A YEAR IN CONTENT
With the holidays around the corner, I’m feeling giddy. It really is the most magical time of the year, especially here in New York where beautiful menorahs and lavish Christmas trees greet you in the lobby of every building. Almost ritualistically, I find it a good time to reflect on all that has happened in the last 365 days. This includes the moments I’ve spent with friends — old and new, the places I’ve visited, as well as my professional growth.
2018 was a big year for me! I started my career in the advertising industry, selling for Nudge — an analytics platform designed for content as it turns into advertising. I’ve been in and out of meetings with dozens of agencies and publishers, chatting measurement, distribution, and optimization for their content. Panels and networking events are my favorite weeknight activities, and invitations to fancy industry events make me very excited. I’ve even ended up at a dinner party with some fancy execs and went to a jazz show to network.
Content is at the heart of all that I’m doing. In an effort to get a pulse on the industry, I consume more than my fair share of it. I’ve even created some pieces like this one. What I’ve really been excited by this year is the advertisers using their voices to send a message. Read on to find out some campaigns that resonated with me.
It’s undisputed that the 30th Anniversary Nike ad was one of the most powerful ads this year. Featuring former NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick alongside other athletes like Serena Williams and LeBron James, the ad dares us to dream with the tagline “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough”. Although it stirred controversy both for picking a side and for capitalizing on the political sentiment, I think the brand did an amazing job. It’s inspirational and encourages the viewer to dream bigger. By choosing to feature Kaepernick as the focal point of the ad, Nike also gave a sense of solidarity to all the people feeling crippled by police brutality.
Burger King has been running amazing ads, showcasing real experiments done at the restaurants to explain social concepts. This year, the brand did work around the issue of the pink tax and net neutrality. By putting people into bizarre scenarios at the restaurants, they help demonstrate that there is a need for change. I feel very strongly against the concept of women having to pay a premium on identical items, due to packaging, also known as a pink tax. By demonstrating how ridiculous it is that women have to pay a premium for the same item, in this case chicken fries, I found that Burger King really found a way to drive the issue home.
With so much political turmoil overtaking our country, the Midterm elections were an important time for the people to come out and vote. Levi’s Use Your Vote is a reminder to get out and do just that. The ad aligns well with Levi’s values of self expression because as Jennifer Sey mentioned at an address given at Brand Week, “there is no purer form of self-expression than to vote. She also said that Levi’s stands for democratic values and has been present at social moments such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as at Woodstock. Aretha Franklin’s Think was the perfect sound bite to accompany the ad.
Puma’s 50th anniversary program is an ode to Tommie Smith’s and John Carlos’ Olympic victory 50 years ago. They were wearing Puma shoes at the Podium when they did their historic Black Power Salute. There was a social media #THIRDSALUTE campaign, to raise money and awareness for charities promoting universal equality.
END FAMILY FIRE
The AdCouncil’s End Family Fire is a chilling campaign aimed at educating the public on the importance of storing firearms safely. Having the boy vanish in the last scene is provocative, making you wonder what happened to him. Family Fire is a term coined for “a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home, resulting in death or injury. Incidents include unintentional shootings, suicides and other gun-related tragedies”. The AdCouncil is also behind the creation of popular jargon such as “designated driver” and “secondhand smoke”. The hope is that the term, and what it means, becomes just as recognizable. As a result of understanding the need to store firearms safely, there is a hope that future accidents are prevented. I find it very powerful that the ad transcends politics — it’s an issue that anyone should be able to agree on.
Ok, this isn’t really a campaign, it’s more of an anti-campaign. Sleeping Giants is a social media group calling out companies to remove ads from radical news outlets such as Breitbart News. In an effort to promote brand safety, the group calls out advertisers whose content is appearing next to radical headlines. The latest? Boycotting Tucker Carlson’s show after his bigoted comments on immigration. The impact can be seen as the amount of ads during his show has dwindled.
If you have any brand activism that’s resonated with you this year, I’d love to talk about it.