“It is about doing what is right, not thinking about the consequences because it is something you somehow have to do in the future,” saidJose Miguel Sokoloff, president of Lowe Global Creative Council.
Sokoloff, who is also co-chairman and chief creative officer at Lowe SSP3, was speaking at a panel discussion at Spikes Asia 2012, entitled “Creating Change – How Brave Are you?”, on Monday morning, together with director Ruby Yang and Kitty Lun, chair at Lowe China.
Tony Wright, chairman at Lowe and Partners, was the moderator of the discussion. He noted that while clients have always been blamed for not being brave enough, they are actually more brave than agencies when it comes to creating social changes.
Google, for example, launched its “Legalise love” campaign to support workers in countries that criminalise homosexuality.
“Bravery is the pinnacle point, and then the continuous dialogue to engage the people,” Wright added.
Yang is a Chinese-American filmmaker whose documentary works have earned her several major awards, including an Academy Award.
“Bravery is about keep pushing for heart of solidary,” Yang said. “Truth is difficult and people don’t want to hear the truth. As outsiders I can push the limit of the people but not over my line. It is also about collaboration with other parties such as the media.”
Yang founded the Chang Ai Media Project in 2003, and directed a trilogy of short documentary films about modern China, including The Blood of Yingzhou District (which won an Oscar in 2007), The Warriors of Qiugang (which received an Academy nomination for best documentary short in 2011), and Tongzhi in Love (shortlisted in the same category in 2008).
Lun noted that because some governments actively suppress information, the industry's role is even more critical. For instance, news of Yang's Academy Award, like the wins of some Nodel Prize winners, did not appear in the media in China. “It is up to the communication industry if we are brave enough to make people know about the taboo,” she said.
Yang noted that her films helped create real change, as the government has stepped in to improve the lives of some of the people mentioned in the documentaries.
Sokoloff said the advertising industry is the industry to lead the way, as it has the necessary resources. “Nobody can do as much as we can," he said. "It reminds us how powerful the industry is and we can change things. We usually take the easy way out. We need to get out of that and tell the clients that there are certain things they need to do.”
Lowe SSP3's Christmas-themed campaign to entice guerrilla fighters out of the jungle resulted in an increase in the number of demobilised guerrillas that year.
To help these people to earn a living and be accepted in society, a fashion brand entitled Chance has been launched, which employs some of them in various capacities. Lowe SSP3 is marketing the brand to help ensure its success.
This article first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific