Dylan and the art of doing good

McCann Health’s Matt Eastwood

McCann Health’s Matt Eastwood

Last year, Bob Dylan recorded a track called He’s Funny That Way, a gender-change re-imagining of the 1929 classic She’s Funny That Way, for an album called Universal Love.

Little did fans realise that one of the greatest songwriters of all time was performing the song for a branded-content album by MGM Resorts, the hotel-and-hospitality conglomerate based in Las Vegas, the wedding capital of the world.

Dylan was not selling out but partnering with the MGM brand to send out the message that MGM, the corporation, welcomes all marriages, including same-sex nuptials, at its resorts.

“We’re looking at human rights here,” said Matt Eastwood, global chief creative officer at McCann Health during Making Money Is Art, Good Business Is The Best Art, this year’s first Lions Health session.

Businesses now need to be socially responsible, Eastwood said, because today’s Millennials expect that from brands. “Some 91% of Millennials will switch brands to one with a good cause; only 11% see traditional advertising as effective,” he added.

MGM and other artists joining Dylan on the Universal Love album, which comprised wedding songs for the LGBTQ community, were underlining the message that same-sex and transgender spouses are entitled to the same rights everyone else has always taken for granted.

Other corporations cited by Eastwood as incorporating the expectations of Millennials in their campaigns included Indian dairy-products maker Kwality, which has been encouraging schools to change their timetable to give pupils the opportunity to be outdoors for their Vitamin D.

And no one in the US had heard of the Checkers hamburger chain until its Florida franchise was acquired by rap mogul Rick Ross. His song about the acquisition, to help create jobs and revive the local economy, and a related documentary have helped raise the Checkers brand against rivals like McDonald’s.

“This is about RODG, the Return On Doing Good,” Eastwood said, playing on the business term ROI (Return On Investment).

“We’re living in uncertain times and that turbulence is making it hard to be optimistic. But that makes our times ideal for business leaders to be positive agents of change.”

Harriet Palmer