Best Global Green Brands 2014

doing good

Reinventing the Toilet, and Feeling Flush with Pride

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 23, 2014 10:28 AM

The forerunner to the modern flush system was patented in 1775 by London watchmaker Alexander Cummings, and ever since, designers and inventors have tried to create a better mousetrap for a basic human activity. But access to a flush toilet divides the globe. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide, or two out of every five, don’t have such access.

The need is great (nearly 1.5 million children die each year from food and water tainted with fecal matter) and the category is ripe for innovation, which spurred the Gates Foundation to launch the Reinvent the Toilet challenge in 2011 as part of its commitment to water, sanitation and hygiene.

We recently profiled American Standard CEO Jay Gould, whose company has partnered with the Gates Foundation on Flush for Good, an initiative to improve sanitation and community health in emerging markets.

The Gates fund has helped other such innovations as the Loowatt waterless toilet invented by Virginia Gardiner has raised nearly £2m in funding in total. A biodegradable lining runs around the bowl that pushes waste into a cartridge that gets broken down by microorganisms into biogas and fertilizer. The technology this week had a successful debut at the Latitude Festival in the UK.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Yes to Giving: Target Aims to Donate $25 Million to School Kids in Need

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 9, 2014 02:02 PM

According to a 2013 study, US public school teachers spent about $3.2 billion on classroom supplies in the 2012-2013 school year, an estimated $1.6 billion from their own pockets, or about $500 a year per teacher. And that's not including what families provide to teachers so their kids are equipped to learn.

That's why Target is upping its corporate citizenship commitment with a variation on TOMS one-for-one model by partnering with Yoobi, a Target-exclusive brand of colorful school supplies and a tag line that promotes the partnership, “One for you, one for me.” Today, Target announced it's aiming to donate up to $25 millon in supplies this upcoming back-to-school as part of this education commitment.

Yoobi, a clever twist on "You Be," launched at Target.com and in-store on June 1 as part of its Made to Matter collection of pro-social brands. For any purchase from the colorful collection of folders, notebooks, pens, crayons, glue sticks and rulers, Target will contribute to classroom packs that contain 900 items, about enough for one K-3 class of 30 students per year. Continue reading...

brands with a cause

CSR-Building Opportunities Abound with the Changing Face of Philanthropy

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 8, 2014 10:39 AM

Philanthropy is being redefined with the rising tides of digital media, allowing the pursuit of greater CSR initiatives and creation of more conscious companies like Participant Media, created in 2004 by eBay co-founder Jeffrey S. Skoll, as an activist entertainment company that produces movies with a message.

Lincoln, and encouraging civic engagement and antifracking film, Promised Land, are two examples of Participant-backed films. To deduce the best way to reach audiences and motivate them to participate, Participant is collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Knight Foundation and the USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

To that end, the team has developed the Participant Index, similar to Nielsen TV ratings, that compiles raw audience numbers for issue-driven media and delivers an online survey for up to 350 viewers per project with questions about emotional response and level of engagement. 

On a scale of 100, for instance, The Square, a documentary on political upheaval in Egypt, scored 97 out of 100 for emotional involvement, but only an 87 for provoking action, for a combined average of 92. However, "Farmed and Dangerous," Chipotle’s web series about industrial agriculture, reached 99 on the action scale and 94 for emotion for an average of 97—thus interpreted as having higher impact than The Square.Continue reading...

diversity watch

Burger King Courts LGBT Community and Millennials With Proud Whopper

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2014 12:21 PM

Pride Month may have just come to a close, but Burger King is looking to make it last a bit longer with the showcasing of its Proud Whopper, a burger sold in a San Francisco location during last week’s Gay Pride festivities that is no different from other Whoppers but came encased in brightly-colored paper.

When the burger was unwrapped, the text inside read, “We are all the same inside.” The brand unveiled a video today about the burger (watch below) as the chain is working “to connect with customers, particularly with the younger individuals fast-food chains are known for courting,” the Associated Press reports.

