Wednesday, August 29, 2012

AOL Stays Relevant

Google. Facebook. Apple. Amazon. If the biggest battles of the digital space are being waged by these four companies, how can an Internet 1.0 brand stay relevant? By doing what AOL is doing; morphing into a media company and using its reach for Good.

15 million viewers. Billions of impressions. Every day, a focus on a different charitable organization, many of which are small and could never afford to buy an ad on AOL's main page. News isn't always bad; sometimes it's inspiring. This effort casts a halo around the whole AOL brand, in addition to its Working Mothers best places to work status, and their Monster Help Day (an internal volunteer hours effort). 

Adweek calls it "the biggest reboot in the history of digital media," and credits CEO Tim Armstrong with bringing vision and purpose to the ranks, and to the brand. 

On the AOL Impact about page, they say, "All around us, people and charities are doing amazing things. AOL Impact is here to connect you to the greater good, and make it easy to discover a new cause every day. There are many ways to get involved, whether it's giving money, serving lunch at a foodbank, reading to kids, or simply spreading the word about causes that catch your attehction. AOL Impact is a place to explore, participate and share. We don't profit from the charities we feature, or any donations you make. This site is our small way to support all the good in the world, with the hope of inspiring even more. We hope that you visit every day to get your daily dose of good."

Is it paying off? Their reach has improved, and their media prices have inched up over the past year. They are incredibly effective at behavioral targeting for advertisers as well - all good signs for a media company, let alone one of the "old" digital brands. It's called staying power. And it is ... Good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cannes Lion 2012 Grand Prix For Good: Help Remedies/Droga5

I wonder if any ad agency has done more for the world than Droga5.

First is wat the Tap Project with Unicef. Then the Millenium Project for NY Public Schools. Now this. (Let me know if I've missed one.)

They prove yet again, that combining a mass CPG product with cause - this time in a very tangible, participatory way (not just a corporate donation) - everybody wins. Including Droga5 who just won the 2012 Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Good.

Imagine this is your client. Imagine the problem solving sessions that birthed this idea. Perhaps someone said, "Can a band aid solve a global health issue?" Or maybe someone asked, "How can we catch all the little drops of blood out there and signe 'em up to help?" However it happened, they took two heretofore unrelated organizations and found an ingenious way to link them.

If you're a marketer, maybe the biggest solution isn't in getting the biggest director to shoot a Superbowl spot. Maybe it's in redefining the problem itself to be as big as possible. What if the goal is bigger than awareness, consideration, preference, sales - bigger than getting people to "Like" your brand.

Take on something bigger than creating an ad campaign. Your ideas will grow big enough to solve it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Try to ignore it. It won't go away.

I've been neglectful. I haven't posted consistently for too long. Still, this blog attracts readers. 30,753 page views, to be exact. It's a milestone.

I don't think it has much to do with me. I think it has to do with the interest in Marketing+Good. Marketers want examples; they want to see how it works.

And consumers like to see brands doing "Good" too. Maybe a few of them have stopped by, seen what the brands in these pages are up to, and become fans.

Last December I saw a TV spot that made my jaw drop. Not because it was hilarious, but because it was for such a huge brand, in such a critical time of year, and the spot had NOTHING to do with the holidays. It was a gutsy move by this brand. Every one of their competitors was talking about deals and gifts, and these guys deliberately zagged.

If you know anyone out there working at Subaru national marketing department, tell 'em to drop a line. Tell us all how well they did in December. Did committing to doing Good with their customers make it a December to remember?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Can UX Save the World?

I work at an ad agency, and like many ad agencies, we are evolving quickly. When someone leaves us, we often replace them with someone more, well, digital. We speak in terms of concepts, but also usability. We're discussing the "mobile mindset." We're measuring bounce rates. We're not drinking martinis at lunch.

 This blog is about brands with purpose that do good in the world. Big picture stuff. UX, on the other hand, is about detailed user design metrics. That's why this is inspiring: "UX for Good."

First up, they're focusing on New Orleans musicians, whose cultural history and livelihood need help. They got an event coming up down there - #ux4good2012 - starting today, running through May 4th.

The "event" will include feet-on-the-ground research, and ideation sessions. Interesting sponsors signing up, like ad agency DraftFCB. They work with big brands like Dow, Dockers, Kraft, Kmart, Nestle, Sony, Taco Bell, VW ...

If DraftFCB sees the power in Doing Good for brands, I hope it starts some "Good" conversations with their clients. How doing good builds loyalty. How the UX can be designed for maximum results.

Follow the UX for Good team in NOLA this week on Twitter at @ux4good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Good Day to Tweet

Today was a Good day.

As I was rabbit-holing my way around the interwebs today, three very Good and innovative programs hit me in the face.

