Global Brands Making Strides to Become More Ethical and Sustainable

Wednesday 5th June, 2019

Sustainability of products and climate change are hot topics at the moment and are impacting consumer trends in every sector, meaning brands are having to act fast. At Big Cat we believe that the marketing and communications industry should be leading the way in making these important changes by encouraging companies to be more ethical.

With World Ocean Day and World Environment Day just round the corner, we’re looking at the biggest brands that are prioritising the importance of being more environmentally aware in the communications and marketing strategy.

Lacoste’s Save Our Species

The fashion industry is receiving a lot of negative publicity at the moment for having a negative impact on climate change and the environment, but that isn’t stopping some brands from doing their bit for the cause. Lacoste have been highlighting the endangered species that are currently at threat of becoming endangered. The popular polo shirt brand have teamed up with the IUCN to highlight the declining numbers of some species left in the wild.

The fashion giant momentarily ditched its instantly recognisable crocodile logo, replacing it with logos of some of the world’s most endangered species. In their most recent run of the campaign, the retailer created a mere 3,520 polo shirts for each of the 3,520 specimens estimated to be left in the wild. The limited edition polos sold out in just 24 hours, once again showcasing just how few of these species are left in the wild.

Apple’s Don’t Mess with Mother

Another global giant jumping on the environmental bandwagon is Apple. Using their own technology to photograph and showcase the beauty of the planet, Apple are hoping to highlight the importance of looking after the planet, and presumably sell a few phones whilst they’re at it. They’ve captured some of the world’s most natural splendours in an ode to Mother Earth, perfectly timed for Earth Day.

These intensely beautiful shots from around the world are sharing a powerful message about the natural beauty of our planet and the importance of taking care of it! Well done Apple.

IKEA’s Good Ship

To tie in with the launch of their new shop in Greenwich, the leading sustainable store in the UK, IKEA, decided to carry out an “ocean clean-up” of the River Thames. The ‘Good Ship IKEA’ has been modelled to look like the retailer’s best-selling bath toy, and uses cutting-edge ‘Orca’ technology to collect up to 20kgs of rubbish from the longest river in the UK.

Statistics show that around 300 tonnes of rubbish is removed from the Thames each year, of which 60% is single use plastic. IKEA are making strong strides in becoming a more environmentally friendly business and have a few different initiatives that are encouraging customers to be less wasteful. This Thames clean up only furthers their position as one of the most ethical businesses at the moment and their commitment to improving the communities where they work.

Iceland’s Rang Tan banned Christmas ad

This was one of the biggest campaigns of 2018 and, in our opinion, a brilliant PR stunt. Iceland teamed up with Greenpeace to rebadge their Rang Tan film and launch it on TV. Or did they?!

The minute-long animated story from Greenpeace showcased a baby orangutan destroying a young girl’s bedroom, in the same way humans were destroying his home. Voiced by Emma Thompson, the film was beautifully crafted and presented in an emotive way. It aimed to bring to light something that many consumers were blissfully unaware of: the devastating impact that the use of palm oil is having on the habitat of orangutans and other wildlife. But Greenpeace only has a certain reach.

Enter Iceland. What if these two brands teamed up to pull off one of the biggest advertising heists of the century?

The UK advertising code states: “An advertisement contravenes the prohibition on political advertising if it is: an advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature”. The ad is associated with Greenpeace as it was originally made by them and so, the Iceland badged version doesn’t adhere to the UK Code of Broadcasting.

Iceland knew it, Greenpeace certainly knew it, and you’d be damn sure their agencies knew it.

And this is where a great piece of creative was coupled with strategic thinking. Put it in to Clearcast and let the Twitterstorm unfold. The ad wasn’t banned, it wasn’t cleared. But social reaction doesn’t work on all the facts, it can build in an instant and the tear-jerking story of the young girl and the rang tan was perfectly poised to spark an inferno the headlines and reaction videos wrote themselves. ‘Banned’, ‘Outrage’, ‘How can they do this’.

Iceland’s commitment to the cause has since been reported as being sketchy, but the process of this ad is a brilliant example of creative strategic thinking. After the supermarket chain tweeted about it being banned on TV, the moving clip was streamed over 30 million times on YouTube and even shared by some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Before this it was a lovely piece of storytelling about a cause affecting our world that relatively few had seen – and for that, Iceland deserve a nod.

So there you have it, our favourite environmental campaigns from some of the biggest brands in the world. Hopefully as the message gets shared more, we will continue to see initiatives like this from more international names.

Written by Emily Parker Senior Account Executive

Wednesday 5th June, 2019

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