Brand activism. Videos that put advertising to good use.

Let’s face it, advertising does not have a reputation for being the most noble of industries. Although sometimes highly entertaining and dare I say informative, advertising can easily be accused of fuelling consumerism, bending the truth to fit an agenda and manipulating the young and easily influenced. Done consciously, advertising can also, however, be a powerful tool for education, an agent of change and a wake-up call for anyone whose heart it touches.

The following videos are ones I came across during the recent Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego. Made for highly diverse companies, campaigns and end goals, all of them succeed in raising awareness around their chosen issue whilst tugging at heart strings and building brand equity in the process.

1. Colorado’s Raise The River

Campaigning to restore life to the Colorado River delta by reconnecting the river to the Gulf of California, this campaign makes use of Robert Redford and Will Ferrell to humorously bring attention to the issue. Founded by a group mostly made up of environmental organisations, the movement aims to “raise the river” by planting native vegetation, restoring riparian habitats and acquiring the water rights needed to ensure their survival.


2. Unilever’s Project Sunlight

The Project Sunlight campaign has given Unilever a big push forward when it comes to them being perceived as a sustainable company and has led to them being well ahead of the pack in sustainability stakes. Whilst acknowledging that Unilever has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to their own environmental and social sustainability, they totally got it right in focusing on children and engaging community in finding sustainability solutions.


3. Chipotle’s Scarecrow

Nominated for an Annie award, this sweet animated video throws light on the issues around unsustainable farming practices and factory farming. The video is part of Chipotle’s Food With Integrity promise where they pledge to look at how animals, people and the environment are treated when sourcing all of their ingredients.


4. Honey Maid’s Love

Created as a response to negative comments about an advert featuring gay couples and their families, Honey Maid ask two artists to create a beautiful piece from the negative feedback and send a strong social message whilst doing so.


5. Nice and Serious’ Make More Than Lemonade

Essentially a plug for the Sustainable Brands San Diego conference, this video sweetly visualises what going the extra mile to make things sustainable would look like. Created by British ethical media agency Nice and Serious, the video brought a quirky, sweet feel to the conference.

Sustainable Brands – Make More Than Lemonade from Nice and Serious on Vimeo.