As 2018 comes to a close, we have observed the strength of consumer power to create both positive and negative change. We have seen the impact of our lifestyles on our planet, witnessed the impact of business decisions on society and confronted the reality of the human desire to acquire and to achieve recognition. As an agency, we are all too familiar with creating and catering to demand - whether it be for a product, for an experience, or a moment. We pride ourselves on pushing the limits of conventionality to tell stories for brands, yet at the same time ensure we are always conscious to provide something back to our community and the next generation of creatives coming through. This philosophy governs how we operate, how we move and how we undertake work.
Fundamentally, it is the ambition to go beyond the remits of what is expected from a creative agency, that drives us to continue evolving with more consideration and more purpose - a mentality we also champion for those beyond our ourselves and our network. A partnership between D&AD and Superimpose for the series ‘The Future of Creativity’, we are sharing an open thought piece this time to discuss the true value of creating with a social purpose.
Where once businesses were the only entities with a licence and resource to build sustainable brands, anyone or anything can do the same now. How many times a day have we encountered new social media communities, rising Instagram stars, trending movements and unknown businesses breaking through.
In these exciting times we notice the passionate asserting their agendas, but as more individuals become cultural profiles swimming in the same space, we wonder: how can we turn the desire for that blue tick of validation to champion change in a positive way. The notion of the brand has shifted. A brand can be an influential profile, a radio presenter, a platform, an artist collective, a gallery…anything that’s identifiable and serving a clear purpose. However, as we start seeing similarities across many of these brands with the same beliefs, the same statements and the same visual manifestations we can’t hide away from the model that’s fuelling the business to consumer cycle, yet can’t deny the vigour, conviction and flashes of ingenuity that pushes consumer culture forward. What we’re most interested in are those who are breaking their expectations, and using their influence and consumer power to shape society for the better.
Existing within an ecosystem that currently serves entertainment over education, individuals naturally play to their strengths using social media as a brand building, marketing and sales tool. Where creativity can flourish, and collaboration is encouraged, our concern therein lies with the value of creating impact that goes beyond fame, power and recognition. Stereotypes make everything about storytelling easier, and easier for audiences to connect with, but there also lies a significant conflict and contrast to the real world. Therefore, we have analysed and pinpointed some clear drivers from ourselves and those who we have observed that have broken away from their stereotypes and disregarded their work, academic or societal expectations to help community, education, environment or the under-represented in a meaningful way.
Firstly, the understanding that every individual on this earth is a consumer and therefore has a right of choice, of opinion and of creating supply and demand. With that power, we can help ourselves and help raise awareness for other matters. We should never be limited by past skills, experiences or adhere to expectations.
Secondly, challenging ourselves to never take the easy route when it comes to building a platform that matters.Tackling difficult subjects is … difficult, but being able to utilise influence, bring unique insight and creativity to connect subjects to a wider audience shows that by defying stereotypes, we can make more of an impact.
The Male Gaze photoseries by Sam Coldy for HIM+HIS
Model Helene Selam Kleih is the author of HIM + HIS a book exploring the strengths and weaknesses of men and mental health based on her own experiences.
Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan is a poet speaking and educating on gender and race amid the many cultural-society challenges of today.
Finally, the genuine desire to create positive change as an end goal. We have seen many individuals and brands collapse as soon as as their true intentions surface. Altruism can not mask egocentrism therefore every creative output short term or long term should seek to be consistent and honest.
Superimpose selected artist Ana Maria Guerra to work on Parley for the Oceans adidas campaign due to her artistic practice primarily focusing on the impact of technological advancements on nature.
This article is aiming to provoke thinking and conversation around the importance of consumer power and how it can inspire us to think smarter about what we do with influence. We are all part of a broad ecosystem that facilitates growth in many ways, sometimes for the good or for the bad but underneath it all, it is caring and consideration that can help to achieve a more thoughtful perspective within our daily lives as consumers and within the roles we’re creating for ourselves.
"What is the future of creativity? That is the question a new partnership between D&AD and creative agency Superimpose Global aims to answer. Bringing on board opinions and analysis from industry experts, the partnership will see the launch of a new monthly essay series on the D&AD website. From the new technologies and skills creatives will need to master to the changing demographics of the industry itself, each article will offer unique insights from the most exciting topics to the most pressing issues facing the creative industries today and tomorrow. The essay series launches in October and will be hosted on www.dandad.org”