3 Amazing Campaigns That Prove Social Good Is Vital To Future Brand Success

Coca-Cola, Nivea and the U.S. Navy have used social good to cre­ate mem­o­rable expe­ri­ences.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

It’s no longer ade­quate for mar­keters to sim­ply put forth their most cre­ative ideas. Instead, in order to forge mean­ing­ful bonds with con­sumers of the future, mar­keters must also pro­duce cam­paigns that com­bine tech­nol­o­gy with a slew of touch­points and an ele­ment of social good. That’s because these so-called “big idea” cam­paigns are the ones that are tru­ly mem­o­rable and make rela­tion­ships with con­sumers stick.

It’s yet anoth­er change, but the strength of the mar­ket­ing indus­try is in its abil­i­ty to adapt as the mar­ket­place changes. For decades, naysay­ers have pre­dict­ed the down­fall of the adver­tis­ing indus­try, point­ing to bro­ken mod­els, but that’s sim­ply not a risk as long as adver­tis­ers stay rel­e­vant, add val­ue and respond to needs. That’s accord­ing to Michael Roth, chair­man and CEO of glob­al adver­tis­ing hold­ing com­pa­ny Inter­pub­lic, who spoke at Ad Age’s recent dig­i­tal con­fer­ence.

Case in point: The indus­try has faced a num­ber of recent changes, but suc­cess­ful mar­keters have looked toward the future and are cre­at­ing con­tent that is not just cre­ative, but spans plat­forms while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly doing social good. This, Roth said, will be increas­ing­ly key to con­nect­ing with con­sumers because it forges a much stronger bond than sim­ply a pur­chase trans­ac­tion.


The media land­scape is now frag­ment­ed among many dif­fer­ent out­lets. This leads to con­fu­sion about where clients can get the most bang for their buck.

And this is where we in the busi­ness can add val­ue,” Roth said. “Clients are look­ing for some­one who can help them make sense of this. Some­one has to be agnos­tic about what is spent. That’s how we add val­ue.”

Consumer Control

Mar­keters must also par­tic­i­pate in con­ver­sa­tions 24 hours a day, Roth said.

That’s all you hear is the con­sumer is in con­trol and the rea­son you hear that is because it’s true,” he said. “We do all the things our clients do and encour­age you to par­tic­i­pate, but the point is that the con­sumer wants it when they want it and how they want it.”

Roth said the best exam­ple of this issue is binge watch­ing in which con­sumers lit­er­al­ly con­sume a ton of con­tent at once. This, he said, forces mar­keters to think how they will deliv­er sto­ries in an envi­ron­ment “that is so imme­di­ate and on demand.”


Tech­nol­o­gy has also changed the world.

Roth points to out-of-home adver­tis­ing and encour­ages mar­keters to think of oppor­tu­ni­ties where they can add val­ue. In Peru, for exam­ple, an engi­neer­ing school want­ed to help the pop­u­lace know about its offer­ings, so it tack­led a local water acces­si­bil­i­ty prob­lem by devel­op­ing a bill­board that con­vert­ed humid­i­ty into drink­ing water.

Every­one in the com­mu­ni­ty showed up and used this as a source of drink­ing water,” he said. “Think about the rela­tion­ship the per­son has with the provider of these ser­vices. It can­not be bro­ken.”

Purchase Funnel

In addi­tion, the pur­chase fun­nel has “changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly,” he said.

He points to L’Oreal’s Intel­li­gent Col­or Expe­ri­ence cam­paign in which the brand installed vend­ing machines in the New York City Sub­way that “[detect­ed] the col­ors in a wom­an’s out­fit and [picked] out the most promi­nent and relat­ed col­or palettes, then [rec­om­mend­ed] L’O­re­al Paris prod­ucts to match and last­ly [allowed] women to quick­ly and eas­i­ly pur­chase those prod­ucts on the spot,” the brand said in a release.

Expe­ri­en­tial, tech­no­log­i­cal and cre­ative are now the types of transactions…that devel­op the rela­tion­ship between L’Oreal and the brand and the con­sumer,” Roth said. “The theme I’m devel­op­ing here is that it’s not just one par­tic­u­lar item. It’s using all of the dif­fer­ent tools we have to make the rela­tion­ship with the con­sumer stick.”

In oth­er words, siloed offer­ings are sim­ply not going to cut it any­more.

We have to have a com­mon goal,” he said. “And crit­i­cal to this is cre­ativ­i­ty. This is where our indus­try has a leg up on all those oth­ers out there.”

In addi­tion, mar­ket­ing of the future must incor­po­rate three addi­tion­al fea­tures:

1. Native Utility

Accord­ing to Roth, brands have to be able to cre­ate sto­ries and use cre­ativ­i­ty specif­i­cal­ly for the dis­tri­b­u­tion plat­form they’re on.

You can no longer do a 30-sec­ond TV spot and take the spot and put it on mobile or put it on some type of social con­text,” Roth said. “It has to be an offer­ing rel­a­tive to the dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem you’re using.”

2. Data

Mar­keters must use data to know where the con­sumer is, to get to the right con­sumer and to make sure it works.

