It’s a been a wild, weird week for many brands, with a growing handful finding their values confirmed, questioned, and challenged amid calls to #BoycottNRA. While there certainly are emerging winners and losers on that front, we’re going to stick to more traditional marketing messages here, but that doesn’t mean we’re stepping away from brands taking a stand.
Specifically, both Apple and Tinder this week created wonderful pieces of advertising that also made clear where these brands stand on marriage equality and racial diversity, respectively. Apple’s spot celebrating the same-sex marriage vote in Australia and Tinder’s call for interracial couple emojis not only show their willingness to take on progressive issues favored by the bulk of their consumers, but they did it in a way that’s still as entertaining, touching, and fun as any good ad should be. Onward!
Apple “First Dance”
What: An iPhone X spot that poignantly celebrates marriage equality down under.
Who: Apple Australia
Why we care: Three months after Australians voted to make same-sex marriage legal, here’s a sweet, matrimonial-themed spot to mark the occasion. Set to a sure-to-be-much Shazammed cover of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart,” the ad focuses on both the big and small moments between couples on their big day. Plenty of brands—from Airbnb to Coke to Qantas—have been vocal supporters of the “Yes” vote, but here Apple takes it beyond a vote to show it as a way of life.
Tinder “Interracial Couple Emoji Project”
What: A campaign from the dating site Tinder to petition Unicode for emoji that depict interracial couples.
Why we care: To include interracial couples in our broader emoji roster is to categorize it as completely and utterly normal. As normal as a happy face, an eggplant, or a smiling coiled turd. To classify it as something other than “other.” It’s a seemingly small step, but it’s also what helps build real, lasting change.
— Andrew Bloch (@AndrewBloch) February 23, 2018
What: The fast-feeder’s apology to customers after up to 600 of its outlets were forced to close due to a chicken shortage.
Who: KFC UK, Mother London
Why we care: In an era of transparency, this was just a simple, clear, and funny way to apologize. We’re so used to brands being utterly full of BS that an immediate and honest response like this is almost surprising. Which is kind of sad, isn’t it? If brands want to behave more like people–with social personality and tone–they also need to own up like we ideally expect the best of us to. and here, KFC did just that.
Lacoste “Save Our Species”
What: A limited-edition Lacoste polo collection, in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, that replaces the iconic alligator logo with depictions of 10 threatened animals.
Who: Lacoste, BETC Paris
Why we care: Replacing such a recognizable logo with endangered species is pretty great, but what elevates this idea is how it uses scarcity to sell the idea, only creating the quantity of polos that corresponds to the number of each species recorded in the wild. There are only 350 Sumatran tigers IRL, so only 350 tiger logo polos for sale. That and the inevitable earned media makes it a fine example of a brand using its cultural cachet for good. More please.
Nike “Til Death”
What: A completely bonkers skateboarding video to launch Nyjah Huston’s first signature shoe for Nike.
Who: Nike, Ty Evans
Why we care: Okay, this might come off as a tad niche, but COME ON. Even if you’ve never stepped on a skateboard, you can still appreciate the style, skill, and sheer cajones required here. Huston makes it look like a video game, but the blood on the sidewalk reminds us what’s at stake, and veteran director Ty Evans works it equally as well behind the camera. For the sneakerheads, there’s also a behind-the-scenes vid on designing the new shoe. Skateboarding brands were originators in brand content–back when no one else would point a camera their way–but here Nike shows an impressive way forward.