According to new Good Life 2030 Ireland research, 77% of Irish citizens believe that ‘the advertising industry should help people lead healthy, sustainable lives’. However 45% of Irish people agree that ‘the world would be better off without advertising (in its current form).’ One in three (32%) ‘neither agree or disagree’ and 23% ‘disagree’ with this statement. 

This is data from a new report issued today by Good Life 2030 Ireland. This report is the first ‘citizen vision report’ designed to uncover insights into what Irish people believe a ‘good life’ looks like for them in the year 2030 and the role of advertising in supporting this. This in-depth, nationally representative piece of qualitative and quantitative research invited citizens of Ireland to describe their values and articulate their vision for a ‘good life.’

The project looks to 2030, a critical milestone for halving carbon emissions that Ireland is currently not on track to meet*. Whilst there is widespread awareness and concern about climate change, to many people, the changes required can seem like compromises that negatively impact people’s lifestyles.

It sets out to explore what citizens really want from their lives; and reveals a new opportunity for the marketing and advertising industry:

The role of the Advertising Industry in creating the image of ‘a good life’

The Good Life 2030 Ireland project, funded by Creative Ireland as part of the Creative Climate Action Fund, is created by Purpose Disruptors (an organisation founded by ex marketing, media and advertising industry leaders, on a mission to catalyse the advertising industry’s climate transition) and THINKHOUSE (a B Corp certified, full-service, digital-first marketing company for progressive brands that care about people and the planet).

The modern advertising industry has played a key role in driving an emphasis on a “good life” of more – stuff, status & wealth. Through Advertised Emissions**, Purpose Disruptors has demonstrated that the industry has, so far, ‘taken the world in the opposite direction of where it needs to go.’ It is actively encouraging the industry to transform in service of a thriving future and this project is part of this work.

The research shows that citizens are divided on their view of advertising and its influence:

  • Many shared negative feelings toward the industry, as 45% of Irish people agree that ‘the world would be better off without advertising in its current form’, and 42% say that ‘the advertising industry promotes an image of life that is harmful for people in Ireland’. 39% of people were unsure, neither agreeing or disagreeing with the statement. The remaining 19% disagreed.
  • When thinking about the industry’s influence on a ‘good life’, 45% of citizens disagree with the statement ‘the advertising industry promotes an image of life that is in line with what I want for myself.’  32% of people neither agree nor disagree and 23% agree with the statement.

This tells us that nearly half of the population feel that the work of the advertising industry is misaligned with what they want for themselves. However one quarter (26%) say that the ‘adverts DO influence’ their idea of a good life.

  • However an overwhelming majority of citizens, 77% agree that ‘the advertising industry should help people lead healthy, sustainable lives’. 19% of people neither agree nor disagree and just 3% disagree.

It’s clear that people believe that there is a responsibility for the industry to play its role to facilitate the necessary culture, behaviour and system change needed to halve carbon emissions by 2030. This project aims to bring the advertising industry closer to citizen’s real needs, to create a new narrative, informed by real everyday people, that improves human and planetary wellbeing for all.

Good Life 2030 Ireland Citizen Visions 

The research demonstrates that, when articulating their vision for the future, nothing matters more to the people of Ireland than ‘feeling connected.’ Within this overarching theme, there are three consistent and distinct threads: a desire for more connection to others, nature and themselves.

  • OTHERS: 55% percent of adults feel the greatest sense of well-being and contentment when spending quality time with ‘people I care about’.

The qualitative interviews supported this, showing that in 2030 citizens dream of being more connected to others: to build more connected communities, strengthen cultural cohesion and enhance the well-being of those around them.

  • NATURE: Two in 5 adults (37%) feel the greatest sense of well-being and contentment when they are being ‘active, fit and healthy.’ Citizens see a direct relationship between their own health and the health of the natural environment. While a further one in four (26%)  feel best when ‘I am outdoors enjoying nature’.

