As we near the end of a year like no other, our industry finds itself at yet another turning point in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We have made so much progress, even though we continue to reckon with systemic inequities, a mental health crisis and so many other issues. And yet there is still so much to be done.
Now that we are looking ahead to 2022, I found myself thinking a lot about what the best social-good creative work will look like in the year ahead, so I asked some of the smartest creative people I know. Here are their predictions.
Susan Credle, FCB Global: As media becomes more fragmented and dollars move from traditional spaces to digital spaces, we will see more interactive creative. Messaging in digital and on social platforms provides the opportunity for audiences to participate and co-create. I hope we see more ideas that push beyond the awareness of issues and to work that ignites action. We have seen so many people over the last few years trying to make a difference for the better. This is the perfect time for creative ideas that tap into that beautiful, innate human desire to help.
Cindy Gallop, If We Ran the World: Here are my predictions in two words. The first word is “profound.” The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have impacted all of us. I've seen how much agency teams bring empathy to their work, all the more so over the years as those teams, happily, have become more and more diverse. And I've also been blown away by the profound strategic insights agencies uncover. I believe a greater sense of our shared humanity, born of what we've all been through, will bring more profundity to the work.
And the second word is “actionable.” I've been pleased to see more innovative creative approaches that build in ingenious levers for actionability. I think there will be even more focus on ensuring that we really do make change happen, in a world where the pandemic has shown us how much needs to change.
Bianca Guimaraes, Mischief: It used to be enough for a brand to say it was aligned with a cause. Brands would routinely co-opt messaging about the environment, or racism, or LGBTQ+ to paint themselves in a better light without actually sacrificing anything to truly help positively transform said cause. But gone are the days of brands wearing a cause like a badge of honor.
After the year we’ve had, people are less willing to take a brand at face value. Their “BS detectors” are at an all-time high. Things are too serious to approach cause-related subject matters casually or with naked and blatant self-interest. Marketers interested in social good will need to actually contribute in a meaningful way to make tangible change. And creativity is the most powerful tool to help make that happen.
Michelle Hillman, Ad Council: One of the takeaways from our COVID-19 Vaccination Education Initiative is that we’ve seen agency, media, marketing and tech partners come together, in ways far beyond anything we’ve ever seen before, to bring about scalable, meaningful change. I am hopeful that this all-hands-on-deck approach will continue into 2022, and that this notion of “collaborating instead of competing” will bring in more perspectives, more creativity and more authentically told human stories.
Rafael Rizuto, BBH: With the pandemic, I feel that most social good campaigns became too monotone and serious. Yes, most of the subjects tackled in these campaigns are serious, but I wish that in the coming year we will see creative work with a more hopeful and, dare I say, a more joyful tone.
We need to inject more optimism in the system. At the end of the day the objective of these campaigns is to make people take action. I would rather see people inspired by hope instead of fear.