I tweeted all three. Guess which two got re-Tweeted within the hour. (!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

Earth Hour is March 26th at 8:30. Turn everything off. Don't be the only one.

Film by Leo Burnett Sydney.

Monday, February 21, 2011

“Enough about us. What do you think about us?”

When Toyota first launched their Ideas For Good campaign, I was hopeful. I thought, yes!, this is the next Refresh Project. Except it wasn’t. Not even close.

Key differences. Is Toyota asking me about my ideas? No. Are they supporting my ideas? No. In fact, just the opposite. They’re asking me to take their ideas and apply them in ways they haven’t thought of. My sense of ownership is very, very low.

So is my sense of opportunity. What do I get if I come up with a great idea? What’s in it for me? (There’s probably something, but I haven’t had the patience to dig to find it.)

I understand. Toyota is really trying to bolster its good guy image, especially after it’s tough PR and sales year (and oh, you know, terrifying people). I can picture the endless string of meetings that led to this Ideas For Good campaign. And all the hard work that obviously went into it; it’s produced exceedingly well, soup to nuts.

But the very premise of the campaign is flawed. “Tell us how you would take our technology, and make the world a better place.” Sounds a lot like, “Please do free work for us, and give us free ideas, and we’ll try to look good for asking.” 

Don’t get me wrong. I love Saatchi. Love them. Super smart, and as a network they’re incredibly dedicated to helping brands do Good. Awesome.

But this campaign runs full sprint, sideways. It’s attempts at crowd-sourcing, collaboration, involvement, and participation haven’t done what it should have. It hasn’t become talk-worthy. None of my friends are sending it to me saying, “Check out what I did with Toyota!”
(Their most popular commercial has 25k views on YouTube. Others have about 8k.)

Next time, celebrate the customer’s ideas instead of your own. They’ll care more.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The 3 Sizes of Purpose

This is a tangent. A bit I wrote for my agency, and it applies nicely here.

See, when a brand decides to do Good, it helps if it's strategic. Oftentimes the brands that do Good are brands built with Purpose. Depending on a brand's Purpose, you can imagine the kind of strategic Good they would bring to people.

Read on:

We spend a fair amount of time here at 22 thinking about what makes people talk about a brand. There are a lot of ways to inspire conversation, and fuel it. One is to build a brand around Purpose. A Purpose-driven brand is one that has a clear reason for being, beyond just making money. It has an incredibly focused direction that inspires internal folks and customers alike. It’s a company-wide belief that sets it on a mission.

Purpose-driven brands want to change things. They exist to enact change for the better on some scale. I’ve seen great brands aim for three sizes of change – Personal, Industry, and World. Let me explain.

Some brands decide their Purpose is to make someone’s life better. That’s personal. It has to do with features, benefits, something a customer can put in their pocket to save time or effort or money. The brand with a personal-sized Purpose says, “Hey customer, we believe your life can, and should be better, and we work every day to make that happen.” They phrase their own Purpose in much more specific terms, but you get the gist. It’s not always obvious that these are Purpose-driven brands, rather than just really strong marketers. Examples include Apple, BMW, and our client Publix Supermarkets. They all wake up every day with a Purpose. They invite people to buy by overdelivering.

Other brands decide their Purpose is to fix the industry. This is a larger scale Purpose, where a brand finds a common enemy with their customers; some injustice, or conspiracy, or failure of their industry. Some wrong to be righted. The brand with an industry-sized Purpose says, “Hey customer, we believe our whole industry can, and should be better, and we work every day to make that happen.” Examples include Southwest Airlines, Method, and Ally Bank (Google them, you know the spots). These brands invite people to not only buy, but also believe in their POV.

The biggest Purpose a brand can adopt is to make the whole world a better place. These brands claim that their belief about the world is so strong that their products are merely an expression of that belief. They sell the cause. They may reach to other industries to find other like-minded companies to partner with. They invite their competitors to do as they do, and welcome it. They envision utopia. They take the high road. You know these brands, and you’re probably seeing more of this advertising out there. Examples include Pepsi, Tom’s Shoes, Dove, SunChips (with an asterisk), as well as almost every organic food product and hybrid vehicle out there (now up to 40 in 2011, btw). These brands invite people not only to buy, and not only to believe in their POV, but to join the movement. To put their higher Purpose before lesser benefits like style, flavor, or price.

You can see the power of Purpose, and probably also see the challenge. No matter how big a brand’s Purpose is, it’s up to the company to deliver on that Purpose with its product and operations. You can’t really manufacture a trumped-up Purpose, because it will feel flimsy and people will call you out. That’s why Purpose can be harder to pull off than some other ways to get people to talk about your brand.

But wow. Making some real change? That’s pretty inspiring stuff. And totally worth it.

