by Anna Gamboa

MANILA – An environmentalist who’s unafraid to wear her green-loving heart on her sleeve, Paula Taylor is also the APAC Regional Director for D&AD. At her first adobo Tambuli conference appearance on May 31, 2016 at the Fairmont Hotel Ballroom, Taylor showed examples of how creativity can be applied for positive effects AND results.

Pointing out that Earth Overshoot Day is coming up on August 8, 2016, Taylor showed a humorous video about storms being renamed after policymakers denying climate change. “Advertising is about solutions and ‘why not this agenda?’ It’s there to change your mind about an issue, effect change, can be used for great good or huge evil—don’t just sell toothpaste and build websites,” Taylor began earnestly with a smile.

She continued to illustrate how brands were making a difference: like how Ikea pledged US$ 1billion on renewable energy. And companies are doing their own initiatives: Facebook; Virgin; Yahoo; and Unilever (whose memorable ‘Sakura Dream’ campaign involved the virtual planting of cherry blossoms, as well as the creation of a 170 km line of trees in Tohoku, which will one day serve as a historical marker showing how far the 2011 tsunami reached inland).

Creatives must work with brands to create for good, Taylor continued, saying: “This immense power is why the (D&AD) White Pencil was created in 2012, to honor communications that demonstrate positive social impact.” Some winners of this sought-after distinction include Samsung’s ‘Safety Truck’ by Leo Burnett, Optus ‘Clever Buoy’, and ‘Security Moms’ by Ogilvy which saw zero casualties (real results!) at what used to be Brazil’s rowdiest or most violent annual football match.

Sometimes, it’s simple ideas with outcomes that get results: ‘Solidarity Queue’ created a new channel of blood donation, and “What 3 Words” facilitated an uncomplicated to communicate location—providing an exact address for people living in various locations, whether they be post-calamity temporary housing or a favela in Brazil.

“Creating for good is so important and APAC can lead the way,” Taylor emphasized, segueing into her introduction of D&AD Impact (—which is the White Pencil taken to another level—affecting cultural/social/political outcomes—great, transformative and creative ideas that are original, innovative, and relevant. The jury in different categories currently includes industry stalwarts like David Droga, David Guerrero, Nick Law, and chef Jamie Oliver.

In a future where companies/products like Fairphone ( win a White Pencil for being an ethical business or social enterprise that uses non-conflict metals, fair labor conditions, and delivers a smartphone that’s designed to work well—it can only point the way to a better future for generations to come as conscientious consumers not only vote with their wallets, but discerning awards bodies reward ingenuity and positive results to encourage bar-raising in the realm of doing good.