Our current digital environment is arguably more about attention than information. We have more information than we know what to do with and we can access it nearly all the time. What we consume is less dependent on what’s available and driven largely by what can win and hold our consideration. Such was the focus of, “Entertain to Sustain: Where Entertainment & Social Good Meet,” a panel co-hosted by the Ad Council and our social/digital agency Situation Interactive, on Wednesday, November 14th.

In a conversation moderated by Katie Deighton, Laura Matalon, Owen Baker, Sheri Klein and Tom Lorenzo discussed the blurring line between advertising and entertainment, the role of entertainment in championing social good causes and the balance of promoting social good work. Catch a couple key takeaways below.



  • Laura Matalon – Chief Marketing Officer – Hamilton: An American Musical
  • Owen Baker – VP, Client Services – FOX Networks Group
  • Sheri Klein – VP, Campaign Development – Ad Council
  • Tom Lorenzo – VP, Creative – Situation Interactive

1. The Medium Doesn’t Matter, Storytelling Does

When asked about the entertainment industry’s role in tackling social good, all four of the panelists emphasized that great storytelling always wins. Each agreed that effective social good marketing isn’t reliant on a particular medium but common among all memorable campaigns is strong storytelling.

Own Baker (Fox) shared that, “Great storytelling commands attention and resonates with people at a gut level,” a key component to getting a consumer to care about an issue. Whether you reach consumers through a television commercial, a printed story, a movie or out-of-home advertising a brand’s ability to tell a compelling narrative will make or break a campaign.

Sheri Klein (Ad Council) echoed this sentiment in saying that the Ad Council’s model of advertising for social good hasn’t changed but the ways we reach audiences has. Take for instance, the Love Has No Labels campaignwhich recently launched the Ad Council’s first original, short film.

2. Authenticity Wins Every Time

We’ve reached a point where social good work is no longer an optional extracurricular for brands but a requirement. In fact, 88% of consumers believe that companies have the power to influence societal change. Aside from delivering quality products/services, brands are now expected to take a stance on social and environmental issues. An expectation that has resulted in very public successes and missteps.

Laura Matalon shared that Hamilton is selective about the causes it chooses to associate with and only chooses ones that align with its brand. The musical centers on American history and thus champions issues relevant to Americans, such as voter participation.

Situation’s Tom Lorenzo shared that, “Beyond supporting causes, it’s about supporting ideas,” meaning that brands that come across as authentic in progressing social good efforts aren’t doing so on an ad hoc basis. To make a strong impact and impression, brands should then focus on bigger ideas like messages of empowerment and equality that transcend any particular cultural moment.

Food for Thought

To close out the panel our speakers were asked, “If money were no object and you could solve one issue at your company or in your industry at the snap of your fingers, what cause would you champion?” Sheri Klein (Ad Council) chose industry wide diversity. Owen Baker (Fox) picked elevating women. Tom Lorenzo (Situtation Interactive) said social good as something not added in, but as a core part of every company. Laura Matalon (Hamilton) shared with a chuckle, “Have Lin-Manuel Miranda run for public office.”


Sourced from AdLibbing