30+ Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That’ll Make You Stop And Think

Many people complain about advertisements as an obnoxious way for companies to invade our everyday lives and cram their products down our throats, but that’s not all that advertisements are good for. The advertisements on this list are excellent examples of effective advertising strategies for social issue campaigns that let their voices be heard.

A well-made advertisement is designed to grab your attention and to remain in your memory long after you’ve left it behind, and that is exactly what many of these social causes need. Getting people to think and worry about various social and environmental issues (or even simply getting them to be aware of them) is important for raising public supporting and affecting meaningful changes. A few of these ads are, in fact, commercial ads, but it’s still nice that they champion socially or environmentally aware causes/products.

Just like with commercial advertisements, having just the facts is not enough. They are important, but the ad must also appeal to the observer’s emotions. Many studies have indicated that emotion can have a powerful effect on memory formation, ensuring that memories with emotion will last longer than those without.

According to “Father of Advertising” David Ogilvy, his contemporary, Howard Gossage, said that “advertising justifies its existence when used in the public interest—it is much too powerful a tool to use solely for commercial purposes.” We definitely agree, which is why we wanted to share this list of social cause advertisements with you!

01. Torture Victims Are People Just Like You And Me

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-1Advertising Agency: Advico Y&R, Zurich, Switzerland

02. Stop The Violence: Don’t Drink And Drive

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-2Advertising Agency: Terremoto Propaganda, Curitiba, Brazil

03. Premature Ending: “If you smoke, statistically your story will end 15% before it should.”

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-3“THE END. If you smoke, statistically your story will end 15% before it should. For help with quiting call QUITTLINE on 0200 00 22 00″ (Advertising Agency: Iris, London, UK)

04. World Wide Fund For Nature: Frightening vs. More Frightening

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-4Advertising Agency: DDB&CO., Istanbul, Turkey

05. Your Skin Color Shouldn’t Dictate Your Future


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-6Advertising Agency: Publicis Conseil, Paris, France

06. Deforestation Continues With The Turn Of A Page

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-7Advertising Agency: LINKSUS, Beijing, China

07. Unhate


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-9Advertising Agency: Fabrica, Italy

08. Elm Grove Police Department: Slower Is Better

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-10Advertising Agency: Cramer-Krasselt, Milwaukee, USA

09. Save Paper – Save The Planet

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-11Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Air Pollution Kills 60.000 People A Year

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-12Advertising Agency: unknown

11. Liking Isn’t Helping. Be A Volunteer. Change A Life


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-14Advertising Agency: Publicis, Singapore

12. Bird Conservation: If You Don’t Pick It Up They Will

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-15Advertising Agency: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, Johannesburg, South Africa

13. What We See When You Smoke

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-16Advertising Agency: JWT, Atlanta, USA

14. Animal Anti-Cruelty League: That’s Not A Football

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-17Advertising Agency: Lowe Bull, Cape Town, South Africa

15. Bangalore Traffic Police: Don’t Talk While Driving


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-19Advertising Agency: Mudra Group, India

16. Child Soldiers: It’s Not Happening Here, But It’s Happening Now

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-20Creative/Art director Pius Walker, Amnesty International, Switzerland.

17. Censorship Tells The Wrong Story

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-21Advertising Agency: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, UAE

18. Distracted Driving: Think Of Both Sides

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-22Advertising Agency: Red Pepper, Ekaterinburg, Russia

19. Every 60 Seconds a Species Dies Out. Each Minute Counts

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-23Advertising Agency: Scholz & Friends, Berlin, Germany

20. Innocence In Danger: Where’s The Pedophile?


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-25Art Director: Michael Arguello, Copywriter: Bassam Tariq, Additional credits: Jason Musante

21. Sexual Predators Can Hide In Your Child’s Smartphone

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-26Advertising Agency: Herezie, Paris, France

22. Smoking Causes Premature Aging

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-27Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG Australia

23. You’re Not A Sketch. Say No To Anorexia

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-28Advertising Agency: Revolution Brasil

24. Neglected Children Are Made To Feel Invisible. Stop Child Abuse Now

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-29“To dramatize the issue of neglect, we placed mannequins dressed as children behind billposters. When the inevitable happened, we revealed a second message.” (Australian Childhood Foundation, JWT Melbourne)

25. Global Action In The Interest of Animals: Plastic Bags Kill

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-30Advertising Agency: BBDO Malaysia, MALAYSIA, Kuala Lumpur / Advertising Agency: Duval Guillaume, Belgium

26. What Goes Around Comes Around. Keep The Sea Clean


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-32Advertising Agency: JWT, Dubai, UAE

27. Tailgating Isn’t Worth It. Give Trucks Room

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-33Advertising Agency: Amélie Company, Denver, Colorado, USA

28. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: When You See A Tuna, Think Panda

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-34Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Singapore

29. Sleepiness Is Stronger Than You. Don’t Drive Sleepy

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-35Advertising Agency: BBDO Bangkok, Thailand

30. See how easy feeding the hungry can be?

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-36Advertising Agency: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, Johannesburg, South Africa

31. Causing Cancer By Yourself

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-37Advertising Agency: Dentsu, Beijing, China

32. Deforestation And The Air We Breathe: Before It’s Too Late

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-38Advertising Agency: TBWA\PARIS, France

33. For The Homeless, Every Day Is A Struggle

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-39Advertising Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne, Australia

34. The Prevention Beer Mug: Please Don’t Lose Control Over Your Drinking

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-40Advertising Agency: EURORSCG Prague, Czech Republic

35. One Child Is Holding Something That’s Been Banned In America To Protect Them. Guess Which One?


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-42Advertising Agency: Grey, Toronto, Canada

36. Breast Cancer Awareness Bra

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-43Advertising Agency: Bolero, Fortaleza, Brazil

37. UN Women: Auto-Complete Shows Perceptions Of Women


public-interest-public-awareness-ads-45Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Dubai, UAE

38. Don’t Buy Exotic Animal Souvenirs

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-46Advertising Agency: LOWE GGK, Warsaw, Poland

39. Buckle up. Stay alive

public-interest-public-awareness-ads-47Advertising Agency: Lg2, Quebec, Canada

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Architecture & Design was started by an Afghan - Canadian entrepreneur, he believes that wellbeing is affected by the spaces we spend our time in and that their design is an important notion to consider with regards to our personal comfort and happiness – whether we are at home, at work or at play.

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