Ad Council collaborates with Whalar to harness the immense influence of creators as trusted messengers. Together, they drive meaningful change by aligning influencers with causes they genuinely care about. By involving creators early in the process and emphasizing authenticity, they engage audiences and amplify their impact on critical issues.
Ellyn Fisher’s Commentary on The Ad Council and Whalar Partnership
Who is Ellyn Fisher?
Ellyn Fisher, the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Ad Council, leads the organization’s public relations and social media efforts for its national public service campaigns. She also heads Creators for Good, the talent engagement arm of the Ad Council.
As a non-profit organization, the Ad Council aims to use creative storytelling to educate, unite, and inspire action on pressing issues in America. Their impactful campaigns, such as Smokey Bear, A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste, and Love Has No Labels, have become iconic. Currently, their focus is on addressing critical issues like mental health, gun safety, and the opioid epidemic in the country.
What motivated the Ad Council to initiate the Creators for Good Ambassador Program?
Ellyn emphasizes the importance of the messenger, stating, “The messenger is as important as the message itself.” The new Ambassador Program takes this idea further, aligning influencers with causes they genuinely care about. She explains, “Our goal is to work strategically with trusted messengers, involving them early to tailor relationships and drive greater impact.”
This approach has already seen success in addressing mental health, gun violence, and the opioid epidemic. Ellyn eagerly anticipates the insights and creative voices that creators will contribute to these campaigns.
How will the Creators for Good Ambassador Program differ from other influencer-led initiatives?
Ellyn highlights the uniqueness of the Ad Council’s program, stating, “Our program is unique in that this diverse group of individuals will bring their knowledge of platform trends, audience insights, creative formats, and more to inform strategic messaging and development of Ad Council campaign briefs for talent and creators.” She emphasizes that this investment in creators as trusted messengers is a first for the Ad Council, expressing pride in their holistic approach.
By involving creators early in the process, Ellyn believes that the effectiveness of their campaign communications will grow.
How does the Ad Council plan to ensure the authenticity and relevance of these creators’ messages in the campaigns?
Ellyn emphasizes the significance of authenticity and relevance in every Creators for Good program, stating, “Authenticity and relevance are at the core of every Creators for Good program.” The Ad Council invests considerable effort in finding trusted messengers who align with the campaign’s brand values. They seek individuals who possess both reach and relevance to effectively connect with target audiences.
Ellyn also explains that Creators for Good Ambassadors empowers creators to contribute their audience insights, enabling them to play an integral role in the campaign development process.
What kind of training or resources are provided to the creators to equip them with issue expertise and social impact best practices?
Ellyn explains that the ambassadors in the program not only possess a genuine interest and understanding of the social issue they have chosen but also receive additional education and resources. She states, “In addition to their existing interest and knowledge of the social issue of their choosing, we are equipping this group of ambassadors with essential campaign and issue education.” These ambassadors are provided with carefully developed facts and research specific to the Ad Council’s campaigns.
Furthermore, they are invited to participate in campaign-specific workshops that promote strategic thinking and ensure they are well informed about the Ad Council’s work.
How will the Ad Council measure the success or impact of this program?
Ellyn describes how the success of the program will be measured within the framework of the Ad Council’s comprehensive campaign measurement approach. She explains, “We’ll measure the success of this program through the lens of our holistic campaign measurement, ensuring we are reaching our target audience and driving them to take a specific action or change a mindset or behavior.”
The performance of creator-first content will be evaluated using various key performance indicators (KPIs) such as reach, exposure, views, engagement, and clicks to the website.
Additionally, data from consumer tracking surveys and brand lift studies will be leveraged to demonstrate the campaign’s impact on changing attitudes and behaviors. Ellyn highlights that this information informs future strategies and plays a vital role in the continued evolution of Creators for Good on a larger scale.
Can you share an example of a campaign that will be influenced by the Creators for Good Ambassador Program?
