Awards goals and criteria

The goal of the EthicMark® Awards is to foster a transformative shift in advertising and marketing by demonstrating the power of marketing and media campaigns to simultaneously further the public interest and legitimate private interests.

The Awards recognize socially responsible advertising and media communications by businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. There are two categories of Awards: for-profit and nonprofit.

In voting on the winning nominations in both the for-profit and nonprofit categories, the Judges Panel looks for ads and media communications that:

  • Uplift the human spirit and society
  • Portray and reinforce healthy lifestyles and behavior that enhance personal development, community life, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship, sustainable development, human rights, and sound labor practices
  • Reflect the highest standards of honesty, integrity, responsibility, accountability, trustworthiness, transparency, fairness, and balance
  • Respect the diversity of cultural and religious values
  • Respect consumers as human beings rather than attempt to exploit them by using greenwashing, exaggeration, subliminal messages, brain science, MRIs, or endocrinology as tools to manipulate them for marketing purposes
  • Avoid advertising, particularly to young people or minors, in a way that promotes risky or salacious behavior, undermines parental responsibility, or encourages self-destructive or socially irresponsible behavior
  • Avoid exploitation of violence, cruelty to humans or animals, sensationalism, and degrading and pathological portrayals
  • Avoid advertising that encourages or condones discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, or other stereotypes

Nominations in the for-profit category:

  • We encourage marketing, advertising, and public relations professionals to achieve their highest visions of ads and media communications that demonstrate:

◦ The importance of ethics in well-functioning markets in democratic societies

◦ The extent to which commercial messages and marketing can simultaneously promote what is good for business and what is good for society and the planet

◦ The truth that businesses can do well by doing good, and that most businesses that pay attention to the triple bottom line—profits, people, and the planet—prosper more than those that narrowly focus only on profit.

  • We particularly welcome nominations for ads produced by companies that:

◦ Rank among the investments that qualify for the portfolios of major socially-responsible institutional investors (such as pension and mutual funds, endowments, and foundations) that are signatories of the UN Principles of Responsible Investing or,

◦ Are included in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and other ethical indices that use environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria for asset valuation, such as Calvin, KSG, Domini, FTSE4 Good, and Sustainable Business 50.

  • Nominations are open to communications in any media. When the nomination consists of a stand-alone video or a multi-media campaign that includes a video (e.g., video, website, and twitter), no video included as part of the nominated media campaign may be more than five minutes in length.

Nominations in the nonprofit category:  

The nonprofit category recognizes nonprofit organizations’ social advertising and marketing for social causes, including efforts to educate the public about significant social issues in an effort to change the public’s attitudes and behaviors and stimulate positive social change.

  • Nominations are open to communications in any media. When the nomination consists of a stand-alone video, or multi-media campaign that includes a video (e.g., video, website, and twitter), no video included as part of the nominated media campaign may be more than five minutes in length.

 

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