From Goodvertising to Meaningful Brands

It’s a fact: people value brands less and less. Ninety-one percent of Spaniards say that they could do without brands altogether. The Meaningful Brands study, conducted since 2008 by the Havas Group, shows that a majority of consumers wouldn’t mind if practically all brands disappeared.

One proposed solution is to create “advertising for people”, as argued by Thomas Kolster, who coined the term goodvertising. This is the concept of sustainable communication, which proposes that advertising should be used to improve the planet and educate society.

Just advertising? Communication as a transformative element, as we saw in the last Super Bowl, where ten spots were clearly oriented toward the social value of brands? Or communication as the tip of the marketing iceberg? Let’s review the question of whether brands need more than advertising. Here are two examples I love (two steps forward):

-          Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll is now available in three more realistic body types – tall, curvy and petite – and seven different skin tones. It’s an attempt to make the doll relevant and beloved again. More dolls, more ways for girls to use their imagination with a Barbie. Doing good and making a positive change in people’s lives.

 

-          Pontevedra has been recognised by numerous international bodies – the Urban Institute of Beijing, the prestigious Centre for Active Design, the UN Habitat programme, etc. – for a mobility design that increases the livability of this small Spanish city. The main marketing contribution is Metrominuto, a pedestrian map that indicates walking distances, which has now been introduced in more than 30 cities around the world.

In the words of Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores, the mayor of Pontevedra: “Sometimes I feel like a preacher.” Or, as implied by the Soul Marketing concept, when managers embrace their role as citizen-consumers, learn to grasp contradictions and understand the need to enhance positive effects on society, they can create projects that end up generating solutions and advertising that is valuable to people.

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