Advertising can both reinforce and challenge norms and structures in society.

Advertising can both reinforce and challenge norms and structures in society.

Stockholm, Sweden.

The Amazing Society

Christina Knight

Christina Knight has been in the advertising industry for 36 years, first as a copywriter and for the past 17 years as Creative Director. She has worked at Draft FCB, Lowe Brindfors, Ogilvy, INGO and ANR BBDO as well as run her own agency, Knight & Day. She is currently at The Amazing Society but will resign in 2022 to run her own business; Mad Women Academy. Christina has won several international awards, both creative and for her leadership and is regarded as Sweden’s most active advocate for equity; diversity, inclusion and gender equality in advertising. She has written two books – “Mad Women – A Herstory of Advertising” and “Not Buying it”.

How important is advertising for a society?

Advertising plays an important role both for businesses and organizations who want and need to communicate their products, services or information, both for commercial reasons as well as in the interest of the general public. But as advertising is a highly visible ingredient in the public space and in social media, it also plays an important role in shaping and challenging norms and structures in society, simply because it influences who is to be represented and how.

Can advertising be a change agent?

Absolutely, for precisely the reason that advertising can both reinforce and challenge norms and structures in society. That is why both our clients’ briefs and the strategic and the creative work at agencies come with a huge responsibility. What messages do we send? What ideals, norms and structures do we either choose to reinforce or challenge, as we choose who is represented and how.

What lessons did the “Swan Your Life” campaign, with which you won Gold at the Luum Awards, leave you?

That sustainability and environmental issues are often surrounded by guilt and shame, and the only way to get through to people and change habits and their behavior is by being human and humorous. We managed precisely this with one of Sweden’s funniest and most popular influencers, Brita Zackari, who brought the right tonality to the message and who made sure to communicate that every sustainable action, small or big, counts. That way the barriers for the consumer was lower and choosing to lead a sustainable life/’to swan’ was something enjoyable to be proud of, instead of feeling insufficient and guilty.

Why do you think people want a sustainable world, but are reluctant to be part of the change?

By now, people have knowledge of how badly our planet has suffered from our un-sustainable behaviors, so there is no excuse not to pay attention. Also, research shows people WANT to lead sustainable lives, they just don’t know how to and that is why it is important to be inspiring and instructive with reasonable advice and ideas on how to be more sustainable. There is also a fear of doing something wrong and therefore people refrain from doing anything at all. If we can inform more people of how easy it is, and what a huge difference it makes, more people will start ‘to swan’.

What makes The Amazing Society different from other digital agencies?

Our vison is ‘Social First’ which has a double meaning; we strive to fulfil the United Nations’ 17 SDG:s both in our own organisation and in the work we do for our clients, to take as much social responsibility  as we possibly can. But we are also social first in the sense that our agency was founded as a social media agency, specialising in creating content for and buying media in social. Today, the offering is broader, including both strategy and creative, conceptual work for all media channels as well as media buying. In other words, we are a full-service agency and cutting-edge in social.

How do you build a brief to generate better results?

If you mean the brief we ask the clients to give us, it has to be distinct with one main message, target group, and a defined budget as well as KPI:s so that we can measure the results.

If you mean the creative brief, this has to give the creatives the ability to focus only on the HOW – the WHY and WHAT has to be managed in advance by the strategic team and Creative Director, so that the creatives don’t waste time and energy on the wrong issues. We also need to brief the creatives with insights into the product, service, category and competition and above all, on what the drivers and barriers are of the main target group.

Is it difficult to adapt the strategic philosophy of an agency to the volatility of today’s consumer?

It’s demanding because we live in such an ever-changing and rapidly changing world with new challenges as well as new opportunities every day. But for me that is also precisely the joy of working with advertising and communication; to have our ears to the ground to pick up what is happening and how it influences how people feel, what they want and what we would like them to think and do. You have to genuinely love humankind and be intrigued by people’s driving forces as well as their fears to be in this business successfully.

You have decided to leave The Amazing Society in January next year – tell us briefly about your new adventure!

That’s right. I have founded and will be launching Mad Women Academy to build online training for the ad industry. I have always loved teaching and learning and as my mission in the ad industry is to obtain equity; inclusion, diversity and gender equality, this is my contribution to make change happen for real. I have been joined by excellent people from 7 countries with great experience within this field and I’m really looking forward to the launch.