Defining Bravery in Advertising with Marc Charles, VP, Momentum

From Member Marc Charles is VP, Group Director at Momentum Worldwide.

During his 12+ years at Momentum, Marc has held leadership positions on key accounts including Verizon, Porsche, Bentley, American Express and Coca-Cola. Throughout his career, his focus on creating disruptive omni-channel campaigns has consistently driven business results and brand equity.

How do you define bravery in advertising?

Some marketers feel bravery in advertising is defined by the boldness of the creative concept or execution. In my view, while the concept is certainly critical, bravery starts with a willingness to push beyond what is comfortable and expected of a brand. This bravery can help set a bold new direction by challenging norms and expectations and moving beyond the status quo. Inherent in this bravery is an understanding that there is risk involved, but we keep going and do what we believe is right.

Who are leaders that are inspiring you to be brave during this time?

I look to individuals like Ursula Burns, the first black woman to run a Fortune 500 company, who is using her credibility and respect as a corporate leader to highlight the need for greater diversity on corporate boards.

Can you name a brand that has received positive feedback from their bravery, recently?

One that comes to mind is Walmart and their recent Drive-In program. While most brands have avoided live experiences due to COVID-19, Walmart realized the potential in offering customers a much-needed night out with their families, and a way to bring communities together safely. Walmart’s vision of bringing moments of joy to people at scale was only possible because of their commitment to a bold concept and willingness to invest the time and effort needed to create these safe, socially distanced experiences in Walmart parking lots across the country.  

How can marketers and agencies better work together to create a positive impact?

Creating a positive impact starts with a clear and singular purpose. At the onset of a project, the marketer and agency must be specific when answering the question of what they want to accomplish. Are they looking to impact sales, highlight a social cause, or bring awareness to a product or service? Each of these goals requires a different approach and the path forward can get muddled easily when trying to accomplish more than one. This is especially true when trying to create a positive impact, as consumers can typically see through work that does not have this clarity of purpose.