In the midst of the pandemic, brands were compelled to reveal their values, communicating to their audience what they deemed important. This resulted in a deluge of creative promoting love, compassion, and togetherness. Even today, three years on, we continue to see this influence in campaigns. Could this be due to the pandemic causing us to reassess what matters in life? Or is it because we now openly discuss societal issues? Perhaps. However, since the pandemic, I have found myself more drawn to campaigns that move me emotionally, motivate us as a community, and inspire us to be better.
What sparked this realisation was the recent ad campaign “The Ultimate Vow” for the Alzheimer’s Society, an organisation with which I was unfamiliar. Despite not having a personal connection to Alzheimer’s, I connected deeply with the ad due to its honest portrayal of human interaction, conveying love, kindness, frustration, and sadness. The film, crafted by the New Commercial Arts agency, is beautifully shot, with many little moments between two people in a relationship that make it relatable and emotive. It’s a piece of advertising, in my opinion, that is unforgettable and powerful.
After drying my tears and pulling myself together, it made me reflect on everyday life and a reminder as advertisers, we have a huge platform to “do good” in the world, change behaviours, and bring cultural issues to the fore. When I think of the campaigns that have impacted me the most in recent years, they are the ones that have moved me, such as McMillan’s “Whatever it takes,” CALM’s “Suicide doesn’t look like suicide,” and our agency’s collaborations with Network Rail, Mental Health Champions, and Samaritans NI which raise awareness about mental health.
What is common among all these campaigns is the authenticity and realism of their narratives and characters. It makes me feel proud to be part of an industry that can make a difference in societal issues and bring them to the forefront of discussion. Advertising is not just a means to sell products; it’s a way to educate and deliver messages of togetherness, understanding, and belonging in a modern world that can sometimes leave us feeling disconnected.
These ads reflect real-life experiences, reminding us that we are all here together, experiencing the same things, and that we can accomplish great things as a community. As a creative within the advertising industry, I am excited at the thought of the untapped opportunities we have to affect change for the future and how important it is that authenticity and transparency remain at the forefront of our efforts, as they are essential for making the most significant impact possible.