- Friday, Aug. 19, 2016
The title of this column was a comment made by Winston Binch, chief digital officer of Deutsch North America, during the AICP Show Road Tour in Los Angeles last month as part of a roundtable discussion in which AICP Next judges talked about the honored work and trends in the industry. AICP president and CEO Matt Miller moderated the discussion.
Binch, who served as this year’s AICP Next Website Jury president, picked up on an observation by fellow panelist Kirk Souder, co-founder of enso and president of the Next Cause Marketing jury. Souder noted that causal marketing was hardly confined to the category he presided over as a judge. He noted that six or seven of the Next categories had honored work that took a social impact stand. He noted that marketing for a positive impact was evident, for example, in the Next Integrated Campaign category with winners such as REI’s “#OptOutside” produced by Tool for Venables Bell & Partners, and Vodafone Romania’s “Sunday Grannies” from McCann Bucharest. The latter helped to create a community for elderly women in Romania, which had them socializing with and cooking homemade meals for young people, thus breaking the loneliness and isolation experienced by many seniors. And per the “OptOutside” initiative, REI closed its retail stores on Black Friday so that their employees and customers could instead enjoy the great outdoors, spending the time around Thanksgiving to be with family and friends.
Standing for something, doing good, being proactively involved in a positive cause have become necessary currency for brands if they are to connect with people in an increasingly competitive interactive landscape. What does your brand stand for? Does it stand for anything?
Souder conjectured that Next’s Cause Marketing category could one day change its moniker to Social Impact, underscoring not just the branding but the responsibility of those brands to accomplish something positive for society at large.
Even the Next Virtual Reality category saw two of its three honorees tied to social impact: Clinton Global Initiative’s “Inside Impact: East Africa” and The New York Times’ “The Displaced.”
The latter also further punctuated Binch and Souder’s social impact contention, winning the Most Next Award signifying best in show at the Next competition. The Displaced tells the story of three children--from Syria, Ukraine and Sudan--who are refugees as a result of war and persecution. Vrse.works (now called Here Be Dragons) partnered with the The New York Times and Google to launch NYTVR with the VR film.
“The Displaced” debuted when over a million subscribers to the Times received a special edition Google Cardboard to experience the VR documentary giving users a birds-eye view of what it’s like to have to flee a country ravaged by war. Nearly 60 million people around the world have been driven from their homes--more than any other time since World War II. Half are children.