Opinion Sex doesn’t sell any more, activism does. And don’t the big brands know it

From Starbucks supporting refugees to Kenco taking on gangs, big businesses are falling over themselves to do good – and to let us know about i‘In the UK, people drink Kenco because it’s training young men in Honduras to be coffee farmers instead of gang members.’

Three days ago I hadn’t heard of Lyft. Not until I was greeted on Monday morning by a right-on colleague demanding to know if I’d deleted my Uber app and replaced it with Lyft. On Saturday #deleteuber had been trending after many believed it had undermined a taxi strike at New York’s JFK airport protesting against Donald Trump’s immigration ban. By Sunday, with swift marketing prowess, Lyft’s CEO Logan Green tweeted that the company was donating $1m to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Which led to Lyft’s downloads surpassing Ubers for the first time ever. They used to say sex sells; now, evidently, it’s activism.

wrote an open letter to stafftweeted that it was providing free accommodationcreated a $3m fund to help drivers affected by the “wrong and unjust” ban


Companies are now attempting to outdo each other with major acts of generosity, but there’s a catch; they’ll do good as long as they can make sure their customers know about it. There is no room for humility when a brand does a good deed. They’re always Larry David and never the anonymous donor.


It’s difficult to separate the fact that while these brands are showcasing pedigree social responsibility, ultimately they are helping refugees because it sells milky lattes and cheap holiday accommodation. They can see that allocating their marketing budget to good causes has a better reach than spending that money elsewhere right now.

World Economic Forum in Davos talking about Larry Fink letter to CEOs - Business Insider

Everyone at Davos is talking about 'Larry's letter'

Larry Fink, the founder of the $6.3 trillion asset manager BlackRock, sent a letter to CEOs everywhere on January 16.

They are in stark contrast to those who publish punctuated purpose statements - an expression of what the company does, followed by a preposition on how they do it. This we might call ‘lazy purpose’. The car company that wants to ‘make driving smooth, safe and support families’ has questions to ask about whether it has a ‘purpose’ beyond a marketing slogan to sell more cars.


Stella McCartney’s Clothing Will Be Made From Recycled Ocean Pollution | Observer

Designer Stella McCartney seems to have taken the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to heart. Starting this summer, she will begin incorporating plastic debris found in the ocean, including fishing nets and bottles, into her designs. McCartney won’t have her employees hitting the high seas in search of garbage; she is partnering with Parley for the Oceans, an organization that makes Ocean Fabric, a yarn fiber from those aforementioned items that are polluting the seas.


Jigsaw's Love Immigration wins Marketing Week's campaign of the year

Jigsaw’s ‘Love Immigration’ wins Marketing Week readers’ campaign of the year

Jigsaw’s latest ad has been crowned ‘campaign of the year’ in Marketing Week’s competition of 2017’s best marketing activity.

‘Love Immigration’ was a bold move from the fashion retailer considering how divisive the issue of immigration remains in a post-Brexit Britain as well as the high-profile failure of similar ‘woke’ campaigns such as Pepsi’s disastrous Kendall Jenner ad. However, speaking to Marketing Week back in October, Jigsaw’s group head of marketing Alex Kelly said it was a risk worth taking.

“There’s no question that immigration is a controversial issue in British politics right now but if you risk making people potentially disagree with you then I think it’s worth it as that still creates a powerful emotional engagement, so long as you have a right to talk to them in that environment,” he explained.

“We looked at the fashion industry and realised no one talks about the benefits of immigration or the debt we all owe to it. One of our products could have Mongolian wool, Turkish satin, Chinese silk and Italian buttons so we can really back up this message.”

The campaign included a full takeover of Oxford Circus tube station in London and The Times website, as well as print, social and digital activity. To support ‘Love Immigration’, Jigsaw also teamed up with Ancestory.co.uk for staff genealogy tests in order to show the diversity of the fashion industry and celebrate the fact there are 45 different nationalities working within the Jigsaw business.