(* Some of these thoughts started with a great book by Roy Spence called, "It's not what you sell, it's what you stand for: Why every extraordinary business is driven by Purpose." Full credit to Roy and GSDM for their bits.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trendwatching in 2011

Trendwatching is a website that makes it their job to see what's coming. I like it.

This is a telling little list: the Top 11 Trends to take advantage of in 2011. No less that 3 out of 11 focus on Doing Good. Think about that one.

The full briefing is at Here's the short version.
(They're all cool, but take note of #1, #8, and #10 in particular.)

In 2011, there will be no excuses left not to be kind as a brand... (More in the full brief.)

Are you ready for hundreds of millions of more daring, more experienced consumers? And that's just one side effect of rapid global urbanization... (More in the full brief.)

Flash sales, group buying, GPS-driven deals: in 2011 pricing will never be the same... (More in the full brief.)

In 2011, expect an increasing number of 'Western' brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to consumers in emerging markets... (More in the full brief.)

In 2011, you can’t go wrong supplying your (online-loving) customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or 'real world', that helps them display to peers their online contributions, creations or popularity... (More in the full brief.)

As good health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in 2011 to prevent misery (if not improve their quality of life), rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments... (More in the full brief.)

SOCIAL-LITES are all about discovery, as consumers become curators; actively broadcasting, remixing, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, experiences to both their friends and wider audiences... (More in the full brief.)

In 2011, brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale... (More in the full brief.)

With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell/smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, 2011 will see full-on PLANNED SPONTANEITY... (More in the full brief.)

When it comes to 'green consumption' in 2011, expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way... (More in the full brief.)

2011 could be the year when sharing and renting really tips into mainstream consumer consciousness... (More in the full brief.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker

Cone is a cool little agency, delving into some consistent thought-leadership on customer attitudes toward companies that do Good. Here's their latest, just in time for the holidays.

Cone says: "‘Tis the season for giving back, and companies should be prepared to lead the charge. Nearly nine-in-10 consumers (89%) want companies to support causes this holiday season, and 78 percent want to be personally engaged in these efforts. Getting a jump on their shopping, half (49%) of Americans say they have already purchased or plan to purchase a holiday gift that supports a cause this year, according to the 2010 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker."

Download the results here:
(Or, here ... )

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Too Rare: Good Stuff Done Great

I've complained in these pages a bit about how advertising that tries to "Do Good" is often really bad. Bad creatively, that is.


There's no reason at all. As proof, I offer two ads from Goodby for Haagen-Dazs ice cream. One, a simple, USEFUL print ad that actually lets you act to solve the problem they're addressing. It's printed on "seed paper" you can plant in the ground and grow a flower. That's right, a print ad that grows a flower.

And two, an amusing video that makes the point strongly and memorably. It's funny enough to get passed around. (Please do.)

So. Anyone from Goodby (or anywhere) know if actual honey bees are making a comeback? Let me know.

For a little more info about this campaign, here's a link.

(Thanks to Griffin Farley for pointing out this link! --> )

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Effies are Coming (Goodworks)

If you work at an ad agency, you might be thinking about the upcoming Effies.

Here's a category that's of particular interest: Effie Goodworks.

I wouldn't mind being on that list.

Not just glory, but gratification.

To the winners, well done. And to the entrants, good luck.

(More at and )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A lot can happen in two weeks.

Wow. See what happens? You go on vacation and the whole world goes good. Or at least it seems like it. Here’s a re-cap, for you trendwatchers out there:


Maybe I’m late to the game on this one, but I just heard about this offshoot agency. They say, “The world isn’t waiting for a sustainable future. We’re creating one. Now.” They’re all about helping companies tell their green-ification story, from Qantas Airlines to TetraPak, to the Environmental Defense Fund, even (gasp!) DuPont chemical. Green it up, fellas.

Timberland has a program called Earthkeepers (launched in 2008?! Wow, I’m behind). Since Timberland likes the outdoors (and make shoes that’ll get you there), they made a shoe that’s easier on the earth. And they’re planting trees. People like that. In fact, Earthkeepers now has over 866,000 “likers” on Facebook. (By comparison, Outside magazine has only 675,000 subscribers.)

Timberland Earthkeepers.
It's not just a shoe. It's a movement. (Agency: Cone. I think.)

Proctor & Gamble.
Maybe you've heard of them. Well, the Cincinnati news reports, “Less will soon be more in the laundry room when the nation’s largest seller of detergent shrinks its powder varieties and cuts the size of its packaging by a third. … For a company the size of P&G, the change could have big environmental and cost-saving benefits. P&G said the smaller packages will require 6,000 fewer truckloads to ship detergent, saving 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year.” (A move that Unilever pioneered in 2005.)

And all it cost them was some precious, precious shelf space. That’s taking it on the chin for the greater good. Kudos, soap guys.

And speaking of Unilever ...

