D&AD Impact: Changing the World One Creative Idea at a Time

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“I’m a firm believer in the effect creativity can have on culture,” admits Steve Vranakis, who works at Google’s Creative Lab and is D&AD’s president this year. D&AD is a non-profit company with a global outlook who are based in London.

“Doing good is good for business,” states Paula Taylor who also works in D&AD. “These days brands are very much aware that their consumers are depending more of a marketing spend – for them to have a bigger impact in the world”. And that’s where the D&AD impact programme that was created in partnership with Google and Ad Week New York comes into play.

The concept of “goodvertising” has become increasingly more prevalent and in some cases, has become the expected standard of advertising from certain brands. This form of media that could reach millions of individuals in different formats from print to digital. Why would the industry not harness this?

Vranakis believes that “goodvertising” should be “mainstream” and essentially become the norm. The D&AD Impact scheme has been a catalyst for this manner of advertising. With campaigns such as “Inglorious Fruit & Vegetables”, where French supermarkets decided to sell the “unappealing” and “ugly fruit and vegetables that get thrown out due to their aesthetic, to their customers. The campaign was a huge success and many supermarkets quickly sold out of the “inglorious” produce, not only increasing sales for the supermarket, but also bringing into light the ridiculous standards we hold as a society regarding image, and the amount of waste we create as a planet. “Petit Pli”, is another instance – a clothing brand where their clothing items grow as the children age. This not only saves parents a large amount of money, but also touches on the same issue as the “Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables” campaign; waste.

“You need to be naïve, a bit arrogant”, comments Vranakis while Taylor nods in agreement. To believe that your creative ideas can change an individual’s thinking, thoughts and emotions, you must approach the issues at hand with a sense of innocence. If you apply entirely realist outlook to a problem you’re attempting to solve creatively, then undoubtedly you will most likely feel overwhelmed by the issue and ultimately proceed to not want to resolve it.

“Searching for Syria”, an incredible and thought-provoking campaign by UNHCR in partnership with Google, is a prime example of the impact “goodvertising” can have. A website that allows visitors to read answers about the commonly most asked questions regarding Syria and the refugee crisis, to aid in debunking myths and stereotypes as well as the various ways people can help. The website was highly successful and generated millions of visits.

Vranakis believes that “what we do as creative people can scale what we do day to day… we create culture”. Creatives, and particularly creatives within an advertising industry hold so much power. They have the power to ultimately predict the future – to decide how to sell, when to sell, how to sell. And through those decisions, future cultures and future attitudes can be decided. “We are powerful than we give ourselves credit for,” Vranakis encourages the audience. In a world full of war, hate and poverty, surely the human thing to do would be to help other humans any other way we can? “Goodvertising”, and programs like D&AD Impact provide a space and opportunity for creatives to produce work and content that not only means a great deal to them – but a great deal to the rest of the world.

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