What You Should Know About Common Ground

In my first post I mentioned something called the Global Common Ground. Common Ground is the dedication of the world’s largest global advertising/communication holding companies to come together to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Let me break it down for you.

Holding companies are basically these overarching umbrellas of a multitude of other companies. The advertising holding companies aren’t actually ever the ones to create ads or work on any client work, but they own the agencies that do. They’re pretty much for funding and investment needs.

On June 24th at the 2016 Cannes Creative Festival CEO’s of the six largest advertising holding companies across the globe came to the agreement that by working together, they can get further in trying to achieve the United Nations SDGs and make the world a better place. This was a pretty big deal, seeing as these companies and their agencies often go head-to-head competing with each other, whether it be at festivals like Cannes or just in the eyes of clients and consumers.

The six companies were Publicis Groupe, Omnicom Group, IPG, WPP, Dentsu and Dentsu Aegis Network, and last but not least Havas. They each picked one goal they want to focus on…

  • Publicis – #2 Zero Hunger
  • Dentsu – #3 Good Health and Well-Being
  • Omnicom – #4 Quality Education
  • WPP – #5 Gender Equality
  • IPG – #6 Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Havas – #13 Climate Action

At the 2016 Cannes festival, this join statement was made: “The Common Ground initiative recognizes that the global issues the UN has identified transcend commercial rivalry. By working in partnership to support the Sustainable Development Goals, we want to demonstrate that even fierce competitors can set aside their differences in order to serve a wider common interest. We hope others in and beyond our own business decide to do the same.” Beautiful.

People don’t usually think of advertising when discussing sustainability, but that’s going to change. Here’s some of my favorite work that’s been done on Common Ground, I’m sure you’ll recognize some. (All data and descriptions were taken from the Global Common Ground website.)

  1. Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables. Contributor was Marcel Worldwide (Publicis) – “These once ignored fruits and vegetables increased store traffic by 24%, increased fruit and vegetable sales by 10% and reached over 13 million people online. This campaign was an industry leader. Just two years later France passed a new law which forbade supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Instead they now must donate them to charities and food banks.”
  2. IPG Agencies and Stella Artois Bring Awareness to Global Water Crisis. Contributors were Weber Shandwick and PMK*BNC (IPG) – “In partnership with 3pm and the support of Water.org, Stella Artois took to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland to announce a 2020 goal and campaign to help provide clean water to 3.5 million people as part of the brand’s “Buy a Lady a Drink” social impact program.
  3. WMcCann and Coca-Cola Create Rainwater Fountain. Contributor was WMcCann (Havas) – “The fountain was at a bus stop in Curitiba, a busy area in the state’s capital and included a water filtration system to ensure it was suitable for consumption. The rainwater fountain is part of Crystal’s positioning, ‘Crystal. hydrates your body, hydrates your mind.'”

You can see all of the Common Ground initiatives and campaigns here.

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