Unilever likes Gorillas.
The Wall Street Journal says, “Unilever, which uses palm oil in products as diverse as Dove soap, Vaseline lotion and Magnum ice cream, will announce today that it is making a multimillion-dollar investment in Solazyme, a company that harvests algal oil. It's a green alternative that can power airplanes as well, Paul Sonne reports.

Environmentalists say that harvesting palm oil has contributed to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia and damaged orangutan habitats.”
(As you know, Kit Kat caught the wrath of Greenpeace for their palm oil use/gorilla hating, and it cost them a pretty penny to make amends, and change.)

Scott Tissue saves water.
As seen in Ad Age, “Kimberly-Clark is rolling out a green-themed promotion backing Scott Naturals brand toilet tissue that includes a giveaway of 750,000 Scott SmartFlush toilet-tank inserts. The devices purportedly save a typical family 2,000 gallons of water a year and can last a decade. 

"It helps drive awareness of the Scott brand, but more importantly, about what we feel is the next looming resource threat," says Doug Daniels, brand manager of strategy and innovation for Scott. Here’s the whole article:

Okay. Deep breath. We’re not done yet.

Green Beans Coffee.
It's the little coffee company the US military loves. They’re letting customers donate to send the troops some decent coffee overseas. Pretty cool.

Liberty Mutual ponies up for the “Million Dollar Game.” says,
”A major player on the college football scene with its Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, the insurance company is dangling upward of a $1 million charitable donation to two competing teams who complete a game without one penalty being called.”

Finding a strategic cause for a financial brand is tricky, mainly because money has kind of a universal strategy. Everybody could use some. But I think supporting “good sportsmanship” is a really strategic message for any financial company these days. Well done.

Moms and Millenials love the Good.
Here’s a nice little interview with an EVP from Cone (again!), about the brands that are really resonating in a lasting way. Some nice Pepsi Refresh commentary here too. (Article.)

Oh, and last night I saw a TV spot – um, on TV – for the Brita water filter. Very cool spot, showing plastic bottles flowing out into the water system of rivers, etc. (I can’t find it online to share, sorry.) But it ends with a link to their program, Filter for Good.

Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did, so please let me know.

Repeat after me: “this is the age of the enlightened consumer.”


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Elephant in Starbucks’ Social Media Room

One of the hottest social media case studies going these days is Starbucks. And as everyone’s pointing out, they’re doing a bang up job. So many great lessons other brands can learn. Listening (My Starbucks Idea), loyalty (online card tracking), engage (responsive Facebook presence) … just about every social media buzzword you can think of, they’re nailing it.

But there’s something at the heart of so many of their programs... People aren’t talking about it, but it’s critical. It’s how much “doing good” they use in the mix.

Here’s a great keynote speech by Starbucks Director of Social Media at some conference. It’s great. You can feel the hype in the room about the seamless coordination of digital and traditional. (Thanks to Griffn Farley for sharing this video on his blog, Propagation Planning.)

Did you notice how much Good they’re weaving into their marketing? And nobody’s talking about it. No one’s diagnosing it, analyzing it, figuring out how to adopt it as part of their model. Bizarre.

I guess it’s such a part of the Starbucks DNA that it’s a foregone conclusion. “They crowdsourced video from around the world! They created a movement online! They increased participation and talk value for the brand!” But let’s talk about the foundation of that program: Doing Good. The speaker all-but glosses over the very heart of what makes this effort succeed. “It’s supports our involvement in Project (RED), it launched on World AIDS Day, and we donated 5-cents for every cup of coffee we sold to the Global Fund.”

When we look to the Starbucks social media case study, we have to learn from the Purpose they build from. If you try to do this without a charitable component, would it stand a chance?

That great stunt of people coming together to make a big collage of coffee cups that made a huge drawing of a tree? So cool. And by the way, let’s not forget, the reason everybody is doing this fun thing is to reduce waste and save trees. A great effort, perfect for the brand, built on a foundation of Purpose from which to launch a cool execution. Her result: “We increased Facebook fans by 20%.” Personally, I’d like to know how much waste they reduced, or how many trees they saved, because that’s the thing people are becoming a fan of.

When I click “Like,” I’m not saying I like Starbucks coffee. I’m saying, “I like that Starbucks is doing big things to help the environment.” And so, I want to have a relationship with this brand.

And the bit about Haiti? Seems it had a lot more to do with doing Good than any expert deployment of social media.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this presentation, and I’m definitely looking to Starbucks to learn how to market online. But I’d love to hear the other half of this presentation; the one about how powerful doing Good is. The part about how to build Good into a marketing plan, how and when to tie it to sales, and how to deal with the politics and PR of it all. I’m sure there’s a lot we can all learn from that story as well.

My takeaway: Social media and doing Good work insanely well together.

