It's been a turbulent few months for the advertising world, with household names like Pepsi and McDonald's pushing out campaigns that rattled audiences to the core.
Now the dust has settled, we recognise how brands can commentate on social issues in a tasteful and meaningful way.
Audiences are not stupid, they can see when brands are capitalising on social trends.
For any brand campaign, authenticity is key, and it's something Pepsi missed the mark on entirely. But brands can do it successfully. Just look at Dove's 'Choose Beautiful' series and the iconic 'This Girl Can' campaign. Both are examples of meaningful content that resonated with women across the country.
It all boils down to brands recognising their own social responsibility, and being aware of the feelings that their own products evoke. Something McDonald's failed to do with their insensitive Fillet-O-Fish advert, by suggesting a McDonald's burger would help a child suffering with bereavement.
Brands that fail to this, simply look out of touch with their own products.
This is not to say brands shouldn't commentate on social issues, in fact it's important that they do. After all, brands hold a powerful voice. But consistency is key and an understanding of the feelings their products evoke with consumers is crucial, before embarking on any advertising campaign.
Overall, the past few months have taught us that consumers want brands to have strong and consistent ideologies, and that brands need be credible, relevant and offer real solutions to the social issues they decide to champion. Now’s the time for us all to learn from others’ mistakes and instead, get it right.