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Marketing and Comms

How brands are evolving in the area of sustainability marketing and communications — and how their stakeholders are asserting their own needs and preferences.

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China’s Biggest Movie Ever Is an ‘Eco-Fable’ Rom-Com About Evils of Human Development

A new romantic comedy with an environmental message has become the highest-earning film ever shown in China. The Mermaid, a Chinese-Hong Kong co-production, raked in an impressive 2.7 billion yuan ($417 million) in its first two weeks in theaters.

Touching Your Soul: Responsible Brands, the Survival of our Species and the New Nutty

Great brands don’t stop at connecting with mere outward expressions of who we think we are or what we want to be. The very best brands connect with long-held mystical beliefs underlying our rational selves, the parts of our sub-consciousness that manages and helps us to cope with all the irrational, arbitrary, inexplicable unknowns in life. These thoughts take shape in symbols forged from ancient stories reflecting patterns of thought and beliefs about how we understand ourselves. Carl Jung argues these narratives and their archetypal characters are universally present in our individual psyches, to which we are powerfully attracted as a means of giving life meaning and managing reality.

Wendy’s New Campaign Suggests Local Sourcing Is What Makes Its Burgers ‘Deliciously Different’

In 2014, nearly 90 percent of Americans said they consider where a food product is produced when making a purchasing decision, and about two thirds said they would pay more for food that is produced closer to home. As the local food movement continues to become more mainstream in North America, it seems inevitable that brands will jump on the bandwagon.

Artists Covered Sweden’s Tallest Peak with a Blanket to Help Slow Glacial Melting

Climate change is threatening Sweden’s highest peak. The glacier atop Mount Kebnekaise, the country’s tallest mountain, has been shrinking by an average of a meter a year for the past 15 years due to rising temperatures. As a symbolic gesture, artists Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström installed a reflective blanket to keep the mountain top's snow a little colder and prevent it from melting.

VW to 'Generously Compensate' 600,000 U.S. Diesel Vehicle Owners

On Friday, Volkswagen (VW) postponed the publication of its 2015 results and delayed its annual shareholders' meeting “due to remaining open questions and the resulting valuation calculations relating to the diesel emissions issue.” Despite the uncertainty about the financial fallout of the scandal, the head of its claims fund said that the company will offer “generous compensation packages” to the roughly 600,000 U.S.

McDonald’s Giving Books Instead of Toys in Happy Meals Through Valentine’s Day

Through Monday, February 15, McDonald’s stores in the U.S. will be swapping toys for books in its Happy Meals. Four children’s books have been specially printed to fit in small Happy Meal boxes, and some stores will have Spanish versions available. By the end of this year, the company expects to have distributed more than 50 million books to children – enough to provide a book to every child in America under the age of 12.

Play Your Part: Activating on Purpose Key for Successful Engagement for Sports, Brands

The popularity of team sports in the U.S. — and the idolatry surrounding star players — makes them a perfect platform for reaching fans and encouraging behavior change on a massive scale. With 190 million fans expected to tune in on Sunday, the Super Bowl represents a unique opportunity to engage a large and somewhat unruly portion of the population to live and act more consciously.

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Sustainability Marketers

A new year means four more quarters to pitch, market and advertise your sustainable product or brand to eager consumers across the globe. The world is shifting toward environmental consciousness whether you believe it or not, and reaching consumers in this product climate requires more than just a big marketing budget and hollow promises of greater social responsibility.These four pieces of advice are my recommendations to sustainable brand marketers moving into the new year.

Kind Bars CEO Isn’t Nuts about FDA Label Rules

Since March, snack food company KIND Snacks has been facing scrutiny over the labeling of its products. The company has built its brand on its use of natural ingredients in healthy snack products, but according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), several of its bars shouldn’t be called “healthy” at all. KIND agreed to make changes to the labels in breach, but is also politely asking the FDA to update its rules.

