In an era where social and political commentary by brands and individuals can be extremely divisive, putting people on either side of an issue, using effective communication techniques can bridge the divide and unite people and thoughts. Effective communication requires marketers to not only get to know their audience, but also ensure they are deeply entrenched in their subject matter. Many brands can make statements about social and political issues, but brands or campaigns that truly make a difference, change people’s perceptions by striking a connection beyond typical brand communication. The two campaigns, focusing on people’s rights to life and choice use two extremely different approaches in communication. The first, The Pride Shield, uses stunt marketing and an emotional connection to create awareness and get people to act. The second campaign, Burger King’s Blank Whopper, uses relatable concepts and clear messaging to change people’s perception and promote constructive thought.
COMING OUT WITH A BANG
The Pride Shield or the bulletproof flag installation is a campaign devised by Rethink Creative to raise awareness around The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The shield, made up of 193 pride flags, symbolises the 193 UN-recognised countries, can literally stop bullets. The campaign not only raises awareness of the plight against the LGBTQ+ community with continued violence and death, but also shows how the power of collective action by people and governments can make a powerful and real difference in the world.
The accompanying print ads also highlights the stories of real people that had to flee their country because of persecution. The print ads show these individuals, wrapped in the pride flag, showing not only the fear for their lives but also an inherent determination to stand against the injustice of people just like them.
A DISH OF YOUR CHOICE
Burger King Brazil’s Blank Whopper campaign tackles voter apathy and people’s right to choose. Voting in Brazilian elections is mandatory, causing many voters to turn in blank votes due to dissatisfaction with both presidential candidates. The Blank Whopper campaign addresses this by stating that “when you let someone chose for you, you can’t complain about the results”. In order to change people’s perception, Burger King in partnership with DAVID, a São Paulo based agency, made the concept of voter apathy and choice relatable by conflating the choice to vote to the choice of burger toppings. In an experiential tester, citizens were told that other people made the choice regarding the contents of their burger, resulting in burgers with only onions and mayonnaise or only pickles and no burger bun.
This simple, yet clever analogy, shows that giving up the right to choose can have less than tantalizing results. Transforming a complex issue such as voter apathy into a simple and very relatable concept of people ordering food for you, shows that effective communication can bridge the divide of people’s stance on issues and actually create real change in perception. The resulting message is clear, if you let someone choose for you, you might not like the results.
Looking at these two campaigns it is clear that effective communication has a real-world impact. The means of communicating can vary, however, the effectiveness of campaigns such as these are determined by the varying degrees of connections they make with their audience. The Pride Shield did this by using a stunt installation and evocative imagery resulting in emotional connections. The Blank Whopper also achieved real change by making complex issues relatable and hitting closer to home. Both achieved success by knowing their audience and using effective communication techniques.