most pressing issues. Personally, I found ‘Creativity for Good’ the hardest to judge, purely because the level of entries was so high due to the world context in their submissions and the real impact that they delivered – and still are delivering.

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