Advertising That Shakes Up The Status Quo With Silver Lining Agency

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For co-founder Jonny Clow, it was from the COVID lockdown clouds that the idea for Silver Lining Agency beamed through. 

Wielding creative and advertising expertise for good, Jonny set out to build a new kind of creative agency – as they say ‘the first Australian advertising agency to operate as a not-for-profit’, and one that does business in a way that tackles social problems and improves communities. Ads might get a bad wrap, but we’ll watch these ones anyday. 

Silver Lining only work their creative magic for not-for-profits, social enterprises and fellow B Corporations. Not only that, but as a not-for-profit themselves, the agency goes one step further in supporting their client’s efforts by re-directing profits back into pro-bono work, impactful initiatives, or as direct donations.

Not even two years in, Silver Lining’s positive impact is fast-growing with a portfolio of world-changing clients, including Bank Australia, Vision Australia, and Mental Health First Aid, just to name a few.

To celebrate their recent certification, we chatted to Silver Lining about their unique approach to profits, their ‘think local’ ethos, and their journey from serving B Corps to becoming one themselves.

Image: Silver Lining

Silver Lining has a pretty unique way of doing business. Tell us about what you do as an agency and how your model works?

Silver Lining is a not-for-profit creative agency dedicated to helping out B Corp businesses, charities, and social enterprise organisations who want to leave a positive impact on the world. Rather than aiming to make a profit, we aim to make a difference, with 100% of profits redirected into charity and social good.

Although we pay ourselves a modest wage, any profits are reinvested back into our clients as pro-bono resources, initiatives or as straight donations at the end of the financial year.

You work with a number of Certified B Corporations, what made you want to certify as a B Corp yourself?

It was a natural progression from our business plan, taking the decision to not only work solely with purpose-driven businesses but also operate as a not-for-profit.

Many of our clients and collaborators are also B Corps, so it was an absolute no-brainer for us to join a local and global community with shared values.

Image: Silver Lining

What makes Silver Lining unique as a business? Tell us some of the areas where you have the biggest impact, or some of the little changes you’ve made to make a difference.

Silver Lining Agency is one of the first Australian advertising agency to ‘operate’ as a not-for-profit. The idea was hatched out of the ashes of COVID, with a commitment to working with purpose-driven, ethical and inclusive businesses with shared values and goals. We’ve worked with several mental health and homeless charities, government funded bodies such as Vision Australia, and B Corps in the finance sector.

B Corps want to help transform our economy to one that is inclusive, sustainable, and regenerative. What business practice do you want to see become the norm?

Thinking local. We don’t offshore any of our services.

Thinking local and partnering with local creatives worked for us. In our earliest days, due to COVID restrictions, this was partly through necessity due to the 5km travel radius rule here in Melbourne.

But now it’s cemented into our business model. Local postcodes 3070 and 3066 are our hubs for talent, production, and are home to some of our clients too. Creating a mini circular work-economy of creatives is very rewarding, plus everyone is a walk or scooter ride away. How great is it to collaborate in person again?

Image: Silver Lining

Was there a B Corp that inspired you to certify, or one that you look to for inspiration?

Our client Bank Australia has been certified since 2020. To even comprehend the process for a bank to go through the B Impact Assessment, boggles the mind. Our hats’off to them for leading the charge on responsible, customer-driven policies and values. In addition, many of our agency partners are also B Corp certified. In particular, we’d love to shout out Alchemy One, who are a force for good in media and terrific people to work alongside.

Do you have any tips for aspiring B Corps about the certification process?

Be patient. Change takes time. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. If you are true to your mission, it will happen organically!

A big thank you to Silver Lining Agency for taking the time to share its journey with us. To find out more and explore their range of products, visit:

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