The Ad Council tackles more than 30 social issues that the country faces. When developing the program, their objective was to collaborate with creators who have a genuine passion for the campaigns, whether they have personal experiences with the issue or have witnessed it firsthand and aspire to make a difference. They plan to pilot this program on various key pillar issues, including campaigns like “Real Deal on Fentanyl,” which raises awareness among youth about fentanyl, as well as multiple initiatives related to mental health.
With over 2,300 trusted messengers and 50 campaigns since 2015, what has the Creators for Good program learned about using influencers and trusted messengers to engage audiences?
When it comes to creative content development, Ellyn emphasizes the importance of avoiding excessive prescription. She states, “One of our biggest lessons has been to avoid being overly prescriptive when it comes to creative content development.” The Ad Council recognizes the unique understanding creators have of their audience and believes in allowing them to showcase their expertise. They have witnessed the immense value of collaborating with diverse creators who bring different lived experiences and perspectives to the table.
Ellyn highlights that each campaign is distinct, requiring partnerships and creators that reflect the variety of issues they address.
What do you hope this program will achieve in the long term?
Ultimately, the Ad Council’s objective is to collaborate with creators to make a lasting impact and drive meaningful social change.
What are some of the specific social impacts campaigns the Ad Council and Whalar are currently working on? How are the creators integrated into these campaigns?
Ellyn expresses her gratitude for the invaluable partnership with Whalar in expanding their network of trusted messengers. She states, “Whalar has been such an amazing partner for us in growing our trusted messengers, and we are so happy to have them on board with the Ambassador Program.”
Ellyn also highlights the active involvement of Whalar creators in impactful campaigns like Love Has No Labels, which has won an Emmy Award, and the Youth Fentanyl Awareness initiative in collaboration with TikTok. She emphasizes that this is just the beginning of their partnership with Whalar, and they eagerly anticipate numerous future opportunities together.
What have been some of the most significant achievements of the Creators for Good initiative thus far?
Ellyn Fisher highlights the significant achievements of the Creators for Good program. She states, “We have achieved so much across many Creators for Good activations.”
She cites impactful collaborations, such as a PSA featuring Billie Eilish and a student-produced PSA with Heisman-winner Caleb Williams, as part of the Seize the Awkward campaign. She emphasizes that what initially started as a small-scale effort to integrate influencers into one or two campaigns has grown tremendously, with Creators for Good now working across all active Ad Council campaigns.
Ellyn also expresses gratitude for the incredible media partnerships they have with platforms like Amazon, Meta, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, and others. These partnerships fuel the success of their work with creators and further the Ad Council’s mission to empower audiences on pressing issues.
What Jamie Gutfreund Has to Say About the Ad Council and Whalar Partnership
Can you share more about the collaboration between the Ad Council and Whalar? How do the strengths of each organization contribute to the success of this program?
According to Jamie Gutfreund, Chief Growth Officer at Whalar, the Ad Council has been a trailblazer in using advanced communications to promote social causes. The collaboration with Whalar represents a significant advancement in these successful endeavors, as it harnesses the immense influence of creators as trusted messengers.
Jamie also points out that trust is crucial for making a tangible impact, and creators possess remarkable abilities to amplify trust and drive meaningful change.
Can you explain the selection process for the creators involved in this program? What criteria were used?
“This program required a careful selection process to find creators who have a proven and long-term passion for social good,” says Jamie. “This program is not a ‘post and ghost’ exercise. We found real partners interested in more than committing to creating content and leaders willing to share their expertise and audiences. Changing the world is not for the casual observer or dilettantes – this is hard ‘roll up your sleeves’ work and takes a special person – and we are thrilled that we found our people.”
Looking ahead, how do you see the role of influencers and creators evolving in social impact campaigns?
“Creators can do so much more than sell products,” Jamie asserts. “While they are good at selling products, they are also secret weapons that can reach people, especially younger people, better, faster, and with more trust than traditional media.” She emphasizes that a 30-second spot pales in comparison to creators’ ability to engage hearts and minds on a large scale. Addressing crucial issues like mental health and drug addiction requires the deployment of the most effective strategies, and creators are the answer. She enthusiastically states, “We want to spark real, meaningful change and bring in creators for good. What’s better than that?”