It has been exactly a year since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis shook the country and inspired a protest movement around racial injustice. Brands saw an opportunity to deliver the kind of equitable positioning that people were beginning to demand, backed by actionable monetary commitments and promises around improving diverse representation in their workforces.
In the past year, more than 80 different ads have appeared on TV with messaging around social justice or Black Lives Matter, with 30 of those ads appearing in 2021, according to TV analytics platform Ace Metrix. Of course, even more appeared across social and digital channels. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, brands like Uber and Twitter utilized out-of-home campaigns to their advantage.
Not all brands wowed all audiences. Nike, Uber and McDonald's still saw criticism around their anti-racism efforts, with people drawing focus back on the brands' own businesses, or pitfalls with their labor.
We identified eight standout ad campaigns across social, TV and out-of-home from the past year that resonated with viewers and followers, while making powerful statements about race and identity in today's America.