In the next episode of the recent Ad Age podcast, we discuss purpose marketing, and I give some insights and viewpoints on hits and misses. Check out the article and podcast (taken directly from Ad Age) below:

As part of Ad Age’s weekly Marketer’s Brief podcast, on a monthly basis, we will explore the best and worst purpose marketing ads with Thomas Kolster, founder and creative director at Copenhagen-based Goodvertising Agency, which advises companies and organizations on how to turn environmental, societal and health risks into market opportunities.  Below, Kolster’s opinions on some recent campaigns.

Purpose Marketing Misses

In a campaign called “Nature or Nothing” that ran in Mexico, Mercedes sought to promote electric vehicles with images from nature that resembled the design of its three-pointed star logo—such as a lion’s mouth or leaf veins. But environmental groups quickly accused the company of greenwashing and hijacked the campaign, which was credited to Leo Burnett.

A group called Wherefrom, which scores products on their sustainability, ran its own version of the campaign, depicting the Mercedes logo design inside pictures showing the environmental impact of climate change, like fires, storms and drought. The agency London’s 10 Days was behind the campaign. In an Instagram post, the group alluded to lawsuit activists have filed against Mercedes parent Daimler for not doing enough to combat climate change.

Kolster called the Mercedes ad “out of touch” adding that it is an example of brands “hijacking nature imagery.”

“It’s a pretty far-fetched thing from this industrialized product to talk about nature. Let’s get real,” he said.

Mercedes has taken issue with the criticism, telling the Drum magazinethat “The original claim of the Mexican Earth Day communication was Spanish ’Nuestro futuro siempre ha estado aquí’ (EN: ’Our future has always been here’). We did not create nor approve the English claim ’nature or nothing.’”

Kolster’s other miss comes from the airline Lufthansa, which is out with a campaign from DDB Munich called “Make Change Fly.” The effort promotes attempts by the airline to modernize its fleet with more environmentally friendly aircraft with the goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

Said Kolster: “There’s nothing in that ad that flies at all.” The spot, he says “fails the dinner party test,” adding “they are saying all these things …and it just doesn’t come off you would really talk about that way.”

“Don’t bring nature into this,” he said (referring back to the Mercedes ad.) “It’s a clear miss.”


© 2020 Thomas Kolster. All Rights Reserved.

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