Technology, it’s often said, is making the world smaller. The digital dam-burst of recent years means any knowledge is merely a click or voice-command away, and at the same time, social media has built bridges that make new connections across both countries and cultures instant and effortless.
Although technology has had transformative impact on the world, the seven billion people who call Planet Earth home still live under the shadow of global challenges like poverty, inequality, and climate change. These issues may seem insurmountable, but in reality, humanity has never had a stronger hand to play. After all, if technology can make the world smaller, it can also make the world better.
In that spirit, Google is joining with its agency partners in the Common Ground Initiative’s “Little by Little” campaign in support of the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
First announced in 2016 at the Lions Festival of Creativity in Cannes, Common Ground is a partnership between the globe’s six largest communications agencies: Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, and WPP. Advertising’s “Big Six” aim to empower Generation Z—the world’s youngest and largest generation, at nearly two-billion strong—to build a more sustainable and inclusive future through a series of small actions. The alliance hopes to inspire two billion acts of good by 2030, and members of Gen Z are invited to share their contributions to the effort on social media with the hashtag #littlexlittle.
“The timing is right for this type of innovation,” said then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when introducing the program. “The communications industry is famous for its creativity and energy. The United Nations fully supports channeling this dynamism towards answering the greatest challenges facing our planet and humanity.”
Google is excited to support our agency partners and empower Gen Z via the Common Ground Initiative. Gen Z has the potential to address these challenges at a scale never before imagined; to help them, we’re leveraging the cultural power of the YouTube platform to serve as a megaphone and generate positive social change.
Thanks to FameBit By YouTube—our in-house branded content arm—we were able to identify and select 20 global influencers, including Gemma Stafford and Marissa Rachel, who agreed to participate and create videos to promote the launch of #littlexlittle. We’ve already used FameBit to great effect in our work with brands and advertising agencies. It’s designed to operationalize and scale branded content across the entire YouTube ecosystem with the goal of creating better matches between brands and creators. FameBit accomplishes these connections by using Google and YouTube data to look at audience behaviors and interests on YouTube combined with creator programming and passions.
Recently, for example, we deployed FameBit by YouTube to promote Kelly Clarkson’s new role as a judge on NBC’s The Voice. As part of the campaign, we tapped 40 YouTube musicians to perform a cover of her hit single, “Medicine,” and used FameBit to identify strong user matches for that content. This is a great example of our tremendous reach, scale, and commitment to branded content in the voice of a creator’s channel, with NBC embracing and investing in a creator’s ability to speak authentically to their audiences by doing what they love—in this case, music covers.
Furthermore, the participatory model of FameBit by YouTube was perfect for this initiative because it gave creators the opportunity to send their ideas on how to bring these very important world issues to life. The FameBit marketplace, combined with YouTube’s direct relationship with creators, allowed us to identify creators of all sizes, not solely focusing on their reach and subscribers, but focusing on what they stand for and their passion on these issues.
Staring down the world’s biggest problems is certainly intimidating, and the sheer size of them can evoke apathetic suspicion that they might not ever be resolved. But, as cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
With those words in mind, those of us at Google—and at the UN and our partners at the Big Six agencies—can’t wait to watch what happens when the largest generation in human history takes on the world’s greatest issues little by little.