Goafest 2019: We are in the business of leading a culture not following it: Matt Eastwood

Eastwood, Global Chief Creative Officer, McCann Health, spills the beans on the power of advertising and how marketers can make a lasting global impact through their ad campaigns

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Apr 15, 2019 8:22 AM

On the last day of Goafest 2019 on Saturday, Matt Eastwood, Global Chief Creative Officer, McCann Health, spoke about how marketers can shape the minds of their audience, what the millennial consumer stands for and how agencies can win big by taking a social stance.



Eastwood, in his opening statement, said, “The thing I love the most about advertising is that it attracts bright, creative and young courageous people. Creativity, imagination and ambition are what makes coming to work inspiring. No matter what the challenge or how difficult the client brief is, when you give a young creative to solve a problem, you will be presented with at least three answers. One of them will be perfect for the agency,” he said.


The world is going through a period of uncertainty. Leadership in the US and Brexit are on everybody’s mind. “A lot of us right now are concerned by the direction of human rights, rights of women & transgenders and of immigrants and children. Almost all of us are worried about climate change and resource scarcity. We are concerned with how the world will evolve from all this. This is the reality we are facing. This is in the minds of our clients too,” stated Eastwood.


A recent Deloitte survey found that one-third of the millenials living in urban countries believe that their country’s social and economic situation will improve. Two-thirds are pessimistic about their future. Only 23% of GenZ, the next generation after millennials, expect to be happy as their parents.


Speaking about this report, Eastwood shared, “The report also suggests this is the ideal time for business leaders to prove themselves as agents of positive change. We are in the business of leading a culture not following it. We discover truths and amplify those truths. We act out the desires of our clients but we filter those through data, knowledge and our own desires and so this puts us in a powerful position where we get to decide where we want things to go.”


We have all heard about corporate social responsibility. It is not just a buzzword anymore, it is a basic tenant. “Businesses are beginning to analyse themselves in many different ways, creating environmental, social and political impacts. They are not just thinking about return on investment, they are thinking about doing good,” said Eastwood.


Very soon, companies that take corporate social responsibility seriously will be leading over those who don’t.

Eastwood said, “The New York Times reported investors like pension funds have publicly declared that they now consider environmental, social and political issues to be a key factor in their investment decisions.”


The work advertisers do can shape the world we want. “We are in a unique position. We are not only able to determine where things should go but point our clients in this direction, using creativity, trying new things, getting smart, snappy and inventing creative ways to advertise good messages,” remarked Eastwood.


Eastwood gave an example of the brand Kwality Noon Assembly campaign that highlights the effects of health in India. Kwality wanted to make a gigantic difference in the quality of people’s lives, specifically children, with this ad campaign:


Eastwood said, “With this campaign, McCann Health addressed the problem and created something lasting and impactful. At the very core, this is a creative act by asking questions and recognizing a need.”


Marketers have a strong power. Eastwood showcased work done by McCann, New York. A campaign that highlighted Las Vegas as a wedding destination and the agency changed the narrative to highlight the issues of the LGBTQ+ community.




“This is advertising but it works in a different way and the brand MGM Resorts was noticed for it in the news more than their traditional form of advertising”, said Eastwood.


The most-watched Super Bowl Ad done by Microsoft not only reframed a social problem but reframed the company itself and sold significant uptake in emotional brand perception.


“These were all commercials, but they were also sending a view about humanity, inclusion and positivity. This is how agencies win,” stated Eastwood.


91% of millennials will shift to another brand if you are not taking a social cause. There is a chance that your product or service will be overlooked.


Lastly, a trusted relationship is critical and clients need to know that you are thinking about these social problems. “If you highlight these social issues well, you will not only make a difference to people’s lives, not only help your client but you will inspire others to do the same. At the same time, you need to be authentic or you will be called out for the promises you made,” remarked Eastwood.

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