Ad Council Developing ‘Trusted Messengers’ For Causes
Symbiotic Relationship Needed Between Partners

The Ad Council — creator of Smokey the Bear and iconic campaigns that messaged “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “Love Has No Labels” — has broadened its “trusted messenger” engagement division to involve more influencers that include doctors, medical experts and community leaders.

The 80-year-old, New York City-based Ad Council has relaunched Creators for Good, its talent engagement division that uses influencers, celebrities and trusted professionals to deliver social impact messages and year-round programs on multi-channels from television to podcasts to social media platforms like Tik Tok, Twitch, YouTube and others.

After conducting surveys and a COVID-19 campaign that emphasized getting vaccinated, Creators for Good teams learned through research that, after family, most Americans (60%) turn to medical professionals for trusted information on social and societal issues, followed by close friends (59%) and scientists (51%). Local and community leaders were close behind in terms of trust, survey data showed.

“One of the key learnings from not only the vaccine campaign but also from a lot of market research that’s being done is that people’s trust in all information sources is at an all-time low. People are really skeptical about where they’re getting their information. What we found is that the messenger who is delivering the message is as important as the message itself,” said Creators for Good Lead Kerry Perse.

What’s new and fresh, Perse said, is that the Ad Council’s engagement arm is using new data tools, updated research, strengthened partnerships with social media platforms and an expanded approach to featuring trusted messengers, including doctors, medical experts and community leaders.

Perse said Creators for Good is not yet identifying which influencers and professionals will be seen in upcoming social impact campaigns, which will include topics of mental health, racial equity, climate change, gun safety and fentanyl and drug abuse.

Creators for Good is partnering with Influential, an artificial intelligence social data and conversion technology, and People First, a movement of self-advocacy groups. Creators for Good is using a new data dashboard that includes results of PassionPoints surveys of more than 100,000 potential influencer partners.

Influential’s technology will be used to help match influencers to social causes and drive awareness and encourage conversations, Perse said.

Creators for Good in recent years has delivered public service/social impact messages through the voices of Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles (empowering Black Americans and urging wearing of face masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19); Grammy Award-winning artist Billie Eilish (Seize the Awkward mental health campaign); and Mike Alfaro, digital.

Creator and CEO of Millennial Loteria (preparing for natural disasters).

The Creators for Good campaign called “It’s Up To You,” which encouraged getting vaccinated to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, involved Pope Francis, basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, members of the band Foreigner, Dr. Joe Park of the Bachelorette, more than 100 medical professionals and 1,000 hyper-local influencers.