Most Powerful Social Issue Ads That’ll Make You Stop and Think

Many people complain about advertisements as an obnoxious way for companies to invade our everyday lives and cram their products down our throats, but that’s not all that advertisements are good for. The advertisements on this list are excellent examples of effective advertising strategies for social issue campaigns that let their voices be heard.

A well-made advertisement is designed to grab your attention and to remain in your memory long after you’ve left it behind, and that is exactly what many of these social causes need. Getting people to think and worry about various social and environmental issues (or even simply getting them to be aware of them) is important for raising public supporting and affecting meaningful changes. A few of these ads are, in fact, commercial ads, but it’s still nice that they champion socially or environmentally aware causes/products.

Just like with commercial advertisements, having just the facts is not enough. They are important, but the ad must also appeal to the observer’s emotions. Many studies have indicated that emotion can have a powerful effect on memory formation, ensuring that memories with emotion will last longer than those without.

According to “Father of Advertising” David Ogilvy, his contemporary, Howard Gossage, said that “advertising justifies its existence when used in the public interest—it is much too powerful a tool to use solely for commercial purposes.” We definitely agree, which is why we wanted to share this list of social cause advertisements with you!

Torture Victims Are People Just Like You And Me


Advertising Agency: Advico Y&R, Zurich, Switzerland


Stop The Violence: Don’t Drink And Drive

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Advertising Agency: Terremoto Propaganda, Curitiba, Brazil


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

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“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)

World Wide Fund For Nature: Frightening vs. More Frightening

Advertising Agency: DDB&CO., Istanbul, Turkey

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Your Skin Color Shouldn’t Dictate Your Future

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Advertising Agency: Publicis Conseil, Paris, France

Deforestation Continues With The Turn Of A Page

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Advertising Agency: LINKSUS, Beijing, China


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Advertising Agency: Fabrica, Italy

Elm Grove Police Department: Slower Is Better

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Advertising Agency: Cramer-Krasselt, Milwaukee, USA

Save Paper – Save The Planet

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Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Copenhagen, Denmark

Air Pollution Kills 60.000 People A Year

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Advertising Agency: unknown

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

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Advertising Agency: Publicis, Singapore

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

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Advertising Agency: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, Johannesburg, South Africa

What We See When You Smoke

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Advertising Agency: JWT, Atlanta, USA

Animal Anti-Cruelty League: That’s Not A Football

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Advertising Agency: Lowe Bull, Cape Town, South Africa

Bangalore Traffic Police: Don’t Talk While Driving

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Advertising Agency: Mudra Group, India

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

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

Censorship Tells The Wrong Story

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Advertising Agency: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, UAE

Distracted Driving: Think Of Both Sides

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Advertising Agency: Red Pepper, Ekaterinburg, Russia

Every 60 Seconds a Species Dies Out. Each Minute Counts

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Advertising Agency: Scholz & Friends, Berlin, Germany

Innocence In Danger: Where’s The Pedophile?

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Art Director: Michael Arguello, Copywriter: Bassam Tariq, Additional credits: Jason Musante

Sexual Predators Can Hide In Your Child’s Smartphone

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Advertising Agency: Herezie, Paris, France

Smoking Causes Premature Aging





Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG Australia

You’re Not A Sketch. Say No To Anorexia

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Advertising Agency: Revolution Brasil

Global Action In The Interest of Animals: Plastic Bags Kill

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

What Goes Around Comes Around. Keep The Sea Clean

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Advertising Agency: JWT, Dubai, UAE

Tailgating Isn’t Worth It. Give Trucks Room

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Advertising Agency: Amélie Company, Denver, Colorado, USA

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: When You See A Tuna, Think Panda

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Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Singapore

Sleepiness Is Stronger Than You. Don’t Drive Sleepy

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Advertising Agency: BBDO Bangkok, Thailand

See how easy feeding the hungry can be?

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Advertising Agency: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, Johannesburg, South Africa

Causing Cancer By Yourself

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Advertising Agency: Dentsu, Beijing, China

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

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Advertising Agency: TBWA\PARIS, France

For The Homeless, Every Day Is A Struggle

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Advertising Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne, Australia

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

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Advertising Agency: EURORSCG Prague, Czech Republic

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

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Advertising Agency: Grey, Toronto, Canada

Breast Cancer Awareness Bra

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Advertising Agency: Bolero, Fortaleza, Brazil

What Goes Around Comes Around: Stop The Iraq War

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Advertising Agency: Big Ant International, New York, USA

UN Women: Auto-Complete Shows Perceptions Of Women

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Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Dubai, UAE

Don’t Buy Exotic Animal Souvenirs

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Advertising Agency: LOWE GGK, Warsaw, Poland

Animal Abuse And Shelters: Same Pet, Different Owner

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Advertising Agency: TBWA-Santiago Mangada Puno, Philippines

Buckle up. Stay alive

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