"A burger has never made me cry before," a young woman says in BK's pride burger spot. Reaching consumers on a personal level was also the rationale behind the brand’s recent replacement of its longtime “Have It Your Way” slogan with “Be Your Way.”Continue reading...

brands with a cause

One Million Strong: At Warby Parker, CSR and the Bottom Line See Eye to Eye

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 25, 2014 04:38 PM

Warby Parker announced today that it has sold—and distributed—1 million pairs of glasses through its one-for-one model, a mode of conscious retail that has since spread like wildfire after startups like TOMS Shoes and Warby made it mainstream.  

But the brand's CSR-driven business strategy is only one part of its extraordinary success in the retail eyewear market that's dominated by large-scale, big name distributors. Warby instead redesigned the online retail experience to be a seamless bridge between in-store interaction and online convenience, allowing in-home try-ons free of charge and bargain prices for trendy frames. 

"It's sort of those moments that we find just win people over and generate good will, so that they're likely to tell their friends about us," co-founder Neil Blumenthal told Fast Company. "... Our business model is designed to make people happy. Whether it's selling a $500 product for $95 or having a human being answer the phone within six seconds when you call."Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Pro Bono: How the Advertising Community Can Help Nonprofits like (RED)

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2014 02:49 PM

Celebrity musician and activist extraordinaire Bono took home the inaugural Cannes LionHeart award for his humanitarian work, but not before he called the entire advertising community to action to get behind his nonprofit (RED) organization, which helps fight AIDS. 

Calling the marketing industry the "creative engine of capitalism" and "the world’s thermostat" to tackle problems like AIDS, Bono noted that the majority of the foundation's funding comes from government organizations despite a growing number of consumer product partnerships and events.  

Founded in 2006, Apple was one of (RED)’s earliest supporters, even though many wouldn't know it. Bono joked with Apple's Jony Ive, who presented the award, calling Apple "annoyingly quiet" about its participation in (RED) thanks to Steve Jobs' aversion to including the brand's iconic parentheses on any Apple products or in any Apple stores. Apple has, however, raised $75 million for the cause.Continue reading...

brand survivors

Regional Favorite Tastykake Isn't Letting Its Age Slow Down Expansion Plans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 25, 2014 08:09 PM

Philadelphia’s Tasty Baking Co. may not have quite made it to 100 years old, with its 2011 sale to Flowers Foods for $141 million, but its star brand, Tastykakes, is an official centenarian. 

The brand, which has been a longtime regional favorite, is getting some well-deserved national exposure under Flowers, which has expanded the sale of the brand's offerings, including Butterscotch Krimpets, Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, and all the rest, to over 5,000 delivery routes that stretch from Maine to Florida and as west as Nevada. 

"When they bought Tastykake, they didn't buy Tastykake for Philadelphia,” George J. Latella, a visiting professor of food marketing at St. Joseph's University and a former Tasty Baking sales executive, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “They bought it for the brand, to take the brand all over the place."

And with a vote of confidence from Flowers CEO Allen Shiver, who told analysts recently that "Tastykake is proving to be a strong player across our markets," more consumers than ever will get to revel in the brand's big birthday celebration this year.Continue reading...

cause marketing

7UP Tries Cause Marketing with Project 7, but Is It Pepsi Refresh Déjà Vu?

Posted by Dale Buss on February 21, 2014 10:52 AM

Clearly there are more than seven crying needs of people around the world. But Project 7 is trying to at at least skim the surface. And now 7UP is helping the company do just that through a new and unique bottle-cap promotion.

Purchasers of specially marked 20-ounce bottles of 7UP in the US will be able to find a unique code under the bottle cap, login online and select one of the seven areas of need to which they'd like their donation to go: "Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, Quench the Thirsty, Teach them Well and Save the Earth," as Project 7 describes them.

"This approach gives the consumer an opportunity to pick an area of need," David Falk, vice president of marketing for Dr Pepper Snapple Group, told brandchannel. "And that's one thing we truly loved—giving the consumer the power to choose."Continue reading...

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