In today's social climate, we're increasingly seeing the presence of socially responsible advertising and marketing campaigns across our news feeds.
From campaigns like the most recent Gillette ad that combated the idea of 'toxic masculinity' to the polarising #bloodnormal campaign promoted by Libra - there's been no shortage of examples of social media marketing that's pushing the boundaries.
As defined by the Global Leadership Bulletin, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is;
"... an ethical management concept where companies aim to integrate social, economic and environmental concerns along with the consideration of human rights into their business operations."
So which companies have executed the best divisive CSR marketing campaigns this year, and gained notable social media traction?
We explore the campaigns that nailed CSR and made a difference in the past few years, here.
1. P&G: 'Love over Bias' Campaign
As the world's largest advertiser with a brand that influences the lives of five billion people everyday, P&G was challenged with executing a campaign in combination with the Winter Olympic Games.
It made sense. During the Winter Olympics, people from all different walks of life congregate to celebrate athletic excellence. The whole world is watching, with global media attention focused on a single event - so a campaign that celebrated diversity and addressed a challenge that's close to viewer's hearts was the right direction.
The main idea of the 'Love over Bias' campaign was to showcase how bias and discrimination effects a variety of different people throughout their lives, and how a mother's love can overcome this particular plight. A clever TVC was created, alongside a series of Snapchat stories, showcasing the different struggles that Olympians faced due to bias along their journey to becoming the athletes they are today, and how a mother's love helped them to overcome adversity.
Paired with powerful copy, and an underlying message that resonated with almost anyone, the campaign took off.
The campaign's social media impact
As far as social reach was concerned, the campaign took off with pace after LGBT rights advocate and prime-time television friendly-face, Ellen DeGeneres premiered the clip on her show.
This sparked a wave of testimonials shared on Twitter, where Mum's posted their own tear-jerking accounts of moments where their kids faced similar racial, gender, sexual orientation or class bias, under the #LoveOverBias. The initial tweet from Ellen herself, gained a phenomenal 25,000 like and 6,100 retweets.
The Ellen release of the Youtube video gained over 170,000 views, and 3,700 likes, as well as a reported 300 million video views and more than five billion earned media impressions globally. But perhaps the best measure of how well this campaigned tracked, was the social sentiment.
With comments littering social media feeds such as; "I’m not crying you are", "One of the best ads I’ve ever seen" and "Gets me every time", along side the critical acclaim of winning the 'Social Justice' category in the 3rd Annual Shorty Awards in Social Media, there was no doubt this particularly socially responsible corporate campaign made a dent in the hearts of their audience.
You can check out the video itself here.
2. Lacoste: 'Save our Species' Campaign
Fashion designer brand and retail sales giant, Lacoste, made it's mark in corporate social responsibility marketing in late 2018 with it's 'Save our Species' campaign.
The campaign idea was simple and undeniable brilliant. Lacoste took it's iconic 'crocodile' logo that adorns every clothing item and accessory the company produces, and designed a limited edition line that swapped out the beloved crocodile for 10 threatened species. The number of polos released represented the number of each species remaining in the wild. For those wondering, that's 3,520 of all ten species.
In addition, Lacoste pledged to support the IUCN in protecting nature and wildlife through a three year partnership. All in all, this campaign was an excellent use of brand recognition, iconology and design, paired with corporate social responsibility that just made sense.
The campaign's social media impact
The impact and success of the campaign was immediately undeniable. After its launch during Paris Fashion Week, the campaign went viral across multiple platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, followed by a jump into mainstream media coverage and press in a matter of days.
The polo shirts themselves sold out in less than 24-hours, while campaign videos and other content was shared over 600,000 times. Naturally, the awareness and good-doing for threatened species, Lacoste and IUCN rippled across audiences.
On top of this, Lacoste was praised for their forward-thinking campaign, receiving an unprecedented ten Cannes Lions Advertising Industry Awards, and a letter from the Mexican Government itself, to thank Lacoste for raising awareness of the Vaquita’s plight (just one of the endangered animals highlighted).
In terms of sentiment, the only backlash that could be found in the comment sections, was the complaint that there were so few shirts available they were near impossible to get a hold of.
However, with an analytical eye, this was quite obviously Lacoste's point they were trying to drive home: there simply aren't many left.
3. Google Cardboard: #prideforeveryone Campaign
The Google #prideforeveryone campaign was a moment of absolute excellence in terms of corporate social responsibility and an act that really made a difference.
The campaign took on the LGBTQ+ issue head on, highlighting that around the world, "many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people do not have equal rights and are not free to express themselves." In fact, in more than 70 countries worldwide, it's a crime to be gay.
Combining the need to shed light on the situation of global inequality, in unison with Pride Marches occurring across the world in more liberated countries, Google Cardboard stumbled upon the perfect use of their technology.
The company used their Virtual Reality 360° cameras to document global Pride parades and share with members of the LGBTQ+ community who couldn't march in person.
They then released a moving video telling the story of community members who experienced the technology meets social movement phenomenon.
As put by Google themselves;
"Pride is about celebrating who you are and who you love. But millions around the world don't have the ability to take part. With this immersive 360° film, now anyone can experience parades from around the globe, from São Paulo to Sydney, on your computer, mobile device or with Google."
The campaign's social media impact
In terms of numbers, the reach of the YouTube video itself was impressive, generating over 925,000 views, 9,700 likes and shares across Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
The sentiment shared in the comment sections was for the most part positive, with members of the LGBTQ+ community expressing their thanks to the global conglomerate for doing their part in helping those who need it.
But most importantly, if you watch to the end of the viral video itself, you can see firsthand the real-life impact that a CSR campaign like this one had on real people, who were able to use technology to experience an event they otherwise couldn't.
Kudos, Google. That's CSR campaigning done right!
So what are the elements that made these CSR campaigns tick?
The common denominators that these successful campaigns share are pretty easily identifiable:
- A cause that your audience can get behind
- An idea that makes sense for your brand
- Good creative and a seamless social media roll-out
If you can find a creative way to really nail these three factors, you'll have a viral corporate social responsibility campaign on your hands.
Want to see how your current campaigns are doing against your competitors? Check out your scoreboard, here.