6 Sustainability-focused promotional campaigns

Karen Thompson / May 2023

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As a promotional marketing agency we are increasingly being asked to build campaigns that not only engage and excite customers, but also communicate a brand’s sustainability message in a impactful way. Here’s why…

Sustainability is no longer a niche trend; it has become a top priority for consumers all around the world.

Research has confirmed that 75% of global consumers feel that environmental sustainability has become increasingly important to them, and 66% of consumers ranked sustainability as one of the top five drivers behind a purchase decision, according to the 2022 Global Sustainability Study.

Brands that don’t put sustainability at the heart of their marketing strategies risk being left behind.

Partnering with environmental charities

When brands create partnerships with environmental charities, they not only help protect the planet but also engage their shared target audience in meaningful ways. On-pack campaigns are an excellent way to achieve these objectives, providing a valuable platform for charities to fundraise, educate, and raise awareness, while also driving sales uplift for their FMCG partners.

We’ve helped many brands with sustainable credentials build promotions that run alongside a like-minded charitable organisation.

Carlsberg & WWF

One fantastic example of such a partnership is the collaboration between Carlsberg and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The beer giant showed its commitment to ocean wildlife protection by prominently featuring the WWF messaging across promotional packs whilst pledging to donate 50p to the charity for every special-edition pack purchased. The on-pack promotion ran alongside a TV advert explaining how the campaign was supporting seagrass restoration. Donations amounted to £265,000 towards this sustainability-driven project.

Birds Eye – Peas For Bees

Again partnering with WWF, Birds Eye has launched its ‘Peas For Bees’ campaign to highlight the importance of biodiversity in the nation’s food chain.

To give consumers the opportunity to support biodiversity in their own green spaces, Birds Eye ran an on-pack promotion with 20,000 wildflower seed boxes up for grabs. Shoppers could enter the on-pack-promotion by simply taking a photo of the front of the pack and uploading it to the dedicated microsite to instantly discover if they were a winner.

Running alongside the campaign, they have also pledged to plant 75 acres of wildflowers across the UK in the next three years to mark their 75th Anniversary.

Camden Hells Brewery &  TRAID

Another standout campaign we’ve worked on is developing the partnership between Camden Town Brewery and the Textile Recycling and International Development (TRAID) charity. With the aim of tackling clothes waste and its impact on the environment, this on-pack campaign was a truly innovative and exciting initiative. The “12-Pack Give Back” promotion transformed Camden Hells Lager 12-packs into reusable freepost donation parcels, allowing customers to donate unwanted clothing to TRAID free of charge. This not only helped reduce waste but also raised awareness about the importance of recycling and sustainable practices.

Premier Foods – brands join force

Premier Foods has launched its new partnership with FareShare in a bid to tackling food waste and supporting those in food poverty.

Together they are running marketing campaigns such as the Tesco ‘Win a Dinner Give a Dinner campaign’, an on-pack competition on selected lines of Oxo, Bisto, Paxo, Lloyd Grossman and Sharwood’s. Out on shelf now, this breadth of brand involvement offers a rare dominance across the aisles, making it impossible to miss.

The promotion allows customers the chance to win £10 vouchers to purchase a ‘dinner’ for themselves and their family, for each competition winner, £10 is donated to FareShare. Combining a prize for consumers with a charitable gift will no doubt have broad appeal and do well in driving sales uplift.

Greener Prizes

Even if a brand is not partnered with a specific environmental charity, it is still possible to run really strong on-pack promotions with a sustainable message. Simply offering greener prizes is one way to achieve this, although brands must take care to be authentic and live up to their claims around sustainability.

Charlie Bigham – Win electric scooters

Fine food company Charlie Bigham’s has promoted their very authentic green credentials for the past 15 years. They package their meals in wooden rather than plastic trays, source environmentally-friendly green electricity and employ a zero-waste-to-landfill policy.

So its fitting that their latest on-pack promotion offers greener prizes too – the chance to win Electric scooters.

Yeo Valley – sustainable Yeokens

Yeo Valley Organic has just launched their new reusable lids, which they’ve made available to consumers via their long-running on-pack ‘Yeokens’ loyalty scheme.

The reusable lids are designed to be washed by hand or put in the dishwasher for the consumer to reuse. Consumers can go to the Yeo Valley website and exchange Yeokens – earned by redeeming codes from Yeo Valley packaging – to obtain their own lid, which is set to replace the previous clip-lid design.

As always, the Yeokens can be exchanged for an array of delights, but for those concerned about sustainability, options such as reusable bags, coffee cups and donations to charity will be of high appeal.

As expectations around sustainability climb, brands will face significant pressure to prove their sustainability credentials and continue to make it a central part of their value proposition.

There are many effective ways that they can weave sustainability into their promotions depending on their business model and industry in which they operate. And finding the right one is where we come in!

Contact: Linda Wise | 07908 255047