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Responsible Advertising: 4 Examples & 3 Ways to Improve Your Brand Perception

Responsible advertising is a phrase that often confuses people. Brands looking for ways to promote themselves and cultivate trust with their target audience must learn how to abide by company values, cultural expectations, and consumer demands. It’s a fine line to toe, and pulling it off right can be tricky. 

Responsibility in advertising means holding your company accountable and respecting your audience while staying true to your brand.

In this blog, we’ll explore what responsible advertising looks like and provide strategies you can use to better resonate with your target audience.  

What Is Responsible Advertising?

Responsibility in advertising is a method of providing products, services, content, and ads that are neither harmful nor offensive, and follow an ethical standard. It also often means being authentic, aligning with popular values, and focusing on modern-day problems. 

Approximately 64% of consumers will support or boycott a brand because of their stance on a social issue. And about 88% of consumers state that authenticity matters to them when deciding which brands to support.   

These numbers demonstrate how advertising continues to change as customer demands evolve, but it’s important to note that responsibility in advertising is about more than just brand support of a worthy cause. It’s also about being direct with your message and understanding what your consumers care about in the modern era. 

Brand Examples of Responsible Advertising

Responsible advertising can come in many forms, including marketing campaigns that advocate for solutions to worldwide problems. Here are four responsible advertising examples from recognizable brands: 

1. Pfizer: Celebrating Global Health Innovators

Pfizer demonstrated how brands can use their advertisements responsibly. As part of its ongoing Global Health Innovation Grants program, Pfizer supported community-based initiatives across the world to improve access to healthcare services.

Their Global Health Innovators ad shows a glimpse of their commitment to using their publicity to raise awareness about a global challenge.        

2. Google: The Picture Perfect Life

In 2018, Google released its Picture Perfect Life ad to showcase that there’s much more to a person’s story than what we see behind a lens. In the ad, you see people seemingly going about their lives. However, you soon realize that there’s a darker story behind the glamorous shots viewers see. 

This ad aims to help change the national conversation about mental illness. The ad’s message—that people aren’t always as happy as they pretend to be on social media—has global appeal. But perhaps the biggest draw of the ad is Google’s quiet, subtle messaging. By approaching this sensitive topic in an understated way, the ad becomes powerful and thought-provoking. 

3. Dove: Real Beauty Sketches

Dove demonstrated its commitment to redefining beauty and helping change the public perception of it with its Real Beauty Sketches campaign. In this ad, a sketch artist asks women to describe themselves before asking strangers to describe the same person.

It turns out the participants were very self-critical about their image. The ad is an emotional testament to body positivity. It also demonstrates how DOVE remains consistent with their brand message of self-beauty.   

4. Patagonia: Worn Wear Program

Patagonia is another brand that exhibits authenticity and a commitment to its company values. Their Worn Wear Program allows consumers to purchase, use, and sell used clothing and other products. The program is a reminder of how Patagonia is focused on creating marketing initiatives that align with its core beliefs about waste reduction.

They don’t turn their backs on their mission statement. Instead, they remain devoted to their company values and look for ways to spread that commitment via marketing campaigns.         

Best Practices on Responsible Advertising

Creating responsible ads is easier said than done. Brands need to take a stance on positivity while protecting their image. Here are three practices to follow if you want to be more responsible with your ads: 

1. Have a Call-To-Action with Real Values

These days, it’s not enough for companies to create ads that promote the latest products and services. This is not only an outdated marketing tactic but can also seem deceiving. Instead, brands should offer messaging that adds real value to a person’s life or contributes to the greater cultural conversation. 

This REI Will You Go Out With Me ad is a flawless example of a company promoting something greater than material goods. In the ad campaign, REI asks its customers to set shopping aside and seek outdoor adventurers instead.

 Consumers responded well to this ad, thanks to its clear call-to-action and hyper-targeted messaging. REI shoppers are nature-loving, outdoorsy adventurists, so REI’s “Get Outside” message aligned well with their values.

2. Be Authentic and Put Consumer Needs First

Prioritizing customer needs is another way of saying you understand their desires and expectations. If you fail to do this, your consumers won’t connect or resonate with your ads. Ask yourself: Are my ads making an honest change in people’s lives?

Ask: Is my company keeping its promises and not deceiving consumers? Customers can see right through fake claims or misleading ads. Your ads should remain authentic with messages that reflect your company’s values.     

The more you prioritize your consumers and stay true to your organization’s values, the easier it will be to become more responsible with your advertising techniques.

3. Be Cautious with Controversial Material

Advertisements that discuss societal issues can be a hit-or-miss opportunity because some viewers might interpret them as too controversial, or worse, not in line with their values.

You need to find ways to align your content with GARM standards. This doesn’t mean you should avoid discussing societal problems out of fear that some might interpret them as offensive. Rather, you need to remain cautious and serve inclusive, culturally appropriate ads that convey the right message.  

Improve Your YouTube Advertising Campaign with Channel Factory

Responsible advertising allows brands to connect with customers on a deeper level while staying true to their brand image. If you’re running a YouTube campaign and need viable solutions to improve your advertising efforts, Channel Factory can lend a hand.  

Our contextual alignment solutions ensure that your ads are placed with relevant content that resonates with your target audience.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can maximize your YouTube marketing efforts.