Rosie Arnold: Saving the planet is just as important as saving our clients

By Rosie Arnold, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 14 June 2012 08:00AM

During tough economic times, we're all working our socks off on clients' pressing business needs, and it's easy to push global concerns such as climate change, drought and war to the back of our minds.

Rosie Arnold is the president of D&AD and the deputy executive creative director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Rosie Arnold is the president of D&AD and the deputy executive creative director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

But they haven't gone away and it's worth remembering that we in the creative community have the talent and the power to change people's behaviour. And as the financial industry isn't going to help, we might be the world's only chance.

Despite the recession, it is my overwhelming feeling that the industry and clients have adopted a more socially responsible and sustainable approach to the world and work. It seems that all the new technology and communication channels are being used for good.

This fills me with hope. The work that won yellow Pencils at this year's 50th D&AD Awards demonstrated the positive impact that communications can have on real-world issues.

A great example is the BETC campaign for Greenpeace that crowdsourced funds to refit Rainbow Warrior. It's a simple idea and the craft involved is excellent - via an easy-to-use but beautiful interface, users could buy anything from a tiny bolt to a massive piece of equipment. The Lowe/SSP3 work for Colombia's Ministry of Defence aimed at demoblising FARC guerrillas is a superb case study of creative skill aimed at vital social and political issues.

In these projects and others, we're seeing corporate social responsibility becoming ingrained in the practice of everything we do, and that can only be a good thing (although the day any agency manages to become a truly paperless office, I'll eat one of my hats). And - slowly - clients are waking up to consumer demand for better, cleaner, more efficient products, and adland is responding with executions that celebrate these trends.

We know how to spread the word in a way that makes a difference to a client's bottom line. There is no good reason why our skills of persuasion should not be applied to shaping our world into a better place. But we're on the ultimate deadline, and one that not even the world's worst-ever economic downturn should distract us from. If we act now, we can make things better; if we don't, our kids will pay a price we pretend we can't imagine.

D&AD recently announced the launch of the white Pencil, sponsored by Unilever. The first new award in its history is aimed at celebrating work that improves people's lives. The first brief is to support the United Nations' Day of Peace on 21 September.

I urge you to go to www.dandad.org and enter.

Rosie Arnold is the president of D&AD and the deputy executive creative director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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