Marketing Tactic #23: Taking A Stand

by Adam Katz

We’ve all seen it before: A commercial that tries, unsuccessfully, to align a brand with an important social cause. At a minimum, these commercials can feel insincere, as if they’re posturing to satisfy consumer attitudes. At worst, they can feel outright offensive (cue 2017 Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner).

While aligning a brand, or product with a social cause is not an easy feat, when done correctly, it can be a powerful way to build consumer loyalty. Whether it’s supporting local businesses or making time for loved ones, consumers build trust with brands in which they share similar values.

4 videos that take a stand

Here are four examples of commercials that successfully align brands with important social issues:

  1. We Believe: The Best Men Can Be  |  Gillette (Short Film)
  2. Dream Crazy  |  Nike
  3. “Who Wouldn’t”   |   Groupon
  4. Project Spark: Anthem   |   Midas

Keep reading to see how each purpose-driven campaign embraced slightly different tones and tactics.

We believe: the best men can be  |  Gilllette (short film)

Bullying. The #MeToo Movement. Toxic masculinity. These are just some of the emotionally-charged conversations that Gillette addresses in its very recent “We Believe: The Best a Man Can Be” commercial. Presenting two series of scenarios—one where men exemplify conduct negatively associated with masculinity and another where they confront this conduct—Gillette makes clear that it is encouraging men to question their behavior.

What makes the brand’s approach particularly distinctive, though, is the extent to which its commercial tackles tense, contemporary issues head-on. As the spot features a collage of real news reports covering allegations of sexual harassment, it boldly infuses the brand into a throng of heated national debates.

Even striking controversy with its strong stance, Gillette’s commercial unmistakably conveys that the brand seeks to challenge expectations of what it means to be a man.

DREAM CRAZY  |  nIKE

Like Gillette’s “We Believe,” Nike’s “Dream Crazy” also reflects conversations happening on a national scale to make a statement about the brand’s values. Featuring a barrage of individuals who have achieved seemingly impossible feats, the commercial ends with a close-up of Colin Kaepernick imploring viewers to ask if their dreams are “crazy enough.” Embracing Colin as the ad’s narrator and spokesperson, Nike proves that its hallmark mantra—“just do it”—applies to all forms of adversity.

The largely successful 2018 campaign is resurfacing in recent days, with the Super Bowl quickly approaching and the inevitable comparisons to Gillette’s commercial.

“Who Wouldn’t”  |  Groupon 

Debuting at last year’s Super Bowl, Groupon’s “Who Wouldn’t” features Tiffany Haddish, who—within just six seconds—announces the brand’s support for local businesses. The ad embraces sketch comedy, juxtaposing the movie star and Groupon “Super User” with a fictional wealthy man who despises local businesses. “Who Wouldn’t” memorably presents Groupon as inherently tied to local communities. As its John Wild, Vice President of North America Marketing, said “We believe that we can do more for local businesses than any other company.”

Project Spark: Anthem  |  MidAS 

Midas’ emotional commercial features stories that are anything but fictional. Illustrating how the Project Spark program is helping families to get back on the road, the uses a cinematic, docu-style approach to depict the company’s commitment to provide families, veterans and first responders with donated cars, repaired by Midas. The series of videos pays tribute to Midas’ heritage of being a good neighbor, while tackling the issue of inadequate transportation—Midas is fixing lives by fixing cars.

Want to align your brand with value

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