Give people something to believe in, and give them a way to get involved.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Gen Y Likes

I found a great blog today written from a Gen Y point of view about retail, mainly marketing.

It includes everything from fashion, to pop-up storefronts, to social media insights. Basically, whatever interests a Gen Y mind about retail. And yes, Gen Yers think a lot of stuff is cool. And sometimes it's when brands do Good.

Want to connect with Gen Y? Consider incorporating some Good in your marketing.

(Miss Murphy, hope you don't mind the shout out. Nice work.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dawn. (It's Good To Be Ready.)

The nice thing about having a purpose-driven brand? When sh*t happens – like, say, BP’s oil rig hemmorages oil all over the ocean – you know exactly what to do.

You jump in, take action, bust parity, generate talk, and build loyalty in the process. Just like Dawn liquid soap is doing. Read the AdAge article: HERE.

There are other brands that would be ready to act. Brands who already champion a purpose. Cause brands. Here are a few:

Pedigree. ...
... to name a few. Think of the brands you work on. Do they have a "North Star" belief, or higher purpose of any kind?

Would they be ready?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Everything

What are people becoming a fan of? In the case of Pepsi’s huge good-marketing campaign, seems like people are fans of Pepsi giving money to charities. They’re fans of making the world a better place.

Are they fans of Pepsi cola as a thirst-quenching liquid?

In an industry of absolute parity, maybe that doesn’t matter so much. With a hammer this large, maybe relevance isn’t an issue.

Pepsi’s crowdsourcing, voting, consumer involvement, use of social (Facebook and well beyond) is all fantastic. Their giving strategy is so broad, it’s all-encompassing.

Does it have anything to do with selling a can of soda?

Does it need to?

Pepsi is giving away $1.3 million in grants each month, to non-profits in six categories. Health. Arts & Culture. Food & Shelter. The Planet. Neighborhoods. Education.

They’ve partnered with GOOD Magazine, and some other, more functional, charity-related organizations. This gives them credibility, as does their alliances with the non-profit community, and transparent dialogue with customers and bloggers.

They’re doing this right.

Funny thing. They’re getting tons of buzz in two areas: social media, and non-profits.

Have they stepped away from their role in the mainstream? Away from teens and the “new generation?” That’s always been what Pepsi is all about, right?

They’ve obviously recognized that doing good is a huge trend with the younger generation; it’s important to them. And Pepsi sees how it’s a much more meaningful bond to have with their customers than, say, Michael J Fox.

Smaller companies can’t spread themselves this thin, by adopting a strategy this broad, donating to “everything.” (“What should our charitable focus be?” … “I know. How about ‘everything’?”)

For most companies, the challenge (and opportunity) is to choose a narrow cause that aligns with their purpose, and their customers’ beliefs.

And any company, even Pepsi, has an opportunity to somehow tie their Good program into moving units.

The fact that an organization as huge as Pepsi has chosen to get behind the Good thing in such a huge way speaks volumes.

For advertisers, it may be another signpost on the road away from ads that are “merely entertaining.” (No small feat, that.)

This builds community, engages people, gets people talking and spreading the program on their own. The earned media exposure on this is un-buyably huge.

In the ‘60s, the medium was the message. Today, the consumer is the media. People themselves are one of the most potent communication channels. (And of course social media is a huge way to activate and influence the conversation.)

I’ve read a lot of knee-jerk reactions in the blogosphere about this campaign, but one stood out. Joanne Fritz of the Nonprofits Charitable Blog on noted some nice aspects of Pepsi’s execution. 1) it’s not only on a closed site like Facebook (though I like how it also uses Facebook), 2) it’s understandable, 3) it pays attention to outcomes, 4) the grants come in several sizes, 5) there’s a new opportunity every month.

As Bonin Bough, Global Director for Digital and Social Media at PepsiCo says, (unlike other contests)
The Refresh Project “is a movement, not a moment.”

He also says, “never before has a trusted brand engaged in the work of doing social good with the level of resources behind the Pepsi Refresh Project.”

So. Pepsi is giving away $20 million. For little local charities, that’s a lot. But for Pepsi, that’s a drop in the bucket. In this case, a very well-placed drop.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Puma's Clever Little Bag

This one kind of speaks for itself.

It's a great example of a company doing some good, getting attention, and winning fans by doing so.

I don't think anyone is going to buy Puma's just for the bag.
But it gets attention for some very good reasons.

It makes Puma different; not just the packaging, but the way I view the brand.

Mad props to Fuseproject.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Lonely Alligator

This is a great idea, bigger than just one company. But oddly, the one big brand that has embraced it is standing there alone. Well, they’ve enlisted a couple other small brands, but come on.

Let’s back up. Companies have used animals for logos since the dawn of time. Since then, some of these creatures we wear on our shirts and drink from our beer steins have become endangered. No help from those companies manufacturing said shirts, etc – until now.

