For 85 years the Lacoste crocodile has been one of the world’s most iconic logos and this week, in a pretty gutsy move, they changed their logo. Not permanently, but to make a point and as a buzz-worthy call to action that showcases their support of animals in danger of extinction. The simple brilliant idea is to replace the croc with ten species in current danger. Proceeds from the sales of these high demand shirts will go to support International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and their Save our Species program.
Lacoste’s short campaign hits a nerve with an impactful and timely message. News broke this week that the health of the last surviving male northern white rhino in the world is deteriorating. Aligning themselves with that Rhino will undoubtedly leave a lasting positive impression of Lacoste that people will remember much longer than the standard press release that accompanies cutting a substantial donation check.
In a shift of the landscape, along with Lacoste, a small percentage of brands are now starting to think outside the box and are finding their voice in correlation to a worthy cause. We think they deserve our attention and so do Millennial consumers who like to align with brands who make statements of activism. According to the Case Foundation 2017 Millennial Impact Report, brands are focused on the key Millennial demographic and this cohort is reported to have taken more than 13,000 individual actions for causes and social issues. It is what they choose to do and how they choose to spend their money. Additionally, based also on a Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report marketers are much more likely to grab the attention of Millennials if they strive for socially and ethically responsible business tactics, and cause marketing. 83% of Millennials want businesses to be involved in societal issues. 82% believe that these businesses, like Lacoste, can really make a difference. 79% want it to be easier to know what businesses are making a difference, and then 67% want those businesses to make it easier for consumers to get involved.
It’s clear that Millennials are going to spend when it means they can make a difference. Brands like Lacoste are getting this message loud and clear, making it known that they are involved in a cause and making it easy for their consumers to as well.
Another brand attaching to a cause is Johnnie Walker. Earlier this week the whiskey giant announced a limited edition Black Label Jane Walker bottle that features a female version of the famed logo. In an effort to support women’s causes, $1 from every bottle will go toward a cause supporting female issues, including Monumental Women, who is working on a monument in New York’s Central Park to honor America’s women suffragists.
Ben & Jerry’s was one of the earlier brands to take on social activism. They make it a point to be socially aware and active on campaigns for the greater good. Their list of campaigns includes: Climate change, GMO labeling, LGBTQ equal rights, Fair Trade and in 2016 launched a campaign in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Based on the 2017 Cone Communications CSR study, statistics show that well-done brand activism does make an impact. 87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. If done authentically, brands can really reach their audiences by making a difference in the world. That’s the key: authenticity. There have been disappointing attempts at brand activism. For example, Pepsi’s ad featuring Kendall Jenner in the middle of what appears to be a Black Lives Matter protest faced major backlash and was quickly banned, for trivializing an issue.
Cause marketing is something all brands should be considering if done authentically. It’s great to see brands that are making a real shift in their messaging to support causes that will make a real change. At Upper Diamond, we strive to work with businesses such as Kaiser Permanente, Samsung, and ABC that care about activism and being socially and ethically responsible with their messaging that has the power to make a cultural impact and raise awareness for the greater good.