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Putting Sustainability into Advertising: How Brands Can Make a Positive Impact


The team at CLICKON on how the advertising industry is taking the first steps on its sustainability journey but is ultimately not moving fast enough

Putting Sustainability into Advertising: How Brands Can Make a Positive Impact

A growing understanding of the impact of consumer behaviour on the environment has prompted a rise in the number of brands incorporating sustainability into their advertising strategies as they aim to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. However, according to the World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) Sustainable Marketing 2030 report, whilst the advertising industry is taking the first steps on its sustainability journey they are ultimately not moving fast enough.

Based on responses from 938 marketers across 48 countries, alongside input from global CMOs and sustainability experts, the research finds 90% of advertisers agreeing that sustainability programmes need to be more ambitious. But with 39% just starting out on those agendas, there are clearly barriers to be addressed.

In a mark of progress, 41% now have a sustainability story they are proud to communicate, rising from 25% two years ago. There are several brands that are currently using sustainability as a key part of their advertising strategy, and are doing so in a way that resonates with consumers. One company that has been at the forefront of this trend is Unilever. The company has recently launched a pilot programme that rewards viewers for watching ads about sustainability. The ads appear on social media, and viewers are rewarded with coupons or contributions to worthy causes linked to the brand's purpose, such as food waste reduction for Hellmann's mayonnaise. By encouraging consumers to engage with sustainability-focused content, Unilever is not only promoting its own sustainability efforts, but it is also helping to raise awareness about these issues more broadly. Conny Braams, chief digital and commercial officer, Unilever said: “In recent years we have seen an increased sense of urgency to tackle the climate crisis and its harmful impact on people’s lives and livelihoods before the window of opportunity slams shut. Businesses, governments, and NGOs need to collaborate in new ways and create systemic change at an accelerated pace. At the same time, there is pressure on brands and marketers to respond to increasing consumer expectations for sustainable choices. We have an important role to play to make sustainable choices simple and preferred for the consumer.”

Outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia has long been committed to environmental sustainability. Patagonia has a number of initiatives focused on reducing waste and carbon emissions, and it actively promotes these efforts through its marketing campaigns. For example, in 2018, Patagonia launched a new line of clothing made entirely from recycled materials, and it promoted this line heavily through social media and other channels.

Coca-Cola has also made sustainability a key part of its advertising efforts. The company has launched a recycling programme called ‘Give It Back,’ which rewards customers for recycling their used packaging. Coca-Cola has also committed to using more recycled materials in its packaging and has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The WFA study demonstrates that marketers recognise that consumers want to live more sustainably and it’s marketing’s responsibility to enable people to do so. However, simply talking about sustainability is not enough. Brands that are able to successfully incorporate sustainability into their advertising strategy in a way that connects with consumers are more likely to win their loyalty and trust. By demonstrating a genuine commitment to sustainability, brands can show authenticity and build a strong relationship with consumers who are increasingly concerned about environmental and social issues. In addition to promoting their own sustainability efforts, these brands are also helping to raise awareness and drive positive change, both within their own industry and beyond.

Benjamin Potter, CEO North America & global creative director, CLICKON commented: "The brands that are making it their mission to create a more sustainable future are the ones that will truly succeed. By incorporating sustainability messaging into their advertising efforts and offering rewards for sustainable behaviours, these brands are not only appealing to consumers who value sustainability but are also making a positive impact on the environment and society as a whole.”

If you are a brand looking to produce advertising campaigns sustainably, CLICKON can help. As an all-in-one content solution for the world's most forward-thinking organisations, we are committed to reimagining content for a new era of entertainment. Our team of experts can work with you to create innovative and impactful campaigns that are both efficient and sustainable, helping you connect with environmentally conscious consumers in a meaningful way.

With a focus on creativity, sustainability, and innovation, CLICKON is well-positioned to help its clients succeed in today's fast-paced media landscape.

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CLICKON, Fri, 26 May 2023 11:25:00 GMT