Replace Marketing With Purpose And Meaning

Replace Marketing With Purpose And Meaning

by Scott Ewings . Managing Director . Big Radical June 1, 2017

Founder starts a company with purpose, company gets large, purpose gets diluted or isn’t taken care of. Young, digital-savvy consumers are a tricky combination of caring more about the world than ever, while being more fickle than ever. “Meaningful brands,” which contribute to consumer wellbeing and quality of life, outperform the stock market by 206%.

Is it finally time to kill off marketing after all these years? It might well be, since brands that actually have real purpose and meaning are already winning, and threatening to overturn the stereotypical storytelling style of marketing embodied by Don Draper in “Mad Men.”

Marketing and branding have always been built on the selling of dreams—the association of a product with a customer’s hopes and aspirations. But selling dreams has disguised some rather unpalatable nightmares in our recent history. Lest we forget Camel cigarettes telling us that “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette,” or Lucky Strike explaining that its cigarettes are toasted to remove “dangerous irritants that cause throat irritation and coughing.” Yes, we might not be that bad now, but something similar is still happening today.

Nike Spends Billions On Marketing, But Millennials Still Like Toms MorE

Nike Spends Billions On Marketing, But Millennials Still Like Toms More What does it mean for businesses that a survey found young people feel more affinity with the small, one-for-one company than a corporate giant with as much visibility as Nike?

The 6 Pitfalls Of Purpose Marketing

“Purpose-driven marketing is great when it works,” said Theresa Forman, vice president of strategic services at marketing agency McMillian, in an interview with CMO.com. “But the risks are that it’s not always effective and, as a result, may harm your brand—or at least not get the intended results you are looking for.”

The bigger risk, however, may lie in doing nothing at all.

“We’re in a very disruptive and highly competitive environment, with limited growth in some areas and decreases in others,” Larson told CMO.com. CMOs and others tasked with driving revenue can reap significant benefits from well-thought-out and executed programs that highlight social or environmental efforts.

“The good news is that purpose drives profit,” Joines said. Seven out of 10 Millennials (and 66% of consumers overall) will pay more for a product they believe makes a social impact, according to the Cone Communications study. And employees who work at mission-focused organizations they believe in can be more loyal and productive.



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Brands with Purpose: 3 Campaigns Tackling Social Good Issues in 2017

Brands have made doing good a part of their mission and we’re loving every minute of it. Whether it’s giving the world access to clean water, raising awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease, or encouraging more girls to pursue STEM careers, these companies are committed to doing good.

Shazaam Forgets, to Raise Awareness for Alzheimer’s

Ever heard of an app changing its functionality to raise awareness for a worthy cause? Yeah, I hadn’t either, until I came across Alzheimer’s Research UK’s partnership with Shazaam. When users activated the app, they received messages like those expressed by people with Alzheimer’s such as “Is it umm…” and “This one rings a bell…”. Once Shazaam identified their song, a banner appeared to encourage users to donate to Alzheimer’s research. The campaign reached 2,018,206 impressions in just a matter of hours and Alzheimer’s Research UK received 5,096 visitors to their donation page. Alzheimer’s Research UK in partnership with Shazaam educated a new audience about the serious effects of Alzheimer’s.

Microsoft Hashtags to Encourage Girls in STEM

#MakeWhat’sNext, which launched in March, is Microsoft’s social media initiative to encourage girls to stay interested in STEM. The series of ads centers around teenage girls that have an interest in STEM and want to change the world. After being inspired by the latest advances in their areas of interest, the girls are then told they will most likely never reach their goal because only 6.7 percent of women graduate with STEM degrees. The campaign came full circle with an interactive hashtag, Career Explorer tool and a joint workshop with Microsoft and National Geographic.

Buy a Chalice, Give Clean Water


We don’t automatically think of beer companies when we think of social good initiatives, but Stella Artois, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, aimed to change that. For the last three years, Stella Artois has partnered with Water.org on a mission to bring clean water to the 663 million people in the world without it. With the sale of over 225,000 chalices to date, they have given over 800,000 people access to five years of clean water in developing countries. Clean water is something we all too easily take for granted, but personal stories and spokesman Matt Damon remind us that there are still people in the world without it.

