TV and print gallery – ads aimed at changing citizen / consumer behaviour

The Creative Gallery on Sustainability Communications is a great database of 700 international ads, mostly TV and print. It falls within UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and their Sustainable Consumption branch (although Grist Magazine calls it ‘YouTube for enviros’!). But it contains both social and environmental messages. UNEP says it is “the first international online database of corporate and public advertising campaigns specifically dedicated to sustainability issues and classified by sustainability themes.”

This undated TV ad from the UK aims to shift perceptions about people with disabilities with a first-person story, in a scene set on a bar patio. By aligning The Cooperative Bank brand with a social cause, it also aims to draw customers with a conscience.

This Canadian TV ad aims to build strength for a campaign to better recognize immigrants’ professional credentials. Produced for The Maytree Foundation and the Toronto Region Immigration Employment Council, it won a number of awards in 2006.

AIDS is the cause of the greatest number of deaths in South Africa. This AIDS Helpline TV ad was produced there in 2004.

A handful of the ads in the database do have useful information about measurable results of the campaigns. An entertainment education radio soap opera campaign from Vietnam was designed to reduce pesticide use on crops.

Field experience from communication on health issues like HIV/AIDS has shown that entertainment-education works best in countries where methodical education in science is inadequate.

Makes me curious how the people with the Hollywood, Health and Society program might respond to that.

The Vietnamese campaign had significant results, including that insectide use on crops was reduced by half.

Unfortunately, the UNEP database is not searchable by results, which is too bad, as that would allow users to learn about the most effective campaigns. If really good ‘results’ data was available here, it could also lead to more influential environmental and social media campaigns being produced internationally – which I imagine is one of the goals of the UNEP resource. Nor is it searchable by date, a feature which (if included) would not just encourage me to visit again knowing I could check for new ads, but also that I could look at how the social and environmental trends may have changed over time.

Though ad campaigns don’t always translate across cultures or languages, nonetheless it would be helpful to have some explanations of the different ads, and to have page translations available in a sidebar.

Final suggestion is that they check the site for various screen sizes – for most of the print ads, I can’t read any text on my small laptop screen. Hopefully some of these improvements will eventually be seen on the site.

These are suggestions. I think it’s a great idea and an interesting resource, with tremendous possibilities.

The UN system has in the past few years been expanding much more into private partnerships, and UN agencies are being encouraged to move more in this direction. I’m assuming that lack of funding has been a key reason behind the limitations of this site. I think a donor would come on board to enable the expansion, improvement and promotion of this really worthwhile project.

I first learned of this resource from Netherlands-based site Hautlust (online advertising and social campaigns), which I learned about via Technorati’s list of 133 blogs about nonprofits, which was mentioned in the sidebar of Marnie Webb’s site ext337.

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