3. Social Good

Roth said he thinks this is the future as the rela­tion­ship between brands and con­sumers becomes “some­thing bet­ter than just point of sale trans­ac­tions.”

In oth­er words, com­bin­ing tech­nol­o­gy, cre­ativ­i­ty and adver­tis­ing are the “lynch­pins that are dri­ving busi­ness in the future,” Roth said.

In addi­tion, mar­keters have to be able to com­bine these fea­tures with a sin­gle voice, which, he con­cedes, is not easy to do. How­ev­er, he points to three cam­paigns that do a par­tic­u­lar­ly good job of com­bin­ing these ele­ments.

Coca-Cola Peru’s Happy ID

In Peru, Roth said cit­i­zens weren’t smil­ing in their driver’s license pho­tos for some rea­son.

And it took on this thing as a cul­ture – you nev­er smile when you go for a driver’s license in Peru,” Roth said. “So we had this insight: Let’s see if we can make peo­ple hap­py, which ties into the Coca-Cola cam­paign on hap­pi­ness.”

As such, the brand installed free pho­to booths that allowed con­sumers to take pho­tos sim­ply by smil­ing. And par­tic­i­pat­ing con­sumers also received free Coke. As a result, 45,000 Hap­py IDs were cre­at­ed.

Every­thing was at play here – tech­nol­o­gy, cre­ativ­i­ty, media, big idea, dis­tri­b­u­tion and social good,” Roth said. “Which is why it was award-win­ing at Cannes.”

In a blog post, Lizan­dra Fre­itas, Coca-Cola Transandean Fran­chise Unit Mar­ket­ing Direc­tor, said, “With the ‘Hap­py ID’ cam­paign, we sought to encour­age all Peru­vians to under­take a great mood trans­for­ma­tion, start­ing with a very sim­ple and easy act: to smile while hav­ing their nation­al ID pho­to tak­en. Smil­ing is a sign of opti­mism, well-being and hap­pi­ness. And it should be expressed and become increas­ing­ly vis­i­ble.”

Nivea Sun Kids

In Brazil, Roth said sun­screen brand Nivea was faced with the chal­lenge of how to dis­tin­guish itself from oth­er sun­screen brands, so it aligned that prob­lem with anoth­er com­mon prob­lem: chil­dren run­ning away from their par­ents at the beach.

Nivea designed a bracelet for the child’s arm, which could be torn out of mag­a­zines and then paired with an app that allowed par­ents to iden­ti­fy the bracelet and set the max­i­mum dis­tance their chil­dren could go.

If the lim­it is exceed­ed, you are alert­ed and the radar shows you when you’re near­by,” Roth said.

What’s more, the bracelets were humid­i­ty-resis­tant and could be used more than once.

It uses dig­i­tal, print, and has a social cause if you will and relates to the con­sumer – the moth­er at the beach and mak­ing sure her child is pro­tect­ed. I can’t think of a more pow­er­ful mes­sage,” he said. “You can see how all the dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines had to be brought togeth­er and demand for the bracelets was off the charts. They sold out all the mag­a­zines in which they were print­ed.”

Point­ing to the rela­tion­ship between the brand and par­ents going to the beach, Roth said, “What we do actu­al­ly works when it is done cor­rect­ly.”

Navy’s Project Architeuthis

Accord­ing to Roth, the chal­lenge for Camp­bell Ewald for this par­tic­u­lar cam­paign was to help the Navy recruit 1,000 cryp­tol­o­gists with­out paid media, so the agency focused on gam­ing. Specif­i­cal­ly, the cam­paign tar­get­ed self-moti­vat­ed, high­ly intel­li­gent con­sumers that like solv­ing puz­zles.

Project Archi­teuthis focus­es on the fic­tion­al abduc­tion of the archi­tect of a top secret weapon and the cryp­tol­o­gist Maria who sneaks aboard an ene­my ship to send out cod­ed mes­sages, puz­zles, ciphers and the like over the course of 18 days. The puz­zles even­tu­al­ly revealed six major clue words, which, in turn, could be used to track down coor­di­nates of the ene­my ship.

Per Roth, the cam­paign exceed­ed the Navy’s recruit­ing tar­get by con­nect­ing the brand with about 1300 cryp­tol­o­gists and it was such a suc­cess, in part, because the mes­sage was so incred­i­bly rel­e­vant to its tar­get audi­ence.

The point here is that what [mar­keters] do works and we have an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring this all togeth­er. The agency is the epi­cen­ter of where tech­nol­o­gy, [cre­ativ­i­ty and social good], come togeth­er and we have to make sure we work togeth­er with a com­mon goal,” Roth said. “Our approach should be that what you need to have are tal­ent­ed peo­ple who are con­ver­sant in digital…you can’t just silo dig­i­tal capa­bil­i­ties. You need to have strate­gic insight. You have to be account­able. And, in cer­tain cas­es, I believe the notion I start­ed to talk about – the demise of the indus­try – couldn’t be more incor­rect than it was in 1972. It’s a pret­ty excit­ing place to be.”

What’s your take on the incor­po­ra­tion of social good into mar­ket­ing cam­paigns?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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