Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We Are Not Advertisers, We Are Responsible Influencers

So this is a presentation I made during my Postgrad in Advertising & Digital Comms in DIT. I thought it was worth slapping up here on the interland.

Ad-Peeps tend to get boxed off into the 'your just selling shit and you don't give a fuck as long as you make cash' category. However, there has been a changing mould in advertising over the past few years. I would argue that Ad-Peeps should no longer consider themselves Advertisers but 'Responsible Influencers'. Some (certainly not all) agencies are balancing their car and sports accounts with clients who are solely working to better the world, whether it be environmental, social, local or global, and the agencies genuinely seem to care about these causes (they are people after all).

For the presentation I used BBH New York as a case study. BBHNY worked with the New York City Rescue Mission to formulate 'Underheard in NY', a worthwhile cause to make a difference and create awareness of the issue of homelessness in NY and dispel some of the preconceptions that go along with it. Here's an overview of what the project was about:

Underheard in New York is an initiative to help homeless residents in New York City speak for themselves. We’ve provided Danny, Derrick, Albert and Carlos each with their own mobile phone, a month of unlimited text messaging and a Twitter account. They’ve found their voices by texting their thoughts, feelings and actions to Twitter. Our mission is to use their social media presence to create real interaction and make them a part of our global community.

You can view the full 'Underheard in NY' project here & here.

BBHNY realised their position as influencers and created awareness and worked to improve these men's lives. Another agency leading the way is Droga5 who created the Tap Project with UNICEF, which was wildly successful.

I might be looking at this through rose-tinted glasses but some Ad-Landers do realise they are in a position of influence and are taking responsibility for that. I think agencies realise they have access to the media which allows their work and ideas to be seen by the masses. They are becoming more conscious of their position as influencers and, as often as possible, the messages sent through these channels are for a greater good, not just to sell soap.

So yes there will still be the back-patting at Cannes & The Clios and the egos still exist but the real rewards some of these people have and can be truly proud of are the ones that cannot be measured necessarily in dollars & trophies but in the difference they have made for people in harsh situations who needed and benefitted most from 'Ad-Land's' creative talent.


ThinkingOutsideTheBox said...

I feel what happens when you get into the industry, especially as a Creative, you start to see how much you can actually influence from the position you're in. Unfortunately, as you know, the paying jobs take centre stage within the agency and this limits the time available to spend on ideas to 'better the world'. These 'clients' if you will, aren't paying, thus aren't getting the limelight no matter how much Creatives and Agencies want to work on them.

A good way of course to influence the 'responsible influencers' of course is to massage those egos and help them with their back-patting ambitions. That's why I think the Cannes Chimera is a good way of doing that. And a good way to better the world.

Ivor Noyek said...

@ThinkingOutsideTheBox Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Cannes Chimera, what a great project. Let's hope it can create some answers.