Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop and Think

Social issue ads are usually much more powerful than their commercial counterparts. Although organizations that stand behind these ads invest smaller amounts of money in their promotion than big corporate entities, their message is always spread far and wide. It’s partially because they often talk about powerful and ground-breaking subjects, but also because these organizations hire top marketers and designers the money can buy. In this article we will feature some of the best social issue campaigns from recent years.

Moms Demand Action- Choose One

‘Choose One’ was a highly influential PSA campaign that featured the series of print ads with children carrying assault weapons and various objects that are banned in United States in order to protect their safety.

Many Americans don’t know that Kinder Surprise Eggs are banned in United States and that Little Red Riding Hood and dodgeball are kept out of schools in order to protect children’s’ welfare. At the same time U.S. Congress rejected another introduction of Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in September 2004. Although Choose One campaign started in 2013 its message is still relevant especially after recent shooting sprees in Orlando, Dallas and San Bernardino.

WWF- Before It’s Too Late

WWF is not the only organization that recognized catastrophic influence of greenhouse effect, but they definitely have the most innovative ad campaign that deals with this subject. Many marketers, including the experts from the best social media agency from Sydney stated that WWF’s lung-shaped forest represents a powerful reminder of how important vegetation is for our well-being. Forest on the poster is partially affected by tree felling, from which people can see the disastrous effects of ongoing deforestation.

Amnesty International- It’s Not Happening Here

This award winning poster campaign made for Amnesty International’s Swiss office puts human rights abuse directly in front of our eyes. Campaign included 200 different posters that feature different topics from police brutality to child soldiers. Since campaign raised awareness about very sensitive topics it required advertisers to exclude any type of exaggeration. Campaign simply transferred human rights abuse scenes from Third World conflict areas to clean streets of Swiss cities. These realistic photos made people think about their possible contribution to future Amnesty International campaigns.


Ecovia- Stop the Violence

Ecovia’s new campaign is one of the most successful social ads that has been circling around social networks during the last few months. They’ve made this campaign to combat irresponsible driving habits. DUI and texting and driving is called violence on Ecovia’s posters, because influence of these careless acts causes 1,3 million deaths around the world in only one year. Campaign’s creative team combined their message with realistic violent scenes, which emphasize the damage of irresponsible traffic behavior.

American Joint Committee on Cancer- Nobody Is Immune

American Joint Committee on Cancer put superheroes on their posters in order to show that even the strongest women aren’t immune to breast cancer. On their posters we can see Wonder Woman and Storm who are preforming routine breast examinations. This sends a powerful message that every woman should conduct these types of tests. Campaign designers decided to add super heroes to their posters in order to influence members of Millennial and Post-Millennial generation who often feel invincible, same as the protagonists of popular super hero movies.

The proof that our world is heading in the right direction, is the fact that in recent years social issues aren’t only addressed by NGOs and charity organizations. Corporate entities also promote social causes in their marketing campaigns. Also if we look at social issue ads from designers’ and marketers’ point of view, we’ll realize that these campaigns also represent a promotion of their work and creativity. Adding a powerful social issue ad campaign to your portfolio should be viewed as a huge professional success. The sole fact that these campaigns influenced millions of people to readdress certain issues, should make marketers and designers proud of their work.