Thank You Advertisers, For a Glass-Half-Full Attitude

by Ella · 2 comments

Like I said in my A Little Bit of Good News In a Bad News World post a couple of weeks back, I am SICK of hearing bad news everywhere. So that is why I was happy when, while researching this week’s article, I found that advertisers are infusing their ad campaigns with positive messages. It all started when I was walking up the street the other day and saw an ad on the side of a bus for Quaker Oats.

Have you seen these new ads? They are so cool! Lots of white space, and a close up, cropped shot of the Quaker Oats guy with the words “Go Humans Go.” In case you are unaware, there are quite a few Quaker products out there. Quaker says they are using this as an opportunity to unite all their products into one campaign and promote Quaker Oats as a “super grain” that helps people’s mind and bodies, says Annie Young-Scrivner, Chief Marketing Officer at Quaker Oats. Hey, if you can’t feel good about yourself because you are unemployed or making less than you were, then why not do what you can to feel healthy? Right?

A Shift In The Message

I touched on the subject when I wrote about the influence that Obama’s ad campaign had on big advertisers such as Pepsi, Ben and Jerry’s and Ikea in early 2009. A few years ago, the message was focused on the brand for the purpose of branding a particular product. For example, Pepsi’s 2008 television commercial slogan was “Pepsi is #1” and in 2007 it was “Taste the one that’s forever young.” These days, the message is focused on the consumer by using a positive message to get us through these tough times such as “Hope” and “Every Generation Refreshes the World” And it seems consumers are relating to the optimistic messages. Using words such as “hope,” “yes,” “go,” and “opportunity” are just a few ways advertisers are phrasing their campaigns. In order to relate to consumers, we are seeing advertisers shift from using celebrities, gimmicks, and pretty faces toward clever, simple, and positive messages.

Pepsi’s arch enemy, Coca-Cola is doing just the same with their recent “Open Happiness” campaign. Per a press release on Coke’s website, the central message of this campaign is to invite “the billions of people around the world who love to pause and refresh themselves with a Coke to ‘Open Happiness’ and continue to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures.” Additionally, the new  campaign will continue to invite people to bring positivity, optimism and fun into their lives through engaging creative and an updated message. Check out one of the commercials below. Just like what movies and video games do during a recession, Coca Cola’s “Open Happiness” campaign takes our mind off of reality for a bit by incorporating humans with a fantasy world.


Similarly, Western Union is taking the time to give themselves fresh look with a new global brand campaign that centers around the word “yes!” Using real people from all over the world and the power of the word “Yes!”, they have developed a series of ads with their new slogan in many languages. A voice-over in one of the ads says “Every day, millions of people around the world are moving their lives forward, making things happen. Saying ‘yes’ to a brighter future”

The campaigns website,, gives consumers the opportunity to share the power of their own optimism and opportunity and for every story shared, Western Union will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to one of three educational non-profits organizations: Academy for Educational Development, Mercy Corps or Room to Read. The creative behind Western Union’s campaign is focused on the optimism and hope inherent in the word “yes!” and highlights tangible acts that bring the brand to life.

Visa recently launched their first global advertising campaign, entitled “More People Go With Visa.” In a press release, Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer of Visa Inc. said “The ‘More People go With Visa’ campaign is an invitation to make the most out of life every day, a powerful message. It’s not about spending more, it’s about using Visa for those things that are important to you every day.” Again, I see a shift in the message here. Remember those credit card ads promoting using your card for that vacation you have always dreamed of? It seems those are long gone. Now, Visa is focusing on consumers using their Visa card for important everyday needs. The message is optimistic yet realistic. Additionally, the new campaign will focus on consumers using their Visa debit cards, versus a credit card. A wise decision, with so many consumers worrying about credit card debt and overspending.

Final Thoughts

We are seeing a shift in marketing messages and advertisers are trying to relate to consumers in a much more realistic way. This isn’t a time for the vanity, selfishness and outrageous statements that we’ve seen promoted in ad campaigns in the past. This is a time for us all to come together and power through this, and a key factor to that is maintaining a positive attitude.