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Meet Stefania Poletti of Kindvertising in South Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stefania Poletti.

Stefania, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I migrated to the US 12 years ago with the sole purpose of realizing my lifelong dream of working in advertising. After obtaining my master’s degree in Boston, I started working at a local marketing tech startup. I was among the first ten employees when I joined, and there were over 250 when I left five years later. This staggering growth allowed me to learn a lot very quickly; it pushed me to wear several hats and I was able to closely witness the many aspects of growing a business.

A few years into my career, however, I became disillusioned. I was working with a lot of exciting Fortune 500 companies and promoting their products, while simultaneously and painfully becoming aware of some of their cruel practices through my growing involvement with the vegan community and PETA’s Action Team. I would spend my weekends protesting everything I was working on during the week.

I could no longer live with such extreme cognitive dissonance, and I realized the most impactful thing I could do was fight back from the inside. I decided I would use everything I had learned about advertising and marketing – all the latest technology, strategies, and resources – to serve compassionate causes. Kindvertising came to life as a means for ethical companies and organizations to access the very same high-end marketing techniques that big ad agencies use to successfully launch brands and new ideas into the world, without experiencing the same cognitive dissonance I was. By working with us, our clients invest in a group of people that actively supports and believes in their cause.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road and I had to face many unknowns. I invested all my savings into the business and had never started one before; I bet everything I had on myself. I had to overcome two surgeries, heartbreak, challenging family dynamics, losing clients, almost losing the business, and numerous difficult personal and business decisions. And of course, the global pandemic we are all in right now.

Please tell us about Kindvertising.
Kindvertising is a compassion-driven advertising agency dedicated to promoting social good. What sets us apart from other agencies is our motto: “Do good, not do-goodery.” We don’t work with brands that use social good as a one-time PR stunt. Kindvertising works exclusively with organizations and enterprises that consistently make the world a better, healthier, and kinder place.

We largely focus on animal protection, so we work with many animal-loving nonprofits and companies like Cruelty-Free International, Sophie’s Kitchen, v-dog, and the Nonhuman Rights Project. As a result, we’ve gained invaluable experience and expertise in causes like animal welfare, wildlife preservation, environment protection, and social rights.

Our clients deeply value our integrity and authenticity. Through all the ups and downs, we have never compromised our core values. We had turned business down when we needed it because it didn’t align with our mission. It may sound nuts, but our unwavering beliefs are our strongest asset now, and the very reason clients choose to work with us. Typically, when it comes to non-profits or animal-activist-based work, traditional agencies often lead these companies to feel as though they are a ‘charity case’ or a ‘side project.’ To us, they are always a priority. We believe in what they stand for and know how important their cause is.

What were you like growing up?
I was very lucky, growing up. My life was full of joy and comforts. I know this is a privilege, and I try to show gratitude every day by living the best life I can. My love for advertising goes back to my childhood. I absolutely loved commercial beaks and had dozens of TV ads and jingles memorized. There was something about the world of advertising that fascinated me from an early age. Since I can remember, I have wanted to be part of that world. Of course, my journey was not without uncertainty. Many along the way, doubted my decision. Some argued that advertising is inherently evil and bad for society.

An art professor in college once asked me what I wanted to pursue as a career. I told him, “advertising.” Without missing a beat, he replied: “No. You are too nice to work in advertising.” I like to think that Kindvertising is not only proof that advertising can be used for good, but also that compassion is a strength, not a weakness.

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