The qualitative interviews further explored citizen’s visions for 2030 in this area. Respondents want to be more deeply connected to nature; to see nature flourish; to help protect and conserve the natural world and to be more embedded in the outdoors.

  • SELF: One in three Irish citizens (29%) report feeling the greatest sense of well-being and contentment when they’re ‘taking time for myself.’
    The qualitative interviews supported this with citizens articulating how, by 2030, they would like to be more connected to themselves; to move away from hustle culture and embrace a slower pace of life, with less precarity and greater opportunities for self-sufficiency.

Notably, the visions shared reflect low-carbon lifestyles that are not reliant on more material possessions or expensive trips. Citizens were least likely to say that their greatest sense of wellbeing or contentment came from ‘being spontaneous’ (5%), ‘busy all the time’ (5%) and ‘working and developing my career’ (6%).

This research builds upon a growing body of citizen reports produced by Purpose Disruptors, which demonstrate what UK Citizens dream of in the future. The nuances between the two countries are highlighted in the full report.

Ireland’s Advertising industry believes it can do better 

Encouragingly, Ireland’s advertising and marketing industry displays high levels of self awareness. Recent industry research*** conducted by IAPI (Institute of Advertising Practitioners of Ireland), in support of the Good Life 2030 Ireland project, reveals an industry that recognises its potential and believes it can ‘do better.’

  • 57% of Ireland’s advertising industry, don’t believe that the industry ‘is currently doing all it can to create a sustainable world,’ with just 18% of the industry believing that they are ‘doing all they can’. The remaining 24% ‘don’t know.’
  • 90% of the industry recognises that Ireland’s advertising industry ‘has an important role in changing consumer behaviours.’

Laura Costello, Head of Sustainability & Planet Services at THINKHOUSE and Ireland Lead for Purpose Disruptors, said: “The question ‘what is a good life?’ has preoccupied humans across time. As an industry our collective answer to this question has leaned in one direction for long enough. It’s time for our industry to realise its true potential – to shift our focus in service of a thriving future. As architects of desire, the advertising industry shapes our cultural understanding of a life worth wanting. Science states we need to halve emissions by 2030.  But 2030 has an image problem. People aren’t emotionally connecting to the future we need to create. The invitation now is for those in the marketing, advertising and media industry to embrace our unique expertise and our responsibility to rethink what’s being sold and imagine a new ‘good life’ story that serves all living systems. A 2030 Good Life is ours to create.”

Charley Stoney, CEO of I.A.P.I. (Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland) said; “I agree. Who better to shape a new image for 2030 than Ireland’s advertising and marketing industry? Supporting Initiatives like this, and Ad Net Zero, are an important part of our industry’s response to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and Ireland’s Digital Creative Industries Roadmap – ensuring our industry is front and centre of Ireland’s transition to a sustainable economy. We must harness the superpower of the ad industry, generating a desire for ways of living and working that supports a good life for everyone.”

An invitation to imagine better, Good Life 2030 Ireland  Good Life 2030 Ireland is a project designed to enable those in the creative industry to change society by generating desire for new visions of a thriving future and helping people rethink their lifestyles for a 1.5 degree world.

The Good Life 2030 Ireland Citizen Vision report is just the beginning of the project. The next phase of the campaign will see people working across the marketing, advertising and media industry in Ireland create a nationwide campaign in response to the citizens’ visions.

Purpose Disruptors & THINKHOUSE are inviting the weight of the Irish marketing, advertising and media industry behind a coordinated response to the invitation these citizen visions offer. Anyone working in the marketing, advertising and media industry in Ireland is invited to be involved, email: [email protected] with the subject line ‘Good Life 2030 Ireland.’

Join the Good Life 2030 Ireland webinar on May 16th at 12pm to find out more about the project and these report findings. Register here:

Follow the Good Life 2030 Ireland project @goodlife2030ireland on Instagram where you can listen to audio clips of citizen visions.

Download the full report here: