“Brand purpose” was 2018’s Marketing Word of the Year according to the Association of National Advertisers, highlighting the industry-crossing trend of imbuing brands with meaning that goes beyond selling products or services.
Brands like Patagonia are almost in inextricably linked with their purpose; others, like Pepsi, have struggled to relay theirs. Regardless, brands are increasingly looking to agencies to help them find—or at least better communicate—their purpose, and McCann Worldgroup is leading the way on this kind of work.
From Shanghai to Tel Aviv to New York, Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year proved its international prowess more than ever this year with work that was both purpose-driven and creatively interesting. It’s this combination that’s quickly becoming McCann’s bread and butter, and is evident throughout work for some of the agency’s biggest clients, including Mastercard and L’Oréal.
Below, take a look back at some of McCann’s work from the year that best exemplifies how it’s helping brands stand out and take a stand.
March For Our Lives | Generation Lockdown
Office: McCann New York
In one of the most haunting PSAs of the year, a child named Kayleigh finds herself explaining to a group of adults how to survive a mass shooting. In a calm, almost matter-of-fact tone, Kayleigh—who is referred to as an “expert” on the topic during a workplace meeting—gives the adults tips on how to avoid an active shooter. The spot, which supports background check legislation, points to a study that found that 95% of public schools practice lockdown drills.
The PSA, which won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Good this year, was created for March For Our Lives, the student-led advocacy organization that formed following the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The Non-Issue | L’Oréal
Offices: McCann London and Paris
This spring, McCann’s Paris and London offices orchestrated a tie-up between L’Oréal and British Vogue to call out ageism in the beauty industry. In a special edition of the magazine dubbed the Non-Issue, women age 50 and over including Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren graced its pages to make the point that, in 2019, age should no longer be a factor in women’s hiring in the beauty and fashion industries—and beyond.
“Ageism remains an often overlooked form of discrimination, unconsciously accepted by so many in everyday life,” said Charlotte Franceries, beauty team president at McCann Paris, when the issue came out. “This is why we felt the world’s leading beauty brand, L’Oreal Paris, and iconic British Vogue were the perfect platforms to help turn age into a non-issue. It’s time we all awoke from the inertia of everyday ageism.”
ThisAbles | Ikea
Office: McCann Tel Aviv
Ikea’s ThisAbles, a range of products that make it easier for people with disabilities to use the retailer’s furniture, was created with help from a copywriter in McCann’s Tel Aviv office who has cerebral palsy. The add-ons, which can only be found in select stores but are available worldwide via 3D printing, have been awarded at Cannes Lions, the Golden Drum Festival and the Epica Awards.
As a company that prides itself on democratic design, Ikea partnered with nonprofits Milbat and Access Israel—both of which specialize in creating solutions for populations with special needs and disabilities—to design the line of products.
Half Full | Coca-Cola
Office: McCann Romania
To try and inject some positivity into the Romanian news cycle, Coca-Cola created “half full” versions of its bottles, each complete with a snippet of good news about the country. For instance, one bottle read: “1 in 4 Romanians working in IT is a woman (2nd place in the EU).” According to McCann Romania, the stats were chosen by a team of journalists and PR people. The bottles were handed out at a Coca-Cola “newsstand,” and people could also create their own custom labels via a Facebook chatbot.
Microsoft | Changing the Game
Office: McCann New York