Marketing has become a very challenging profession over the last few years. Consumers have grown numb with the traditional marketing messages that they assume come with “a catch.” Marketing tactics remind many of the unneeded and undesirable purchases they’ve made after being persuaded by advertisements that don’t exactly deliver on their promises. Very rarely are marketing tactics synonymous with social good, but this type of “cause marketing” can have enormous impact on your campaigns. Here are five visual campaigns using marketing to spread meaningful initiatives and contribute to causes to make our world a better place.

  1. American Express: Small Business Saturday. To show support for the “mom and pop” shops of America, the company launched this program in 2010 and has been driving revenue ever since: In 2014, around $14 billion was spent at small businesses on that day. AMEX delivered on the creative side by providing signage, social media posts and other ways to get consumers to go out and shop locally.
  1. United Nations Foundation: Giving Tuesday’s “Unselfie Movement.” The UN Foundation capitalized on the cell phone selfie trend with this campaign in 2013, dedicated to help promote giving back – unselfishly. Participants were encouraged to share photos of their selfless actions on social media. This movement proved that aligning visual elements with social trends and causes can drive engagement. 
  1. Alex’s Lemonade Stand. What began as a little girl’s dream to eliminating childhood cancer soon grew into a movement that has raised more than $100 million for cancer research projects. The idea that anyone, of any age can help was a source of inspiration to get people to open their wallets. From a visual standpoint, the movement’s use of yellow in brand messaging helped promote the mission.
  1. ALS: Ice Bucket Challenge. This campaign found its success in the fact that watching others suffer the chill was a metaphor for the disease’s impact on the human body, rendering patients unable to move. The visual aspect was considerable – participants had to shoot themselves partaking in the challenge, share the video and nominate others.
  1. Doctors of the World: Make a Child Cry. Most children cry during a visit to the doctor – which is a good thing for kids living in countries where medical care is a privilege. People were inspired to actually make children weep by contributing to the cause, knowing that the end result is that these young people can live longer, healthier lives. The visual impact in this case had more to do with the campaign’s tag line. Being encouraged to do something horrible got the attention of would-be donators to the fund.

These marketing campaigns demonstrate how you can use content to create massive impact that resonates with your target audience. The visual elements generate interest, and they’re drawn to hearing more about a good cause – which helps marketers get over the hurdle of having “a catch.” The next time you’re looking for some inspiration for a campaign, consider using some of these ideas to reach your potential customers.