CSR done right (2/3) – goodvertising


Last week I wrote about the importance of shifting perspectives when trying to give a positive contribution to society. One of the many areas you can look at from a different angle is waste. Entrepreneurs and companies who manage to view waste as a resource can create win-win scenarios, where both society and the company benefit.

Doing good while growing your company and making a profit is not only a satisfying way of doing business, it’s also great publicity. Intermarché did not just reduce food waste when they launched ‘Les fruits & légumes moches’, they also got loads of free publicity.

People like good news. And people like companies who take responsibility. So why not take this into account when spending your marketing budget? It’s what we call goodvertising. The wonderful act of advertising your products and services, while doing good. Forget about annoying commercials and obtrusive billboards. Use your creativity and advertise intelligently.

To maximise the impact of your campaign, make sure you stay close to your brand. You want to make it easy for consumers to make the connection. And doesn’t it make sense to use your specialist knowledge to make the difference?

Let me illustrate this with some delightful examples.

Turning the Tide

When Hurricane Katrina hit the coast of New Orleans in 2005, the results were absolutely disastrous. The hurricane left many casualties and billions of dollars in damage behind. Most of the city was flooded and many thousands fled their homes. Tide, a laundry detergent brand decided to lend a helping hand. They send in their Tide truck (which they themselves call “a laundromat on wheels”) and provided free laundry service for the people in need. Obviously, the hurricane victims had many other things to worry about, but at least they no longer had to walk around in dirty clothes. Insignificant as the small act may seem in the light of events, it generally means a lot to people to be able to wear clean clothes again. Or, as it says on the brand’s website: “sometimes even the littlest things can make a big, big difference.” Tide has been running the ‘Loads of hope’ campaign for almost ten years now and has provided ‘disaster relief’ to 31 cities, washing tens of thousands of loads.

‘Loads of hope’ is a great example of goodvertising. Tide helps the people who are having a tough time, with actions that make perfect sense for a laundry detergent brand. The brand manages to help people in need while simultaneously building a positive reputation that will stick. I’d say this is a marketing budget well spent!

Snoring under cardboard boxes

Of course, an act of goodvertising doesn’t have to be as grandiose as this big detergent brand’s disaster relief. Small companies can use their strengths to tackle certain social issues too. What to think of SNURK, a Dutch bedding brand that wanted to do something for homeless youngsters. SNURK-founders Peggy and Erik designed a clever duvet cover with a photo-print of an unfolded cardboard box and a matching fitted sheet with the photo-print of pavement. A large part of the proceeds goes to The Foundation for Homeless Youngsters in the Netherlands and the German foundation Off Road Kids. People can now ‘sleep on the street’ comfortably, knowing they have helped a homeless youngster to get off the streets.

Snurk cardboard box duvet cover

Getting drunkards home safely

Always keep your eyes open for the problems and challenges that society faces. Are there any issues that are related to your brand? Or, and this is a more confronting question, are there social problems that in one way or another are caused by your products?

Antarctica, a major Brazilian beer brand, was not afraid to address an issue that was related to their core business. Brazilians like a good party and they LOVE their Carnival. Happy days for Antarctica. Literally. Unfortunately, the countless litres of sold beer have one nasty side effect: too many cheerful party people exchange the satisfying grip on their beer cans, for a loose grip on the steering wheel. Intoxicated carnival-goers might be the light of the party when walking in a ‘Bloco’, they’re a lot less amusing when they’re trying to drive home…

Instead of ignoring this unpleasant side effect, Antarctica decided to step up. A creative campaign managed to cleverly advertise the drinking of some cold beers, while at the same time reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road. How they did it? With the ingenious Beer Turnstile:

What problems can you tackle with your specialist knowledge? Do you have a product or service that can solve social issues? Or can you make possible disadvantages of your work disappear in a playful way? Perhaps it’s time for some meaningful marketing. Society is ready to thank you…

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Flickr Creative Commons Image via gothopotam.

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