7 Inspiring Brand Marketing Campaigns Designed to Change the World

From General Mills and Campbell’s Soup to Swiffer and Target, America’s biggest brands are embracing the challenge of supporting social justice, diversity and cultural change. How can you as a communicator guide your company in taking a stand to address women’s empowerment, racial tolerance and equality in your marketing campaigns - without alienating customers or pushing the envelope too far?


This was the focus of our Minneapolis PR agency’s one-on-one conversation Feb. 11 with legendary marketer Mark Addicks, the former Chief Marketing Officer of General Mills. As SVP and CMO, Addicks led the company’s advertising, promotion, brand public relations, design, packaging, digital media, licensing and multicultural initiatives; built such iconic food brands as Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Yoplait and Pillsbury and created equity platforms including Box Tops for Education.  

Emceed by agency president Paul Maccabee and co-sponsored with the Minnesota chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, our conversation focused on the power of brands to change the world. We've gathered a few examples mentioned - and more - for you to use as inspiration for your next brand marketing campaign. Check out the case studies below:

"Betty Loves All Families" - Betty Crocker

In 2013, the Betty Crocker brand of baking and consumer packaged foods went to the Pride festival to celebrate all families - with cupcakes, of course. Featuring a collection of interviews, video booths and film, the video asks one simple question: “What is one thing you want the world to know about your family?” While no answers were the same, one reoccurring theme remained the same… love!

"Gracie" - General Mills' Cheerios

Two years ago, General Mills’ brand of Cheerios cereal broadcast a “Just Checking” ad featuring a multi-cultural family, which made national headlines when it shut down the YouTube comment section because of racist content. The first TV spot was a major win for Cheerios and led to a 2014 Super Bowl spot. Sticking to the simplicity that defines Cheerios, the second spot of the campaign, “Gracie,” subtly dismissed the controversy and drove home the point that this family is a part of what America looks like today.

"The Rukavinas" - Swiffer

In what has been considered the “most inclusive ad ever,” Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer cleaning products took a page out of Cheerios’ playbook and stepped it up a few progressive notches with the Rukavina family. In this documentary-style TV spot, the mom is African-American and the dad is Caucasian and an amputee. And the cherry on top. . .he’s the one doing the household chores, not his wife!


"Real Real Life: Your Father" - Campbell'S SOUP

Putting a clever twist on the infamous Darth Vader quote, Campbell’s featured its Star Wars-inspired soup as an opportunity to celebrate the changing face of the American family. As a part of the “Made for Real, Real Life” campaign, the campaign’s focus was to give a 30-second glimpse through the eyes of two loving fathers at real life and capture the diversity of today’s modern families.

"Love Has No Labels" - Ad Council

This beautiful 3-minute spot, created for the Ad Council by agency R/GA, was a wake-up call that helped viewers recognize that everyone holds biases without realizing it. With the assistance of a giant X-ray screen, the Ad Council found real people of different races, genders, abilities, ages and sexual orientations to perform a little dance behind the screen and later reveal themselves to the crowd.


"I Will What I Want" - Under Armour

Featuring fierce ballerina Misty Copeland and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn, Under Armour sought out to empower women to unapologetically go after what they want. From film to print and a digital hub, the “I WILL WHAT I WANT” campaign shows Misty and other inspiring female athletes tuning out society’s prejudices to reach their dreams.

"Like A Girl" - Always

During puberty, and coinciding around the time of their first period, young girls face their biggest drop in confidence. With society being a significant contributor to this newfound lack of confidence, Always set out to change this mindset through its thought-provoking #LikeAGirl campaign. This global movement brought a rebirth to the Always brand of feminine products and inspired Always’ target audience to “rewrite the rules.”


For more on how to develop your own inspiring brand marketing campaigns, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post from our agency’s Paul Maccabee.

In the meantime:


Image Sources: PR Week Ad Council


About the Author

Christina Milanowski

Christina Milanowski is a former Maccabeast.

Topics:  Brand Strategy, PR Perspectives

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