It’s called Save Your Logo; a program that companies can participate in to fund preservation of their namesake critter.

The first big brand to sign up is Lacoste, that of the endangered crocodile.

Learn more here:

It's a simple, clear proposition. Buy a shirt with a crocodile on it, and some of the money goes to the crocodiles. That's pretty cool. Almost makes a $100 polo shirt worth it.

But. They need to enlist more companies to really make it a movement. Either this should be The Lacoste Thing, or it should be much bigger. Being in limbo, I can’t see this well-intended, original idea getting much traction.

Which other brands should save their logos, you ask? Below, I humbly offer some ideas.

Write your local CMO.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Social Media Is Doing Good: Just Add Clients

Let's talk about social media. Everyone else is.

So. There’s an agency called Naked and they are always very quick on the uptake with any new media or consumer trend. They did a little slide show that helps us understand how the power of 140 characters can help solve just about any social problem you can think of. (The slideshow has no sound, but you’ll get the gist.)

(Their original post, HERE.)

In other news … The earth has tsunamis, we have social networks. Here’s a cool example of how the speed and connectedness of the Plurk network was used to help people hit hard by the power of planet earth. (Article, HERE.

(Apparently Plurk is a social network by Microsoft that must be “big in Japan” or something. More on Plurk, HERE.)

And finally, Facebook. Here’s a cool tip sheet about how to use Facebook to fix the world. Just click. Perfect for the lazy do-gooder in all of us. Enjoy. And do these 5 things:

1) use charity applications like Causes and Lil’ Green Patch and SocialVibe, 2) join groups doing good like Cancer Associations and Darfur Relief, 3) become a fan of a cause like Susan G. Komen for a Cure and Greenpeace and Oxfam, 4) send a virtual gift that prompts a sponsor company to donate, and 5) host a charity event using FB invitations.

Links and more details in the original article on Mashable, HERE.

So, what’s missing here? We’ve got plenty of social media, and plenty of doing-good. What’s missing is clients. Clients that align themselves with a cause, and join the online communities that already exist, they’re ready to act, stand to gain a lot. A lot of loyalty, a lot of goodwill, a lot of sales, possibly another generation or two of happy healthy customers, a lot of leverage over their competition, and a lot of VIP treatment in marketing heaven.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Milk Bone

Apparently, Milk Bone dog treats have been supporting the Canine Assistance program “for over 12 years.” Who knew?

Since they haven’t advertised it much until now, at first I thought they were just mimicking the Pedigree approach from TBWA/Chiat/Day LA (more on that, HERE.) It's an awesome approach, but in a category so similar, Milk Bone comes off like an "us too" player.

The lesson? If you’re doing something good, and your customers can help buy buying your product, then it pays to let them know about it.

(Anyone know if this is still handled by DraftFCB NYC?)
(UPDATE: Apparently, the work was done by DraftFCB/SF. Thanks to Brian M. for the info.)

Check out Milk Bone's website, HERE.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Toyota Sees Beyond Cars

Toyota is one of the biggest advertisers in the country. And they’ve staked their huge new brand campaign (from Dentsu) on Doing Good.

They talk about creating American jobs at all the plants they have here. They talk about producing as little waste as possible, and their zero landfill targets. – (Bear in mind, this isn’t a fringe sub-campaign. This is Toyota’s new brand campaign.)

They talk about their safety innovations. Their partnership with the Audubon Society to “green” communities from Brooklyn to San Antonio. The $35 million they’ve donated toward children’s literacy. Fixing parks. Planting trees. Supporting college water sustainability standards … The list goes on and on.

It’s a lot of information we didn’t know about Toyota. And while it may not constitute total transparency, it sure feels like it. It feels like Toyota isn’t afraid to pull back the curtain and show you the factories, the parks, the people, the customers.

And it also invites viewers to chime in with their own stories, building a sense of community, participation, fandom, and in a way – crowdsourcing stories and ideas.

Creatively, my first impression of “Beyond Cars” was, Okay you see beyond cars, but if I want to buy a car I want Toyota to be really focused on that car, not some hippy tree-planting stuff.* However ...

After delving into the website, the good feelings I gained about Toyota overpowered the need for them to show me sheet metal. I already know Toyota makes great cars. Now I know a lot more. And in this case, the more I learn, the more I like them.

What other car company can say that?

* (Also, the creative is not particularly attention-getting. What is attention-getting is the mechanics of it: all the Good stuff they do, the transparency of it all, and the involvement of the website. It’s the community-building that gets the attention here, not a clever ad. In this case, the most compelling thing is to simply say the truth.)

