Make Love Not Scars

reshma

Since its founding in 2005, YouTube has been home to a myriad of beauty bloggers who post tutorials and other how-to makeup videos. But in a powerful new campaign for Make Love Not Scars by Ogilvy & Mather, the woman giving the red lip tutorial looks a little different than the typical 20-something beauty blogger.

Reshma, whose face has been scarred and disfigured, is a spokesperson for the #EndAcidSale campaign, whose goal is to curb the number of acid attack victims in India by limiting the accessibility to acid (you can buy a liter of it in any drugstore in India for about $1.50).

According to a petition that Reshma asks viewers to sign (which has over 65,000 signatures), India has over 1,000 reported acid attack cases per year, of which 90% of the victims are female.

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative and powerful campaigns that capture attention and call for change.

And So It Begins

old spice

For the first time in history, the two Old Spice spokesmen (Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews) are squaring off in a spot together. Last week, Old Spice released a commercial simply entitled “And So It Begins,” which features Mustafa as the rugged everyman in-touch with nature spokesperson for the brand’s Timber scent. Mustafa pitches the scent as “what the angel-faced woman in your life deserves” but is interrupted by Crews, who interrupts him by bursting onto the scene, the embodiment of the aggressive, hyper-masculine male personifying the Bearglove scent. The third scent, Swagger, is also portrayed by Mustafa, as a smooth-talking, debonair gentleman.

mustafa

The campaign encourages consumers (particularly male millennials) to choose which scent best fits their personality and “make a smellmitment,” and the use of both iconic Old Spice spokespeople in one campaign has garnered widespread attention for the brand. However, the two actors aren’t the brand’s only first. Old Spice, in conjunction with the video advertisement, partnered with Imgur, a popular image-sharing site frequented by male millennials, to create a sponsored post that would appear on the site. Its innovative use of GIFs, laser-shooting helicopters, and Imgur-friendly terminology won the community over, and the brand was commended for its familiarity with its target audience, with users commenting things like “a shamless ad I can get behind” and “I’ll allow it”.

bearglove

The scents are available in a variety of products, from body wash to deodorant, and will be promoted through a series of six more spots this fall.

What Sparks Our Fire: Brands that not only invent creative and engaging campaigns, but know their audience well.

Google+ is Going Through a Breakup

google plus

Google+ has been suffering from what many tech blogs and business publications are calling a “slow death”—its initial launch established the site as an attempt to be a fully-integrated social platform, with its multifaceted approach rivaling companies like Facebook, Dropbox, WordPress, and Skype.

However, after failing to gain both traction and users in the social media community, it recently announced that it will be splitting the platform into three different components: Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. Hangouts is a video chatting service that will remain independent of Google+, photos is a storage space for images that will be added to Google Drive, and streams covers the rest of the Google+ experience along with News and Blogger.

While the idea of a streamlined, all-in-one social media platform sounded like a good idea, perhaps it was the ambition of the venture that led to its demise; users considered the Google+ login to YouTube a nuisance, found the interface unaesthetic, and the whole system a cheap Facebook facsimile.

Google has finally compromised, maintaining the best aspects of Google+ like Hangouts and Photos, and has removed the Google+ sign-in on YouTube, much to users’ delight.

The moral of the story: Don’t put all of your digital marketing eggs in one basket, especially if your product is at risk of being disruptive—and not in the good way.

What Sparks Our Fire: Google+ taking the next step forward and making smart decisions in the face of a highly-publicized technological failure.

MAC + Selena: A Love Letter to Fans

Image #: 15785708    Grammy award-winning Tejano music superstar Selena, 23, was fatally shot and killed by a former business associate March 31 in Corpus Christi, Texas. The suspect, identified as Yolanda Saldivar, surrendered to police after a 9 1/2 hour standoff.  REUTERS/HO /Landov

MAC Cosmetics, a company famed for its collaborations with celebrities (and even a few fictional characters) and its bold, striking makeup looks, announced yesterday that it would fittingly release a line of cosmetics in honor of the late Tejano pop star Selena, who was known to many as “the Latina Madonna” for her style and her domination of the Latin music scene in the ’90s.

However, the most noteworthy aspect of this collection is that not only is it inspired by one of the Mexican-American community’s biggest pop icons, but it had a grassroots origin: a Change.org petition. The petition, started by Patty Rodriguez, asked for 5,000 signatures, which it earned in less than 24 hours. After just three months, the petition had garnered over 37,000 signatures.

mac selena

MAC posted an Instagram picture announcing the collaboration with the caption: “Like the legend herself, Selena Quintanilla’s fans are an inspiration to us all for their love and enthusiasm. It’s happening! We are excited to announce the M•A•C Selena Quintanilla collection, available in 2016. @SelenaQOfficial#MACSelena

In an age where social media rules consumer communication, the brand’s decision to honor the late pop star shows that it is truly built around its consumer’s preferences. Change.org boasts hundreds of thousands of victorious petitions, ranging from local government to nationwide legislation, but the announcement was seen as a direct response from the makeup company; the success of the petition has been attributed to both Selena’s loyal fans, and the brand’s willingness to listen to its customers’ demands, a pragmatic business tactic that companies like Urban Decay have found effective in the past.

The Mac + Selena collection will debut in late 2016.

What Sparks Our FireA brand that stays consistent with its image and caters to its consumers

Love Has No Labels

skeletons
As Pride Month comes to a close and the remnants of confetti are swept off the streets following the landmark Supreme Court marriage equality decision, brands have started showing their support for LGBTQ through mass marketing campaigns. However, the advertising industry is embracing a new kind of LGBTQ acceptance in its productions: “gay-inclusive.” Instead of drawing attention to the subject’s sexual orientation, these brands succeed in telling a story while normalizing LGBTQ relationships. From dancing skeletons to dancing wedding parties, here are five of our favorite ads that show how LGBTQ acceptance has shaped the definition of inclusivity in the media.
Taking home an unprecedented number of awards at the Cannes Lion Festival, the viral “Love Has No Labels” campaign was designed by the Ad Council to raise awareness of implicit racial, sexual, and religious bias, premiering on Valentine’s Day in Santa Monica earlier this year. The inspiring “Love Has No Labels” tagline also was prominently featured in the New York City Pride Parade, which took place a day after the campaign’s Cannes victory.
Although its debut was back in 2013, the Kindle Paperwhite commercial is still praised by critics as one of the most innovative gay-inclusive ads, using a humorous approach portray acceptance of LGBTQ couples as a social norm rather than highlighting the differences for the purpose of awareness, and avoiding all-too-common “gay male” stereotypes.
amazon kindle

The commercial for the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite was commended for its normalization of gay couples and absence of gay male stereotypes.

This heartwarming spot depicts two women preparing to adopt a deaf child, and its positive portrayal of LGBTQ relationships, adoption, and strong family values, minus the overt “pride” motif, sets the standard for diversity in advertising.
Hallmark’s “Put Your Heart to Paper” campaign is a poignant expression of love of all kinds, and emphasizes the lasting impact of the spoken word. By featuring the couple in the same fashion as it would a same-sex couple, Hallmark succeeds in demonstrating a shift away from gay-focused and toward “gay-inclusive” ads.
hallmark
If you blink, you may miss this one—the video shows several wedding parties joyously celebrating their marriages, one of them between two brides. It also features guest performers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who gained recognition for their support of the gay community with their song “Same Love” back in 2012.
What Sparks Our Fire: Brands that celebrate diversity through exceptionally creative and high-impact storytelling