Cheers to Great Sustainability Comms
Seeing as a I lead a stone-cold sober life, it’s with a little irony that I’ve been gazing admiringly at a fine selection of spirits, ciders, and lagers this summer. Not because I have a sudden urge to break a six-and-a-half-year stint of abstinence, but because some of our nation’s finest tipples appear to be recognising what we know all too well at Planet Shine…that our very future rests on our ability to connect with and restore our natural world.
First up, Warner’s Gin, a client of ours who we helped develop their sustainability proposition earlier this year and the perfect example of a brand that ‘walks the walk.’ They have a societal commitment to ‘connect people to nature and all it has to offer’, but this doesn’t sit on some far-flung corner of their website, and it’s not hidden on page 67 of an impact report. No, it comes to life through their ‘Nature Marque’ initiative, a first of its kind on-trade accreditation scheme that will be awarded to pubs that have taken the necessary steps to make their outdoor spaces welcome to people and punters of a more furry and feathery nature. Brought to life via a partnership with the Wildlife Trust BCN it seamlessly combines product truths, brand DNA, industry relevance and the passion of everyone who works on the farm. That G&T will have never tasted so good!
Maybe more akin to supporting 22 players running around on finely manicured grass with historical football sponsorship, we now have a brand swapping the grass of football stadiums for seagrass. Before you choke on your pilsner, bear with me a second. Seagrass can sequester carbon up to 35 times faster than a rainforest, making it a major player in helping us tackle climate change. Amplified via a partnership with the WWF and an all-important financial commitment, Carlsberg brought this to life via an integrated campaign and a TV spot featuring a playful seal, proving that sustainability comms doesn’t just have to tick boxes…it can also inspire consumers to get curious and live more sustainably. The beer brand leading the way with their sustainability efforts? Probably.
The WWF are proving to be a popular partner and for good reason. Partnerships in this space can guarantee brands access to unrivalled knowledge and expertise and the reassurance that their efforts are targeted and implemented effectively. Old Mout Cider has recognised this and launched a campaign designed to protect our natural habitats. Interestingly, they front this with that stat that we lose an area of forest the size of a football pitch every two seconds…and if there are any football fans reading this and shrugging their shoulders, it is predicted that by 2050, 23 of the 92 teams in the football league can expect partial or total flooding of their stadiums
I digress…why exactly is a cider brand talking about natural habitats and species preservation you may be wondering? Is this another example of wokeness we can pretend to get angry about? Well, no. The brand draws on their New Zealand roots and their ingrained love of and appreciation for nature and tells the story of their national efforts to save the kiwi from extinction…the bird that features proudly as part of their logo. A seamless, authentic reason for them to be talking about habitat preservation and seeking to educate their drinkers that continued appreciation of such fine summer refreshment may come down to supporting the very causes they are highlighting.
And last, but by no means least, a cider brand I hadn’t heard of before, but one that immediately caught my eye. If it’s the hard yards and attention to detail that count in the climate change battle, then every inch will matter and there’s an awful lot to like about Inch’s Cider. Made from 100% British apples, grown within 40 miles of their Hereford mill, the carbon footprint box was ticked from the off, but it was their partnership with Patch House Plants that really caught my eye. I’m lucky. If I want to indulge my pandemic fuelled connection with the herons, geese, and swans at Verulamium Park then I can take a 15-minute walk, slow down a touch and connect with the natural world around me, but for many in the urban jungle, this opportunity doesn’t present itself so easily. So, the chance to win a range of plants to ‘help you bring home a taste of nature’ is a simple, yet welcome piece of sales promotion activity that is born from a little more imagination than the traditional on-pack offerings we are used to seeing.
We believe the major gap in sustainability comms is the willingness of brands to apply imagination and the campaign magic they have done for years to get people fired up and curious enough to learn more and start making behaviour changes. The boldest brands are seeing that taking this approach is not only the right thing to do, but also allows them to grow in alignment with the planet. And most of us at Planet Shine will be drinking to that.