About creative business
Emily Hare, Managing Editor of Contagious reviews the White Pencil Symposium that took place in November 2012.
A group of business leaders left D&AD’s inaugural White Pencil symposium in London last night inspired and motivated by the potential for brands to have a positive impact on the world. Steven Johnson, founder of Considered.org.uk, kicked off the evening by stating that the world’s environmental, economic and social changes require innovation, and, he believes, the global creative community is best placed to respond.
David Jones, CEO of Havas Worldwide and co-founder of One Young World, an organisation of thinkers and activists under 30 echoed this sentiment. Jones went on to praise companies such as Unilever for leading the way, but warned of lessons from companies such as BP and NewsCorp who had refused to adapt to a new world order of radical transparency and had been punished as a result, either by an individual over social media or by the courts.
Purpose and profit
Jones says, ‘If you do not do the right thing you’ll find it harder and harder to succeed.’ The idea of moving from profit to purpose and profit was also covered by Kim Slicklein’s talk. The President of OgilvyEarth Worldwide strongly believes that to reach the majority of consumers sustainability must become the norm. Slicklein thinks this can be achieved if marketing engages consumers in a relevant dialogue rather than focusing on a product’s green attributes, and companies prove the case for sustainability as a driver for business growth, as IBM’s Smarter Planet work has done.
Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing at Unilever, spoke of the global brand’s commitment to double the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact. He explained: ‘We have an opportunity to make marketing and sustainability become two sides of the same coin.’
Mathieu is keen for Unilever to be a catalyst to encourage change in other companies. He says, ‘We are supporting the White Pencil because we believe in the power of creativity to change the world. We want to make sure that when you work on any brand, on any problem, you do what is right for the brief, but also what is social, sustainable and responsible.’
The evening culminated in the inaugural D&AD White Pencil being awarded to Leo Burnett Chicago for its Recipeace campaign. The social movement aimed to bring people together through a meal on September 21st, the Peace Day established by Jeremy Gilley and Peace One Day who set the creative brief.
Lord David Puttnam chaired the White Pencil jury, which also included David Jones, Jan Chipchase (ECD, Global Insights at frog Design), Marc Mathieu, Rosie Arnold (Deputy ECD, BBH London), Droga5 creative chairman, David Droga, John Mullholland, Editor of the Observer and Ruth Mortimer, Editor, Marketing Week.
Following discussion around the responsibility and potential for using creativity to create positive change, Lord Puttnam reminded the creative community of their responsibility to also ensure that any solutions are ongoing, by helping to support a group of ‘brilliantly educated, brilliantly informed young people who can navigate us through this world of complexity.’
Read more about the White Pencil winners in 2012.