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...

viral buzz

J.J. Abrams, Disney and Lucasfilm Sweeten Star Wars: Force for Change

Posted by Michael Waltzer on July 21, 2014 12:14 PM

Who wouldn't love to become part of the world of Star Wars? Fans of the hit movie franchise directed by George Lucas now have the chance to be cast in the next J.J. Abrams-helmed installment, while at the same time supporting a pro-social partnership that will help thousands of underprivileged children around the world.

The initiative is called Star Wars: Force for Change, which Lucasfilm owner Disney has already committed $1 million to, and fans can contribute directly through the Omaze platform.

These contributions will support UNICEF's Innovation Labs and other projects, such as portable, solar powered learning kits that will provide underprivileged children access to educational materials, mobile phone application development to help children reunite with their families during emergencies, and a text messaging solution that will provide infant medical test results from clinics in half the time.

With free entry or a donation (strongly encouraged), the chance to be a part of the Star Wars universe becomes real.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

GLAAD Celebrates Brands Doing it Right This Pride Month (and Beyond)

Posted by Rich Ferraro on June 9, 2014 09:12 PM

We asked Rich Ferraro, who has been tracking and writing about LGBT images in advertising and marketing for the past decade, to share with us some of the most innovative 2014 LGBT Pride campaigns. As Vice President of Communications & Programs at GLAAD, he oversees GLAAD's work to advance LGBT images and stories across media, including advertising, marketing and digital media.

"GLAAD regularly meets with brands and corporates to offer best practices and to advocate for LGBT inclusion both internally and in external marketing efforts," Ferraro told us. "We also track LGBT images in advertising and hold a panel during Advertising Week in New York City each year to discuss trends in LGBT advertising." We're honored to share his thoughts on outstanding brand campaigns this Pride Month and beyond,  and invite you to share your thoughts on the brands you'd nominate in the comments below.

This Pride month, mainstream advertising is coming out of the closet, with visible and innovative LGBT Pride campaigns from a diverse range of brands. Brands have found that it's a smart business decision to stand with LGBT people and the majority of Americans who support our community today. Apparel, travel, tech, and food brands are all displaying their LGBT pride and demonstrating that the industry has moved a long way from the days when LGBT advertising was limited to beer and spirits. 

The LGBT community now expects diverse, innovative marketing efforts that reach mainstream audiences. It's no longer enough for a brand to simply have a float in a Pride Parade. Nine brand campaigns we're GLAAD to see, and why:Continue reading...

branding together

ConAgra, P&G Put Rivalries Aside To Fight Childhood Hunger

Posted by Dale Buss on March 12, 2014 11:47 AM

ConAgra and Procter & Gamble are setting down the longtime rivalries of the companies and their brands these days for a special campaign aimed at fighting the surprising and stubborn prevalence of childhood hunger in America.

In the Childhood Hunger Ends Here campaign, the CPG giants are joining forces to support a campaign that ConAgra began in 2010 to highlight the problem of the nearly 16 million children who are said to be living in "food-insecure" households in America. The effort will donate up to 7 million meals.

"We can make joint calls on retailers, and that helps retailers look at it as a bigger, more powerful program," Brett Groom, senior vice president for content integration and activation at ConAgra, told the New York Times. "We certainly hope to build this into a multi-year relationship."Continue reading...

campaigns

Spray it Forward: Kenneth Cole Taps Google Glass for Good Deeds Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 5, 2014 03:55 PM

Combining wearable tech, a modern "stand-up" guy and a pay-it-forward ethos, Kenneth Cole's "Man Up for Mankind Challenge" asks men to perform a "gentlemanly deed" every day for the next three weeks—21 Days, 21 Deeds—in return for eligibility to win a Mankind toolkit valued at $1,000.

While Diane Von Furstenberg was the first fashion designer to put Google Glass on the runway, as she did during her New York Fashion Week show in 2012, Kenneth Cole is aiming to be Google Glass fashion pioneer of another sort, but featuring the app in a campaign for its new Mankind fragrance. (L'Oreal, meanwhile, is using the device internally, as a teaching tool for its network of stylists.)

Once Kenneth Cole's augmented reality app is downloaded, users of the geek chic wearable computer will receive an alert in their viewfinder with a reminder of that day's deed, such as the gentlemanly “offer to carry a lady’s bag,” “buy a stranger a coffee,” or “donate old clothes to a local shelter.”

They're being encouraged to snap and share photos of themselves in action on a dedicated site and to tweet their deeds during the three-week challenge with the hashtag #manupformankind. Non-Glass wearers can participate using a smartphone or digital camera, too.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...

The Big Game

Axe Touts Peace and Love at Super Bowl 2014 a Year After Offering Space Travel

Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2014 11:10 AM

Calling it "the Axe-is of evil" probably wouldn't have flown. But with its new Super Bowl ad that depicts North Korean and Middle Eastern dictators as surprising peaceniks, Axe is continuing in its strain of brand iconoclasm.

This year's Super Bowl TV commercial introduces a new line, Axe Peace, and strikes a somber note rather than the brand's characteristic light humor. "In a world filled with war," the voiceover begins, in earnest movie-trailer fashion, "sometimes the most powerful weapon is love." The 60s-feeling campaign even implores viewers to support a global pro-social effort called Peace One Day in September.

While sharing the Super Bowl platform, the loved-up approach represents a far cry from last year's Axe ad, which saw an astronaut show up on a beach and gain the adoration of a young woman—even at the expense of a lifeguard who'd just saved her life.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Nike, Coca-Cola Talk Climate Change, Corporate Citizenship at Davos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 27, 2014 06:09 PM

As the titans of business and politics gathered in Davos for the World Economic Forum, one day was devoted to panel talks on the threat of climate change, albeit more about economic self-interest and gain rather than righting the wrongs dealt to Mother Nature’s delicate balance.

Climate change is now officially recognized as an “economically disruptive force,” and both Coke and Nike outlined their efforts to deal with the fall-out at Davos, which also honored Water.org co-founder Matt Damon.

“Increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years,” Jeffrey Seabright, Coca-Cola's VP environment and water resources said, identifying major problems disrupting the company’s supply of sugar cane, sugar beets, and citrus for its fruit juices. “When we look at our most essential ingredients, we see those events as threats.”

Coca Cola, which took up a more strict outlook on sustainability in 2011, has installed one million drinks coolers that use natural refrigerants, replacing the climate warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) previously used, claiming this equals removing 10 million cars from the roads over a 10-year period.Continue reading...

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