(PS - If you want another Green car idea that's more closely tied to sales, you may also like THIS.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Macy’s: Have Your Celebrity Friends For Dinner

It’s an embarrassment of riches when Macy’s does good. Martha, Tommy Hilfiger, Emeril, “The Donald”, Jessica Simpson, Usher, Queen Latifa, the list goes on and on. And on. For 45 seconds, including some strange camera work, and distracting inside jokes. Until finally … we learn that this is for charity.

Macy’s invites us to host a party, and somehow the proceeds will help Feeding America. (Score another coup for those guys – the charity du jour. And that’s all the French I know.)

The website is robust, and puts the star power to better use, making it more clear exactly how I can get involved. Oddly, the “big day” – Oct. 17 – is buried under Tommy Hilfiger’s section. That’s the day they’ve designated for their Shop For A Cause program.

But no matter many layers they’ve piled on top of the details, the results are impressive.

Over $28 million dollars will be donated through Shop For A Cause day.

Over 30 million meals will be donated through Feeding America.

And over 40 million A-list celebrities will be featured in each TV commercial. Oh wait. That last stat is just a little off.

I’m sure Macy’s is also running their “sale sale sale!” TV spots to move product, but this campaign builds the brand. And apparently, it’s a star-studded, big-hearted brand indeed.

Why would anyone go to Dillard’s?

(PS – "So, what’s with the Beatles track?” Yes, they are using Come Together in TV and online, and yes, The Beatles have always been notoriously litigious and short-leashed when (not) licensing their music to commercial ventures. And here it is; Macy’s rocking the opening track off of Abbey Road. Think they could’ve gotten that track for a one-day-sales event? Heck no. And THAT, gentle reader, is a pretty sweet by-product of adding some good to your marketing. Beatles tracks.)

(PPS - I believe the agency is still JWT Chicago? Please comment below to confirm or deny. Thanks!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The GoodWorks Effie

The Effies are a weird award for creatives. Because the winners don't need to necessarily be the most breakthrough or well-crafted creative; it just needs to be "effective." Historically, the winners have been a mixed bag - some great, some not. Regardless, it's a very cool trend to see the big award shows are recognizing "Good" campaigns. Here's what the GoodWorks Effie is all about, straight from their website.

"The lines between brand marketing and a company’s reputation are blurring. Those that lead with a strong social conscience through the likes of sustainable business practices and philanthropic initiatives will succeed.

To highlight this notion that you can do well by doing good, and that great branding and good deeds are increasingly interwoven, Advertising Age has launched GoodWorks — a blog to highlight developments in corporate social responsibility and cause marketing as well as recognizing individual good works.

As part of the GoodWorks initiative and to further promote such efforts, Advertising Age and Effie Worldwide are partnering on a new Effie Award to recognize and promote the idea of doing well by doing good – The GoodWorks Effie.

The GoodWorks Effie is for communications programs proven effective in addressing a social problem or in expanding an existing program in ways that benefit our society or our planet. Any effort that sets out to give back in some way for the greater good is eligible to enter.

Maybe it was for profit, maybe not. Maybe you got paid, maybe you didn’t. Any and all marketing communications efforts, whether full campaigns or unique efforts within a campaign are eligible to enter as long as measurable results exist.

GoodWorks Effie – Brands/Companies
For marketing communications efforts undertaken by for-profit entities that are ‘doing well by doing good.’

Examples of campaigns that would have been eligible for this award include:

- Pedigree, Echo
- Walmart, PSP 2007: Personal Sustainability Project
- Häagen-Dazs, Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees

GoodWorks Effie – Non-Profit
Designed for communications of a public service nature for a non-profit organization or association, including political messages and special interest/trade group communications.

Examples of campaigns that would have been eligible for this award include:

- Oregon Humane Society,End Petlessness Campaign
- Autism Speaks, Odds Campaign

Effie is an award for effective marketing communications. It is not our place to say, for example, that fighting cystic fibrosis is more or less important than working to end urban violence. Like all other Effies, what will be judged and measured is the effectiveness of the communications program created. All GoodWorks entries will undergo the same rigor of evaluation as other Effie entries do.

The GoodWorks competition will run in conjunction with the North American Effie program and will adhere to the same deadlines. The Call For Entries period will kick off on October 14th and officially close on Wednesday, November 4, 2009.
Download the 2010 Entry Kit here.

The GoodWorks-Brand Effie will have a flat fee of $785 per entry.
The GoodWorks-Non-Profit Effie has a flat fee of $385.
As a courtesy to this unique award, the Effies will not be implementing a late fee structure on GoodWorks entries.

All GoodWorks entries will be judged by handpicked, highly experienced industry professionals from around the country. Entries will go through a rigorous first round of judging and those that receive the highest scores will move on to the final round.

Winners will be announced and awarded at a special cocktail reception in February 2010.

Perhaps you have questions regarding the GoodWorks Effie?
Contact us directly via email at or call us at 212-687-3280 ext. 228.

