Monday, August 31, 2009

DiMassimo vs. the Landfills

In one of the more brilliant ad campaigns in recent history, Droga5 used water itself to fight water shortages in developing countries. (If you don’t know about their TapProject, you should.)

The other big water issue is getting bigger, and ad agencies aren’t helping. It’s about the plastic bottles and the whole landfill mess. Every bottle says “recycle me” on the side, but only about 25% of them actually get recycled. Enter Brita Water with it’s crystal-clear anti-landfill messaging (courtesy of DDB San Francisco, I believe). And now, another voice joins the conversation: DiMassimo advertising in NYC.

Old news for some, but they’ve launched a campaign to convince people to drink perfectly-good tap water from reusable bottles. They call it “What’s Tappening,” and the program comes with a very useful component: the reusable bottle itself.

It’s not as groundbreaking as Droga’s TapProject, but I give them big points for attempting to take on this issue at all. Several ad blogs have criticized the creative work, so all I’ll say is that I think the headlines skirt the main point a bit, with their “free beer, just kidding” structure (note the asterisks). The bottle water issue is a serious one, and there’s plenty of drama in the actual story of it.

Most importantly, does anyone know how it’s working? Please, write in. Let’s hear from someone at DiMassimo. Me and my buddy planet earth are hoping for the biggest success.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Down To Your Toes

There’s big business from the ankles down. And there may be no easier area for Joe shopper to do something good. It's almost freaky how many shoe companies are making the world a better place.

As I've mentioned before on this blog, you can look at the world-of-good as split into two camps: those that ARE good, and those that DO good.

Brooks running shoes made a shoe that IS good. What I mean is, they’re making the world a better place by the way they build (one of) their shoes. It’s called The Green Silence, and it's a high-performance marathon shoe made out of recycled plastic bottles, sofa foam, and CDs (pictured). It’s got pretty damn good green credentials. (NYTimes’ Green Blog covered it HERE.)

Similarly, Simple Shoes (“Shoes for a Happy Planet”) has long been the hipster’s purveyor of recycled and earth-friendly shoes. (I bought a pair off not long ago, and let me tell you, they kick the crap out of Converse All-Stars.)

Puma is taking the other approach. Rather than greening their operations, they’re helping those in need. They put on a shoe exchange program (with Soles4Souls) – bring in any pair of shoes, deposit them in them in the bin at the store and receive 30% off your purchase. The used shoes are given to charity. (June/July 2009)

Likewise, there’s the ugliest shoes (slippers, more like it) on earth, Toms Shoes. Their tagline is, “One for One”. Like Soles4Souls, they give a pair of shoes to those who need ‘em for every pair they sell. They've built their whole business on it. (More on Toms, HERE.)

Footwear is a mature market, rife with parity. So some smart companies are acting out to differentiate themselves, and do something people can get behind. Want to save the environment? There’s a shoe out there for you. Want to help the shoeless? Just buy this brand and it’s done.

This segment is leading with their good foot. The rest of the body is sure to catch up.

* Inappropriate footnote: the Soles4Souls tagline is, “Changing the World, One Pair at a Time.” Which is funny, if you have a dirty mind like me. More about them, HERE.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aircel In Mumbai. A Billboard Does Good.

I’m guessing “reliability” was the message. A cell carrier that would work no matter what. And when you can count on rough weather, perhaps you’d want to make something more useful than a billboard – a tool that helps people in need.

Sure enough, the rains came. There was no elaborate program of giving. The ad fulfilled its own promise.

The locals used the billboard raft to shuttle people to a nearby safety zone. As intended.

Massive press ensued. This is genius.

(See more photos, HERE.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mail Bag! Corn Phones, Teacher Burgers, and YouTube’s Goodness

I love my friends. I also love strangers when they do what my friends often do, which is to send me anything they find out there that smacks of marketing-plus-goodness.

Here are three such tidbit from the “mail bag” – all thought-provoking – and none of which I will do justice here.

“Brandon M” in Tampa writes, “Dear M+G, cell phones are filling landfills by the millions with their plasticky ways, which makes this news pretty cool… It’s a Samsung phone from Sprint, and it’s made out of corn! Do you know if I can order it with a side of fried chicken?” *

Dear Brandon, thanks for the tip! Since they don’t have an iPhone or a Gphone, Sprint needs to innovate somehow, and this seems like a great way to do it. Can’t wait to see how this resonates with the wired/green set. Let’s hope more phone manufacturers follow suit. I’ll keep an eye out for any ads they may run for this too.
(A bit more on Sprint's corn phone from PSFK, HERE.)

“Mark Y” in Seattle writes in, “Dear M+G, YouTube launched a nonprofit program ( in 2007 that offers member organizations the same features it sells to paid advertisers — a specially designated channel to broadcast its message, help with branding, a video-uploading capacity beyond the standard 10 minutes and a Google Checkout button to rustle up donations. Ryan Hawk, the multimedia coordinator of the Woodland Park Zoo ( in Seattle, says that its partnership with YouTube has simplified streaming and embedding videos to the zoo’s Web site, blog, and Facebook page.

Last week YouTube added a “Call to Action” tool, which lets video makers include links that appear in an overlay while the video plays. I tested it in a videofor charity: water, a nonprofit that aims to bring clean drinking water to developing countries. Viewers donated $10,000 in one day, a sum that will pay for the construction of two wells in the Central African Republic.” *

Dear Mark, back in the Betamax days, the innovators were the pornographers. But now the innovators understand transparency, so when YouTube wants to give away the first uses of some new gizmos, they’ll give the discounts to the early-adopting do-gooders. Pretty awesome stuff. Marketers take note. Doing good just might open more doors to innovation online as well.

“Griffin F” in Tampa writes us, Dear M+G, why are you ignoring me? Well, you can’t ignore this nifty do-gooding promotion from Sonic drive-ins that invites customers to vote on worthy student projects to win massive funding ($500,000!). Just try to ignore it. Try.” *

Dear Griffin, you’re right. I can’t ignore it. It’s a nifty example of how doing good can drive traffic. Sonic invites people to come in once to register to vote (and buy a meal), then again to judge the student projects (and buy a meal). I’ll bet several classrooms full of hungry tweens will be pow-wowing at your local Sonic in the coming months. And loving Sonic for every moment of it. It’s giving, and taking, and mixin’ it up with the community. Well played, Sonic. Well played.

Watch for future installments of “M+G’s Mail Bag” in the not-too-distant future.

* Not actual letters.

(PS - Griffin's outstanding blog is HERE, and Brandon's also-outstanding blog is HERE. Enjoy.)