It’s good to be good but does it have a real effect on the world?


Scarlett Montanaro, creative at UK ad agency18 Feet & Rising, is at Cannes to jolt the international ad industry’s conscience by asking us to question the real point of purpose-advertising campaigns.

Purpose campaigns aim to help the needy, the environment and address a host of the world’s major problems, but the industry has not established universal metrics to measure and pin down their true impact.

During the Monday session called Advertise Like You Give A Damn: The Future Of Effectiveness, Montanaro hopes the resulting debate will highlight that there should be more to the campaigns than just economic progress.

“We will be discussing whether these causes are making any real difference and even whether advertising has a role in them,” Montanaro said. “We’re seeing all these campaigns and hashtags but not necessarily a lot of action coming from them.”

She pointed out how findings indicate that although 47% of last year’s Grand Prix and Gold Lions winners are for purpose-led campaigns, 60% of them have nothing in place to determine their long-term effectiveness.

“Charities and governments have been able to measure their initiatives for years,” she added. “Our industry also has a role in the world to make a difference, especially when brands have more money than a lot of countries. So we, who represent a lot of those brands, want to give them a bit of a jolt to measure the net social impact of what we do.”

In addition to her work at 18 Feet & Rising, Montanaro operates a personal side project called Crack + Cider, an online store for buying useful items for the homeless, which she said is her way of using her spare time to help to change the world.

18 Feet & Rising is also a certified B Corp-status company, meaning it uses the power of its business to help solve social problems.
Joining Montanaro on the Advertise Like You Give A Damn session will be Louise Cook, author and founder of brands analytics firm Holmes & Cook.

A specialist in econometrics for measuring the impact of communications and marketing, Cook has also won several awards, including the UK’s IPA Effectiveness Awards four times. She is known for organising monthly food-bank donations plus pop-up restaurants to raise funds to help those affected by the humanitarian crises in Syria and Nepal.

Another panellist will be Julian Douglas, ad agency VCCP’s vice-chairman and founder of UK-based karaoke bar network Lucky Voice. He has recently launched Parent Pool, a social enterprise designed to help make childcare more accessible.

Following the Lions session, a website called Advertise Like You Give A Damn will be launched by the panel members for anyone wanting to set up their personal goals to do good for the planet.


Harriet Palmer