Creative industries, especially advertising, bear a historical responsibility in the climate action conversation. They have not only been at the forefront of driving change but have also been guilty of a history of misinformation and promoting excessive consumption. Advertising and other creative sectors are doing their job of persuading and selling ideas incredibly well — but they need to change.
Covering a multitude of sectors, from advertising, architecture, and film to software and TV/radio, these industries don't just represent the heartbeat of the creative economy — they're an imperative force for climate action and communication. UNICEF highlights that the significance of creative industries is dual: they are not only an engine for commercial and cultural innovation but also pivotal in propelling human development. When fostered and harnessed, these industries can overhaul our economies, boost socio-economic advancements, and spawn employment avenues. Besides their economic impacts, creative industries advocate for social inclusion and champion sustainable human development, carving a path for a greener and more inclusive future.1
The world of marketing, media, and creativity takes on a complex role right at the crossroads of business and society. It's the bridge that links companies and people, using brands as their connection points. There's a unique opportunity now more than ever for creative industries to enact change. Through various channels like advertising, entertainment, publishing and technology, these mediums have a big say in shaping our culture. They're like the vehicles that brands use to build connections between what we want, what we dream of, and how we choose to buy and experience things.2
Over the course of many decades, marketing narratives, creative assets, and advertisements have wielded significant influence over our perceptions of value and aspiration. They have molded our sense of what is considered normal and desirable within the cultures and societies we inhabit, leaving an indelible mark on our personal and collective values, worldviews, identities, and ways of life. This influence has been cultivated through an ever-evolving array of strategies that have been driven by data and tactics, now turbocharged by the rapid evolution of technology.3
In marketing, the term Brainprint acknowledges the profound psychological, sociological, and cultural impact that branding, marketing, and creative endeavors can wield. At every juncture where brand, marketing, and creative professionals make strategic or creative decisions, there lies an opportunity to reinforce either sustainable or unsustainable behaviors, norms, and the underlying values that shape them. Given that our attitudes and actions shape our interactions with the world, the Brainprint of marketing emerges as a driver of culture and how we act with regard to climate and environmental issues.2
While the contemporary marketing Brainprint is acknowledged to contribute to unsustainable consumption, it also carries immense potential to support sustainability. It has the capacity to influence the thoughts, emotions, and actions of others. But brands — operating as commercial entities — also benefit from the power of skilled, adept marketing teams backed by substantial budgets. Historically, this influence has been primarily directed toward commercial objectives. As of 2023, the global entertainment and media market commanded a valuation of $2.5 trillion USD, while the global expenditure on advertising reached $856 billion USD. Undoubtedly, the Brainprint of marketing is an influential force — but currently, it falls short of investing in a flourishing future for all.2
If brand managers, marketers, and creative minds can harness the potential and resources of the Brainprint, channeling it toward sustainable objectives, they hold the power to drive transformative change through the communication channels and platforms that facilitate societal discourse on a grand scale. Dismissing the notion that marketing could abstain from guiding society and culture is unfeasible. Therefore, it is imperative to look for its influence toward a novel movement – one that transcends materialism – embedding sustainability into our cultural fabric, societal structures, prevailing norms, and narratives, propelling the systematic transformation we urgently require.3
In the future, the most influential brands will be those that embody sustainability — guiding us individually and collectively toward a renewed connection between our human identity and the natural world. They will guide our perception of what is most precious, inspiring, and coveted, aligning these ideals with prosperous outcomes for all forms of life.4