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6 Moments Brands Made A Social Statement

6 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Jun 13, 2019 8:03:00 AM

One of the golden rules of marketing is to stay away from controversy and hot issues. The main reason for this is that commentary on such issues can lead to bad PR. Nearly all brands used to follow this rule and remained away from making controversial statements. However, that is changing now.

About 66% of consumers surveyed stated that they wanted brands to take up stands in public about social and political issues. It doesn’t pay to be neutral anymore; you need to take sides and make statements. Brands have the power to influence societal changes, and many are stepping up out of their comfort zone and sharing their social beliefs. However, this isn’t without trouble. About 64% of consumers boycott brands that don’t share the same belief as them.

That said, here are some of the most notable moments when brands made social statements.

1. Heineken

Heineken, the famous beer brand, decided to do a social experiment which eventually turned into a TV commercial. In this experiment, two strangers were made to complete small tasks together while getting to know each other. Once they got to know each other fairly, they were informed that the other one shared an exact opposite view for a hot topic. These included LGBT rights, climate change, etc.

Heineken Worlds Apart

Image via YouTube

Aptly named Worlds Apart, this campaign then gave a choice to the participants. They could leave or discuss things while drinking Heineken. The ad went on to reveal that every single person decided to sit back and talk. This ad showed that despite our differences, we are kind and accepting. While the brand itself didn’t choose a side, it did make a solid statement.

2. Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble launched its “The Talk” campaign to speak about racism. In this ad, conversations between black parents and their children were shown regarding the racial bias faced by them. It ends with a hashtag “#TalkAboutBias.” 

Proctor & Gamble The Talk

Image via YouTube

It got over 26,000 online mentions out of which 29% were positive as compared to 20% negative ones. Not only did it show the brand’s commitment towards the issue but also showed its transparency and authenticity. The reason for this being that this ad had its roots firmly set in an initiative taken by black women years back in the company. It showed that the brand kept sustained interest in the cause and remained true to its core.

3. Dove

Dove is one of the best brands in the world when it comes to making social statements. They figured that self-esteem lacked in a lot of females around the world and decided to do something about it. Through their #speakbeautiful campaign, they tried to make girls feel more confident about their beauty. According to their research, as many as 80% of women come across negative chatter online, while 72% of girls stated that they were criticized every week. 

The Dove SpeakBeautiful

Image via YouTube

While women tend to express negative thoughts about their appearances, this movement encouraged them to write positive things about themselves online. They even launched a tool that showed which body-related words were used the most by people on Twitter. It also showed when this negative chatter was at its peak during the day. This helped in reducing the negative chatter on social media too.

4. Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s decided to tackle climate change with their “Save Our World” campaign. They have been fighting for cleaner energy and eco-friendly resources since 2015. For the campaign, they released a completely new flavor called the “Save Our Swirled.” This was to share their stance on climate change with the fans, which was “If it’s melted, it’s ruined.”

Ben & Jerrys Save Our World

Image via YouTube

Additionally, the brand went on to release a list of endangered flavors. These are the flavors that use rare ingredients that may get exhausted if climate change continues the way it is going. They also came up with an emission-free road tour to raise awareness about climate change. Ben & Jerry’s even collaborated with Avaaz to create a petition that demands action from the United Nations. They successfully managed to get over 300,000 signatures for the petition.

5. Audi

Audi decided to tackle gender inequality through their ads. Their first ad came up during the 2017 Super Bowl and showed a father talking about his daughter. He was shown disheartened by the fact that she’ll face severe inequalities in the world as she’s a female. It also showed the daughter beating her opponents in a local cart race, hinting that females are equally powerful. 

Audi Daughter

Image via YouTube

The ad managed to get some amazing reviews online and even got more than 189,135 mentions. About 25% of these were positive in nature, while 7% were negative. What was more surprising was the fact that it got 17,000 more thumbs down than thumbs up on YouTube. One major reason for this was that the ad lacked authenticity as Audi itself doesn’t have a single female board member.

6. Apple

The biggest company in the world, Apple, had something to say about climate change as well. In one of their latest commercials featuring the iPhone, several shots of nature are shown which are all shot from the iPhone. It gave out a message, loud and clear - “Preserve and cherish the only home we’ve ever known.” 

Apple

Image via Adweek

It received a massive response online and got over 872,933 mentions. Out of these, about 18% were positive, while 5% were negative mentions. Showcasing real images and videos shot by iPhone users gave the ad a lot of credibility. Additionally, Apple released their Environmental Responsibility Report, which showed their commitment towards the cause. This made their stance more authentic too.

Final Thoughts

Gone are the days when brands can sit back with a neutral stance on pressing issues. You need to take inspiration from some of the biggest brands out there and show your audience that you care about some causes. Take a side. Not only will it help you win (or lose, in some cases) customers but you’ll at least be able to spread awareness and bring about a change in the world.

Do you know of any other brands that have made similar social statements in the past? Let us know in the comments.