6 pivotal social justice ads of 2020

Brands chimed in on social justice issues amid widespread Black Lives Matters protests and fights for LGBTQ equality this year.

1. Nike ‘For Once, Don’t Do It’ by Wieden + Kennedy

Nike called on citizens to get proactive about anti-racism after the killing of George Floyd. With a spot that put a twist on its famous slogan, “Just do it.” This time, Nike tells us, “For once, don’t do it.”

“Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America,” the athletic brand urgesd. “Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent.”

The film was created by Wieden + Kennedy.

2. Starbucks ‘What’s Your Name’ by Iris

Starbucks spotlighted LGBTQ inclusivity in this U.K. ad, which told the story of James, a young transgender person. James encounters people who use his previous name until he goes into a Starbucks store, where he orders a coffee using his true name, written on his cup. When the barista calls out ‘James,’ he savors the affirming moment.

Starbucks also partnered with Mermaids, a U.K.-based charity organization that supports gender-diverse children, young people and their families, as part of the campaign.

The film was created by Sweetshop and directed by Nicolas Jack Davies.

3. Sprite ‘Dreams Realized’ by Wieden + Kennedy

In this spot, Sprite spotlights Black creators and artists, who have often been left out of the American Dream narrative. Hip-hop photographer Cam Kirk helped curate images that captured the essence of Atlanta, the hometown of Sprite’s owner, Coca-Cola. The soft drink brand also pledged $500,000 to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The film was created by Wieden + Kennedy.

4. Procter & Gamble ‘The Choice’ by Grey & Cartwright

P&G urged white Americans to fight complacency and use their privilege to eliminate racial inequality. The ad, which features close-cropped images of black and white skin, and directs viewers to resources supporting the cause. 

“Being white in America is not needing to state your life matters,” the ad reads. “And when your life matters, you have power. How you use your power is a choice. Choose action over observation. Choose progress over perfection."

The film was created by Grey & Cartwright.

5.  NBA ‘The Truth Is #BlackLivesMatter’

In this spot, the NBA showcases MVPs Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon and Jaylen Brown, marching in Black Lives Matter protests,demanding social justice. The film is set to the song “It’s OK to Be Black” by Jac Ross. 

"The truth is racism is everywhere. The truth is silence is not an option,” the spot reads. “The truth is we need to do better. We will promote equality. We will push for change. Because the truth is BLACK LIVES MATTER."

The film was created by the NBA.

6. Coca-Cola ‘The Change’

Coca-Cola praised Black history-shakers who shatter glass ceilings like U.S. Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel, opera singer Davóne Tines and roboticist Dr. Ayanna Howard in this uplifting ad. The beverage brand honored those “destined to shake things up” as they move into the future.

The film was created by Coca-Cola.

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