Millennials Driving Brands To Practice Socially Responsible Marketing

In 2015, Nielson published its annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report. It indicated that, globally, 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Millennials gave an even more impressive showing, with 73% of surveyed millennials indicating a similar preference. Additionally, 81% of millennials even expect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship.


Simply put, people — millennials most of all — want the companies they buy from to practice business sustainably and ethically. And because advertising and marketing in the States appears to have reached a deafening roar in recent years, millennials also want companies to get serious about marketing in a socially responsible way.

Why More And More Companies Are Doing Social Good

When thinking about the legacy of Microsoft and its founder, Bill Gates, often the first thing that comes to mind is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: a multinational nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of everyday people. The foundation is a significant part of the brand’s image and mission, and contributes to Microsoft’s reputation as Apple’s kinder sibling.

Like the Gates Foundation, many companies are putting more resources into philanthropic work, and for good reason. Along with the warm feelings associated with altruism, business leaders contributing to the social good recognize that benefit philanthropy can provide for any company. Here are a few core benefits associated with having your company commit to social and community work.

It was the best year ever in Cannes for 'Goodvertising' campaigns and it was the worst year ever

Leaving Cannes, I feel even more schizophrenic than I did during my hard-working years in ad land.

On the one hand it’s been the best year ever in the festival’s history for advertising that does more than sell snake oil, call it 'Goodvertising' if you will (doing good for people & planet = doing good for brand & bottom line).

H&M converts plastic bag charges in to £1million cash for children - Unicef UK

H&M UK has raised a staggering £1million to help vulnerable children around the world by donating its customer plastic bag charges to Unicef UK.

Since the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in 2015, H&M has donated the money to Unicef UK’s Children’s Emergency Fund, which helps children caught up in life-threatening emergencies.

The £1million has helped Unicef provide life-saving services and support to children who need it most, whether they face conflict, malnutrition, disease, economic crises or natural disasters.

The risks and rewards of placing social purpose at a brand's core

A new breed of brands is entering the market with one thing in common – a very clear social purpose at their core from the outset. But when it comes to marketing, simply pulling on consumers’ heartstrings won’t cut it.

In 2017, the idea of exchanging money for a product and then just moving on feels outdated, with modern consumers equally expecting to have supported a measurable social cause with their hard earned cash.

In fact, major players such as Unilever are reshaping their entire business around this sentiment, with promising results. The FMCG giant’s latest figures show its ‘Sustainable Living’ brands, such as Ben & Jerry’s and Dove, grew 50% faster than the rest of the business in 2016. These brands now account for 60% of total sales growth, up from 46% in 2015.

And this growth looks to have inspired everybody from Tesco to M&S to shape new advertising campaigns around initiatives such as reducing food waste.

This sentiment is also filtering down to startups, with new brands eager to link their profits with a strong social purpose from the outset.

How marketers can put social purpose into practice - Marketing Week

Brands need to replace the outdated concept of CSR with a social purpose that is intrinsically linked to their core objectives

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is under the microscope like never before, as consumers are increasingly adept at seeing through insincere attempts by brands to appear to be doing good.


The top 100 companies for 'brand purpose' - Marketing Week

Companies that follow through on a ‘brand purpose’ to add meaning to products and services enable consumers to trust and connect on an emotional level, according to a new index that ranks the top 100 companies on this measure.


Purpose can be defined through a brand slogan, a commitment to sustainable living or schemes and projects that give back to local communities, but companies that come out on top do more than communicate purpose (see What is the brand index purpose?, bottom). They also see a benefit to their financial results and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

David Attenborough says world must act now on plastic after witnessing its impacts filming Blue Planet II | The Independent

'We’ve seen albatrosses come back with their belly full of food for their young. You think it’s going to be squid, but it’s plastic'