There is a growing importance for Brand and Agencies to look around their communities, to look among their consumers to see what would make their reality better, not simply through the introduction of their products, but by their actions beyond their products. We can see that consumers are increasingly expecting this (see article here) and that the marketing community is embracing it (see article here and here). Cannes this year showed that this part of marketing is on the rise. Some partner with Brands, some with NGOs or local government bodies. Much of the shared work comes out of Latin America. It is very inspiring.
An example of socially-driven programs was done for the internet service provider Terra. They wanted to help provide privacy to the many people who need to use Internet Cafes to access their various online accounts. Since many of these Cafes are open without cubes to protect others seeing what you are viewing, Terra found a simple way of transferring the screen view into glasses. So the Brand has used its reach and its know-how to add value to communities that need it most, likely having a broader brand affinity effect. The idea is fantastic but I wonder if each pair of glasses is unique to a screen. If not, spying may have become easier because no one can see where you’re looking!
Sometimes great examples come when agencies work with local government bodies to use their creativity to help the community at large. This was the case of Grey in Ecuador where they helped the ambulance service better access the ill or deliver them to hospitals by tapping into the total radio network and thus ensuring that cars in the very congested streets move out of the way. Absolutely genius. Have a look.