Would you like to suggest a “goodwork” for a GoodWorks Effie Award?
Please Click Here to Submit Your Recommendation and we will reach out to them with all the entry details.

We look forward to celebrating your good works in coming months."

This follows the announcement by the One Club/One Show of their "Green Pencil" award, which you can read about HERE.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yoplait and Breasts. (Advantage: Breasts)

This clip has already taken its swift lap around the interwebs, but I thought I’d chime in with a thought about balance. (First, let me say that I think this program is fantastic. The target and the cause align really well, and Yoplait will make lots of fans with this effort, I’m sure.)

I think this is 95% awesome, and really only falls down a bit in the balance of the creative. Don’t get me wrong, this spot is simple, clear, plenty edgy for their Gen Y target, and obviously it's compelling enough to get forwarded around the ad blogs, so I think it’s succeeding in a big way.

And I love the way they’re involving consumers (even though it’s not tied to purchase); “For every pledge received by October 31, 2009, Yoplait will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, up to $100,000.”

If I were to nit-pick (everyone’s a critic, right), it would be about losing the brand.

This is a great campaign for breast cancer, though I do wish it worked harder for Yoplait. They’ve almost relegated their own brand to sponsorship status (with the exception of the smart URL

Creatively, the lesson here is, if you’re a big brand putting a spotlight on a great cause, don’t get off the stage too much.

(For an example, check out how the brand shares the spotlight in THIS campaign.)

(Thanks to the Cone agency for doing this great work, and spreading the news about it. Kudos.)

(Oh, and please do take the YoplaitPledge on Facebook, HERE

Monday, September 14, 2009

T-mobile (Germany) Does Good

This looks like the kind of spot that should be running worldwide. T-Mobile Deutschland (aka, Deutsch Telekom) has produced this TV spot with the help of a German agency called Philipp & Keuntje (

I don’t speak German, but looks like T-Mobile is doing some “good.”

I saved you the trouble, and typed the German supers into a free online translator. Here’s what came out:

IN GERMAN: Das alte Handy abgeben und wertvolle Ressourcen erhalten.
Die Rechnung online bekommen und die Natur schonen.
Lieblingssongs runterladen und weniger Plastik produzieren.
Grofle Veranderungen fangen klein an.
Erleben, was verbindet.

IN ENGLISH: Deliver the old mobile phone and receive valuable resources.
Get the calculation Online and nature of already.
Favorite songs download and produce less plastic.
Grofle porch rings begin small.*
Experience, what connects. (“millions catch at”)

(* they actually mean, “Big changes, start small.”)

My interpretation? "If you bring in your old phone, you can save the earth. Find out how much online, download your favorite songs, and use less plastic."

Big changes start small, indeed.

Two words: thank God. This, to me, is the trifecta. It’s a big company using its big marketing budget for good, and the creative? Really freaking cool. (Finally!)

The film style makes the scenes look like minuatures; like a diarama/model train set of the world. It sets up the “big changes start small” idea in a very intriguing manner.

Note to T-Mobile US: do this.

Is it strategic? Yes. Any company that reduces its carbon footprint with its products/production is on strategy. Is it involving? Absolutely. Inviting customers to make a difference means that the more they buy, the better off the earth is. Perfect. (And they get something free out of it, apparently. Let’s hope it’s not just the Best Of the Rammstein.)

This encourages purchase for a reason. It makes T-Mobile appear forward-thinking and good-hearted. And so … when someone buys, they not only love the earth, they also like T-Mobile. Brand loyalty built.

My guess is they’ll tell they’re friends about it.

(Thanks Griffin, yet again, for the tip on this one. Great find. Go see Griffin's blog, HERE.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Luxury Brands Go Green

The Wall Street Journal online recently had a great article about how many of the highest-end luxury brands you can think of (Tiffany’s, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Zegna) are turning to a green strategy to boost sales.

Here's an excerpt; “The luxury industry's adoption of a green message reflects the challenges facing some of the world's most glamorous brands. Once able to win customers with the promise of fine design, craftsmanship and service, the luxury business is contending with an aging core clientele and the aftermath of a decade-long expansion that has rendered exclusive brands less so than they used to be.

Those factors have purveyors of high-end fashions scrambling to re-invent their brands, in part by catering to younger shoppers who more often consider their impact on the environment than do traditional luxury-goods buyers.”

You might call it “sharing a worldview” with your customers. Or, offering “more than just a transaction.” These are some of the buzz-worthy phrases at my agency right now. And as luxury brands go green, they're making THAT their message.

Fact is, green campaigns do this, and more.

Luxury brands are often mature brands, and always rely on discretionary spending; for them it’s a great way to re-connect with people. And if you think about it, a green (or “we’re doing good”) message a great way to connect for all kinds of brands.

To read the full WSJ article, go HERE.

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.