A blood donation effort that united Israelis and Palestinians in a shared lifesaving goal...a project that demonstrated the importance of integrating people with Down Syndrome into society by featuring actors who have the disorder in Italian TV commercials...a campaign that doubled the percentage of American parents with young children who have spoken to their pediatricians about autism...
These are some of the powerful stories that are told in a new online resource called Creative for Good. Developed by the World Economic Forum's Future of Media Council, with support from the Ad Council and Ketchum, the innovative site showcases brilliant, inspiring and effective pro-social campaigns worldwide. It also provides a brief "how-to" guide for organizations embarking on such efforts.
I was part of the initial discussion where the concept of Creative for Good originated at the World Economic Forum's annual event in Dubai two years ago. The Future of Media council (on which I serve) was approached about getting the public involved in solving critical social issues such as education, health and the environment. Rather than using our resources to create individual campaigns, we decided it would be smarter and more efficient to create a resource for campaigners worldwide.
On Friday, June 21 we featured Creative for Good at one of the largest and most prestigious gatherings of creatives and communicators — The Cannes Lions International Festival. At last year's festival, President Clinton charged the creative community to do something big to effect positive social changes. "Communicators will have a profound influence on how the next 20 or 30 years will turn out," he said.
At our discussions in Dubai, we found that many organizations, particularly NGOs, do not have the resources to develop sophisticated social marketing campaigns. That's why we developed a platform that could be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. The case studies on Creative for Good come from all over the world, providing lessons learned in an array of media and cultural environments. The briefs will take you from the United Arab Emirates — where a public service campaign helped parents take the right precautions to ensure that their children did not fall out of open balconies in high-rise buildings — to Thailand — where 97 percent of citizens were exposed to a message of hope for cancer patients.
Some of the projects are on a grand scale: like a campaign where 209 Fabergé eggs (each individually commissioned from leading artists, designers and brands) were hidden across London to raise over £1 million for charity. Other projects worked to change perceptions one person at a time. For example, "Bell Bajao" in India taught men and boys to use a simple action to stop domestic violence against women: when they heard a violent argument erupt inside a nearby home, they would go and ring the doorbell to interrupt.
The people behind these programs tackled tough social issues, using tactics that have expanded our definitions of a public service campaign. They utilized cutting-edge technology and revealed groundbreaking ideas — even more so than what you often see in the commercial sector.
At the Ad Council, we've seen the power of social marketing programs in the U.S. for more than 70 years. Creative for Good features material that we can all learn from — sharing a rare vantage point with communicators throughout the world. This new platform has the potential to unleash ideas that, up until now, have been only imagined. It has the power to inspire individuals, communities and whole societies to embark on new social endeavors, and in the process, change the way people think and act. Most importantly: it has the power to produce even more "creative for good" in the future.