People often complain that glossy ads and TV commercials are annoying ways for companies to push their products down our throats. However, printed ads can be used for more than just pushing products down our throats. The best ads on this list are great examples of how to use advertising to bring attention to social issues and let people’s voices be heard.

A well-made ad is meant to get your attention and stay in your mind long after you’ve seen it. This is exactly what many of these social problems need. Getting people to think about and worry about things like human trafficking, racism, and air pollution is important for getting public support and making changes that matter.

Some of these ads are commercials, but it’s still nice that they promote products or causes that are good for society or the environment. Just like with commercial ads, it’s not enough to know the facts. They are important, but in order to raise social awareness, the ad must also make the viewer feel something. Many studies have shown that feelings can have a big effect on how memories are made, making sure that memories with feelings stick around longer than those without.

Howard Gossage, a contemporary of David Ogilvy, who started the famous advertising agency, said that “advertising justifies its existence when it is used in the public interest.” It is too powerful a tool to use only for commercial purposes. ” We totally agree, which is why we wanted to give you this list of great examples of ads.

#1 Stop The Violence: Don’t Drink And Drive

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Terremoto Propaganda, Curitiba, Brazil

#2 Premature Ending: “If you smoke, statistically your story will end 15% before it should.”

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

“THE END. If you smoke, statistically your story will end 15% before it should. For help with quiting call QUITTLINE on 0200 00 22 00” (Advertising Agency: Iris, London, UK)

#3 Your Skin Color Shouldn’t Dictate Your Future

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think
40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Publicis Conseil, Paris, France

#4 Air Pollution Kills 60.000 People A Year

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: unknown

#5 Liking Isn’t Helping. Be A Volunteer. Change A Life

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

#6 Bird Conservation: If You Don’t Pick It Up They Will

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: TBWAHuntLascaris, Johannesburg, South Africa

#7 What We See When You Smoke

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: JWT, Atlanta, USA

#8 Bangalore Traffic Police: Don’t Talk While Driving

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think
40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Mudra Group, India

#9 Child Soldiers: It’s Not Happening Here, But It’s Happening Now

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Creative/Art director Pius Walker, Amnesty International, Switzerland.

#10 Distracted Driving: Think Of Both Sides

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Red Pepper, Ekaterinburg, Russia

#11 Every 60 Seconds a Species Dies Out. Each Minute Counts

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Scholz & Friends, Berlin, Germany

#12 Sexual Predators Can Hide In Your Child’s Smartphone

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Herezie, Paris, France

#13 Torture Victims Are People Just Like You And Me

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Advico Y&R, Zurich, Switzerland

#14 World Wide Fund For Nature: Frightening vs. More Frightening

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

#15 Elm Grove Police Department: Slower Is Better

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Cramer-Krasselt, Milwaukee, USA

#16 Save Paper – Save The Planet

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Copenhagen, Denmark

#17 Neglected Children Are Made To Feel Invisible. Stop Child Abuse Now

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

“To dramatize the issue of neglect, we placed mannequins dressed as children behind billposters. When the inevitable happened, we revealed a second message.” (Australian Childhood Foundation, JWT Melbourne)

#18 Global Action In The Interest of Animals: Plastic Bags Kill

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: BBDO Malaysia, MALAYSIA, Kuala Lumpur / Advertising Agency: Duval Guillaume, Belgium

#19 Tailgating Isn’t Worth It. Give Trucks Room

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Amélie Company, Denver, Colorado, USA

#20 See how easy feeding the hungry can be?

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: TBWAHuntLascaris, Johannesburg, South Africa

#21 Deforestation And The Air We Breathe: Before It’s Too Late

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: TBWAPARIS, France

#22 The Prvention Beer Mug: Please Don’t Lose Control Over Your Drinking

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: EURORSCG Prague, Czech Republic

#23 One Child Is Holding Something That’s Been Banned In America To Protect Them. Guess Which One?

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think
40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Grey, Toronto, Canada

#24 Breast Cancer Awareness Bra

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: Bolero, Fortaleza, Brazil

#25 Don’t Buy Exotic Animal Souvenirs

40 Of The Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That'll Make You Stop And Think

Advertising Agency: LOWE GGK, Warsaw, Poland

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