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Youth Perspectives

Youth Perspective: If you think marketing can’t change the world, then think again

Nada Sisalem

27 Nov 2017

“Nada, marketing is all about promoting things that people don’t need, and then convincing them that they need them. If you think marketing is about changing the world, then you’re probably in for the wrong reasons.”

That was one of the first things I was told during my first internship at a leading advertising agency, and I have to say, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Let’s be quite honest though, marketing has always been the black sheep of all business functions.

More often than not, marketing and communications are looked at as unnecessary concepts and functions that businesses can live without. It was my senior year in university and, as I was venturing into a field that I thought would give me the opportunity to disrupt the status quo, I hear that I’m in for a huge disappointment.

Three years down the line, I’m happy to tell you that I’m anything BUT disappointed. As a matter of fact, I’m inspired every single day. I’m inspired to see the true power of marketing when it’s utilized to promote issues that are critical to our societies, persuade a change in perceptions towards an important cause, and influence a positive shift in behavior that would benefit our environment.

Marketing has been used to advocate and shed light on important causes such as human rights, animal protection, environmental sustainability, and more. And when it comes to animal and environmental protection, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has certainly grabbed the attention of thousands around the world with their use of creative cause marketing.

As such, I would like to share with you my favourite inspiring and powerful visuals by WWF that illustrate how marketing communications can be utilized to benefit one of the most important causes, our environment:

The sight of a shark in the ocean might be horrifying, but an ocean without any sharks is even more horrifying.

This creative advertisement displays a field of trees forming a leopard pattern, conveying that if we save trees, we save the leopard too.

How can WWF highlight the magnitude of a problem that most people are unaware of? Illustrate corals made out of plastic spoons.

Those three ads are a few of many, not only produced by WWF, but also other organizations that are leveraging the positive opportunities that marketing creates. Beyond the negative reputation that marketing communications has gained, many NGOs have proved the true value and impact that marketing has in highlighting the causes that matter most.

So, I would like to ask everyone who thinks that marketing cannot change the world, how did those ads make you feel?

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