WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

When Social Advocacy and Advertising Collide

From TV spots featuring interracial families, to links between shiny hair and feminism, companies like General Mills, Coca-Cola and others are embracing social issues -- and potential controversies -- that come with today's modern families. While some consumers cheer the more inclusive advertising, companies have also experienced doubt about their motives. Kojo explores the social, cultural and corporate shifts at play when advertisers embrace social causes.

Featured Videos: Do Issue-Based Ads Work?

A growing number of companies are embracing advertising campaigns that take on social and cultural issues, a strategy that often resonates with consumers but can also backfire.

This Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family, for instance, prompted a flood of reaction from consumers.

And when Honey Maid created this ad, featuring both interracial families and same-sex households, the company used the responses, positive and negative, to create a new message about love.

Burger King took a similar strategy with its 'Proud Whopper' video, which shows a variety of reactions to burgers sold in a rainbow wrapper out of a San Francisco franchise during Pride Week.

Pantene has ventured into womens' issues with several of its campaigns.

This commercial features scenarios in which women say "sorry" unnecessarily, then, re-imagines each situation with a more confident and less deferential response.

An ad for Always - which, like Pantene is owned by Procter & Gamble - challenges what it means to do something "like a girl."

Not all of these ads are successful, though: This Evian video was viewed by more than 55 million people but didn't have a measurable effect on Evian’s sales.


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