Three campaigns that changed the world

Although ingenious ads usually need to convince us to buy a certain product, sometimes companies succeed with their messages much more than that and encourage real change.

4 min to read
Written by: Nataša Blagojević

From being “the way big brands get big” (Al Ries), to the “art of persuasion” (William Bernbach) or “dialogue with people” (Lee Clow), there are probably as many opinions as there are thinkers about what advertising really is. At a time when we are exposed to so many promotional messages from all sides, this is a topic around which most people do not remain indifferent and this already is a good indicator of the power of advertising.

The core of good advertising ideas comes from the joint action of strategic thinking about the brand itself, consumers and various market factors, and creativity. Although seemingly simple, this complex formula is actually an exciting journey from the brief as a starting point, to a creative solution translated into a concise thought or copy that will motivate us to action, the end point. Although this action usually involves the purchase of specific products and services, sometimes companies with advertising succeed even more than that. Below you can read about three examples of campaigns that spurred action and made the world a little better place.



Puberty is a sensitive period for girls during which, under the influence of society and stereotypes, they easily lose self-confidence and acquire a distorted image of themselves and their potentials. In the #LikeAGirl campaign, the Always brand addressed this topic through the question of what it means to do something like a girl. In another social experiment, where the question was first answered by young teen girls and boys, seemingly ordinary question very quickly showed its other side – an insult. However, when the young girls responded, the situation was completely different. #LikeAGirl documentary video soon spread on the Internet and became an empowering movement. After the campaign, as many as three times as many girls had positive associations with the phrase “as a girl” (an increase from 19% to 76%).


For the first time in its more than eighty-years long history, French fashion brand Lacoste has decided to remove the recognizable crocodile logo from its polo shirts. Yet it was not a usual rebranding, but a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of global biodiversity and animal species on the verge of extinction. In partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in 2018, ten endangered species were selected to replace crocodiles on polo shirts produced in limited series. Specifically, the number was limited to exactly how many individuals of this species remained in the world, and by purchasing them, consumers could support the SOS initiative – Save our Species and the fight to preserve endangered wildlife.

Lacoste continued its successful campaign in 2019, drawing attention to ten new endangered species. This time, the crocodile gave his spot not only on T-shirts, but also in 9 Lacoste stores and in online store. In each of them, the crocodile was replaced by another endangered animal, and all proceeds from the sale were again allocated for efforts to preserve them. The result? In 2018, there were 40 Burmese Roofed Turtles in the world, and thanks to this partnership, another 42 Burmese turtles arrived in the world in 2019.



In late May last year, the streets of a number of cities in the U.S. were marked by protests and unrest that occurred in response to the unfortunate death of George Floyd due to the excessive use of force by U.S. police officers. Citizens reacted more violently than ever pointing out the seriousness of the problem of racism in the United States, and many celebrities and companies became involved in public discourse. The Nike brand, which has been involved in talking about racism problem before, sent out the loudest message by changing its famous slogan “Just Do It” to “For once, Don’t Do It” and posting on social media a short and striking video with a powerful message how we must not turn our backs on racism and pretend that nothing is happening in the US. The importance of Nike’s message was also recognized by its biggest competitor adidas, which supported Nike by retweeting the video with the message “together we are moving forward, together we are making a change”, to which Nike responded with a heart emoji.



Cover photo credit: Lacoste BETC



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