Nat Geo, Aronofsky Aim to Create 'Inspired Stewards' of the Earth with 'One Strange Rock' Series

21st Century Fox's National Geographic Channel has teamed with Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky for “One Strange Rock,” an event series exploring the conditions that make Earth the only planet known to sustain life. The project is in preproduction and plans to film for 100 weeks around the world and in outer space, using micro- and macro-photography technology and bringing cameras where they've never been before.

Campbell Will Disclose GMOs on All Labels, Urges Feds to Make It Mandatory

Whether or not you believe that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe for human consumption, the fact remains that the majority of American consumers support the labeling of GMO foods. Genetically engineered crops might be here to stay, but even so, it may be in the industry’s best interest to label products that contain them.

FTC Fines 4 Major Retailers Collective $1.3M for Falsely Labeling Rayon Textiles as 'Bamboo'

The Federal Trade Commission announced complaints and proposed court orders barring four national retailers from mislabeling and advertising rayon textiles as made of “bamboo,” and requiring them to pay civil penalties totaling $1.3 million.

EPA Accused of 'Covert Propaganda' for Social Media Campaign Behind Clean Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke the law with its social media campaign to promote the >Clean Water Rule, according to a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruling from earlier this week.

Video: ‘Koch Brothers’ Sponsor Star-Studded Climate Denial Anthem

A satire music video in the style of the 1985 collaboration “We Are The World,” highlights the flawed thinking of climate change deniers, with the help of some celebrities. Mocking the ultra-wealthy Koch brothers, Beau Bridges plays both David and Charles Koch, and invites “the world’s hottest conservative pop stars to sing a song.”

Report: How 15 Major Consumer Brands Are (or Aren't) Effectively Leveraging Sustainability Communication

It’s commonly assumed that mainstream Main Street isn’t interested in sustainability. Shoppers will buy on price, performance and reliability. They’re swayed by celebrity endorsements and some of them want to be associated with stuff that’s cool. But being sustainable? Not a chance.

COP21: Challenges from UN, MIT Seek Climate-Resilience Solutions from Around the Globe

Today at the UN Climate Change conference (COP21), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate CoLab, in collaboration with the United Nations Secretary-General, announced the launch of a series of global, online contests to help strengthen the resilience of vulnerable countries to respond to climate-related hazards.

Add Transparency to Boost Your Bottom Line

Transparency is a new playing field that many companies will find themselves on, whether or not they want to be there. Rather than resist and risk failure, companies and the customers they serve will benefit by embracing transparency today. In fact, as more consumers demand proof that the products they buy fulfill the promise of the label, transparency is becoming a key differentiator that sets successful companies apart.

How to Communicate Sustainability at a Brand Level

SB ‘15 London’s third and final afternoon kicked off with a colourful session with Matthew Yeomans, founder of Sustainly, a knowledge consultancy and advisory platform based around bringing together the worlds of sustainability and communications.Yeomans discussed the results of Sustainly’s The Big Brand Report: How 175 Major Brands Do and Don’t Talk about Sustainability, which looks at if and how brands are talking to their customers about sustainability. The workshop revealed what is and isn’t working for brand-level social media communications.

How to (and How Not to) Use Humour, 'Macho-Eco' Identities to Communicate Sustainability

This Tuesday afternoon breakout session saw Thomas Kolster, founder and creative director at the Goodvertising Agency, and Kerry Eustice, Editorial Partnerships Editor at The Guardian Sustainable Business, share their perspectives on changing the conversation around sustainability values.Early on, Kolster asserted that sustainability advertising is not doing enough to drive change, as it tends to be less engaging than other advertising messages. He and Eustice discussed dos, don’ts and new approaches that could change the way the message of sustainability is communicated.

How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Sustainability Communication

Do people care about sustainability? And how do we start to have the kind of influence that we want to have? Those were the opening questions from Betsy Henning, the CEO and founder of AHA! — a content-focused agency from Vancouver — as she kicked off this energetic Monday afternoon workshop at SB’15 London.

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