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Marketing

How Generation Good is making its presence felt in advertising

By Beth Grace and Hannah Cunningham, Creative team

December 19, 2019 | 6 min read

The year is 2019. Greta Thunburg is surpassing the follower count of Cher, Kylie and she’s nearly neck and neck with Mariah. Plastic straws are a social faux pass and you have to have a stern internal debate before ordering a steak.

Create and Strike

The 'Create and Strike' protests saw people from 160 agencies take to the streets in London to protest climate change.

The world and the people on it have changed in ways nobody couldn’t have predicted. And with a hive mind that’s laser-focused on saving society, every brand (should they want to survive) is expected to jump on the bandwagon or get left in its dust. We’re in a social Thunderdome of who can out-good each other…and it’s bloody marvellous.

So as every industry begins to move forward, it pays to reflect on the social and environmental effects of our own beloved advertising. From network to individual, what could we as advertisers be doing to do better by the world?

As a creative team, good for us has come in many forms, across many paid and unpaid projects. One of our favourites is A Colourful Life, which is a service that transforms photo albums into mindful colouring books for people living with dementia.

A colourful life

A Colourful Life recently picked up a D&AD Future Impact Pencil, and, along with the award, we were invited to a D&AD accelerator programme designed to help people like us make their positive ideas mass scale. At the two-day course in New York we had the experience to see some of the best things we can do for the world when we harness our big and (let’s be real) not so big budgets for social good.

So, along with two fridge magnets and a little bagel gut, we’ve brought back a piece of feel-good passion that features some D&AD Impact winners and some personal inspirations for us to celebrate and inspire.

Storysign

Roll up, number one comes to us from a D&AD Impact winner FCB Inferno (and global tech company) Huawei. Storysign, the AI app that translates kid’s books into sign language. The app not only provides a sweet experience but also aims to help the 32 million deaf children who struggle to read.

Storysign

To date the project has hit a 5 billion-plus global reach and been instrumental in driving research and attention to a previously unheard topic.

And agencies aren’t just looking to improve people’s lives, but the planet they live on too.

Create and Strike

That’s where one of the creative highlights of the year comes into play. From the incredible minds at Extinction Rebellion came Create and Strike. The project that united 160 creative studios to raise awareness of one big problem: climate change.

Create and Strike

We didn’t just love it for the baking hot afternoon off work (though that didn’t hurt either). It was because it was the first, very public display, that adland gives a shit. The genius creative signs spread through the news worldwide and did what advertising does at its best, they got normal people to care and it sparked a conversation we’d all been avoiding.

Wyatt & Jack

Last, but 100% not least, is a project that doesn’t have a big global brand or an army of eco-warriors behind it. The Ryder-based, sustainable fashion company Wyatt & Jack is living proof that good ideas can not only help the world but can be financially successful too.

Wyatt & Jack

The husband and wife team, Georgia and Steve, work with their team to rescue materials such as old bouncy castles, beach chairs and pool inflatables from landfills and then turn them into fashionable bags. So far the brand has saved and repurposed 100 tones of plastic that had the potential to become an aquatic minefield. They’ve reached national media and engaged with thousands online.

Look up, it’s alright out there

Listen, it’s easy to get bogged down in the doom and gloom of it all, the climate emergency, Brexit, the horror of the Sonic animation.

But in every patch of darkness, is light in double measures.

Last year searches for sustainable fashion had increased by 250%, part-time veganism hit highs of 4.4 billion in the UK alone. And in the last month, social pressure by LGBTQ+ advocates has forced American fast-food giant Chick-fil-a to withdraw their multi-million-pound funding of anti LGBTQ+ charities.

The world is changing for the better. And so is the industry. But if we want to take this era of good to the next level, we, as creatives, planners, account managers, project managers, digital geeks and boss-types, need to engage clients. Because as consumers begin to prioritise positive impact over convenience and price, what’s good for the world is quickly becoming good for business too.

Beth Grace and Hannah Cunningham are a creative team at The Gate London

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