Your marketing videos can promote social change and tolerance.

4 ways your marketing videos can have social impact as well as market your brand.

Your marketing videos can just be marketing videos without addressing any social issues. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your ad campaigns can also be fully and directly focused on social change. Like Nike, NFL, Airbnb, et al. Nothing wrong with that either, but there is a risk if segments of your client base are not as open to certain issues. Brands like Nike can usually weather things like people burning their shoes after seeing a Colin Kaepernick ad. But perhaps your brand cannot.

So, is there anything in-between? Could marketing videos promote both brand awareness and social change while mitigating risk?

The answer is yes, and here are several ways to do it.


We start with the most obvious. You don’t need your marketing video to focus on race, gender, age or orientation issues. But by simply having a diverse cast in non-specified roles, you position your brand as one that promotes diversity and tolerance.

Focus on an Issue

You’re not Super-Brand. You can’t save the world from everything that plagues it. Instead, find an issue that means something to you, and perhaps as important, means something to your patrons. This doesn’t mean you’re preaching to the choir – it’s about putting a subject on the table to advance discussion and thought.

So when planning a campaign or a stand-alone video, consider what appeals to the stakeholders. Race, gender equality, age discrimination, etc, etc. Or perhaps it’s less social and more environmental. Like Stella Artois and its “Buy a Lady a Drink” campaign.

Use Humor

If done right, humor works and has a lasting impact. This of course doesn’t mean make light of an issue. It’s about presenting a topic in a way that is memorable and gets people to look at something in a way they haven’t before. Sometimes a serious topic can become preachy or didactic. You want a softer blow that gets people laughing and thinking at the same time. You don’t have to go Borat-extreme or have an ad laden with sarcasm. It can still be positive and fun, and still promote social change. Again, humor is hard to do, but could leave a more lasting stain.

Use Subtlety

We’re not saying fill your video with little subliminal messages with the intent of implanting ideas in people’s brains. But certain visual ideas can have a powerful impact in introducing people to new ways of thought or life outside of their bubbles. Diversity is one way. Environment is another. For example, place a scene in the inner city instead of suburbia. Graphics is another way to place subtle but powerful ideas into a video.

Just Do It

Regardless of who you are or who your clients are, there’s no excuse not to work toward social change. We understand there is risk involved – a risk not only to your profit margins but to the jobs and lives of those you employ. But there are ways to work toward social change in your marketing videos, and hope these ideas are a good starting point to explore them.

Picturelab is a video production agency that specializes in creative marketing videos that promote social change. To learn more, contact us at

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