Transparency, Purpose, and the Empowered Consumer: A New Paradigm for Advertising

Mar 23, 2015 9:00 AM ET

In the past several years, the advertising industry has undergone dramatic changes that have created an array of challenges and opportunities:

  • The use of “big data” to target consumers has raised government and consumer concerns about the collection and use of personal information.
  • The rise of “native advertising,” in which ads appear as content, has triggered questions about whether consumers are being misled.
  • Digital advances have given brands direct connections to their consumers, with the power to gain insights and build loyalty.
  • New advertising approaches appealing to consumers’ core values have given brands an opportunity to engage consumers on a deeper level.
  • Advertisers using their creative power to share messages related to social, environmental, and cultural issues have built strong brands and are having a positive influence on the world around us.

In context of these developments BSR and Participant Media embarked on research to explore how the major trends in advertising intersect with ideas related to corporate social responsibility.

Our new paper, launched today, focuses on one central question: Can the advertising industry use principles rooted in CSR to engage consumers, build trust, and secure long-term brand loyalty in today’s volatile media landscape?

Our conclusion is that there can be a powerful relationship between corporate responsibility and effective advertising. This paper outlines three opportunities for advertisers to embrace corporate responsibility and secure business benefits by enhancing transparency, empowering audiences, and taking a purpose-based approach.

Read the BSR/Participant Media report "Transparency, Purpose, and the Empowered Consumer: A New Paradigm for Advertising."


About BSR​

BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

About Particpant Media

Participant ( is a global entertainment company founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll to focus on feature film, television, publishing, and digital content that inspires social change. Participant's more than 60 films uniquely launch campaigns that bring together government entities, foundations, schools, and others to raise awareness and drive people to take action on issues from each film or television show. Pivot (, the company’s television network, is available in 47 million homes, with a diverse slate of talent and a mix of original series, acquired programming, films, and documentaries. Participant’s digital network, TakePart (, is a leading source of socially relevant news, opinion, entertainment, and information about ways to get involved with the issues that shape our lives. Through its films, social action campaigns, digital network, and its television network, Participant seeks to entertain, encourage, and empower every individual to take action.