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Brands’ Social Responsibility Campaigns Focus On Water Quality And Conservation

February 26, 2020 Erin Sweeney

According to the World Health Organization, one in three people globally do not have access to safe drinking water, and ensuring access to a clean and sufficient water supply is becoming increasingly challenging. Many consumers care about sustainability and want to purchase products and services from companies committed to making a positive environmental and social impact. In order to connect with conscientious consumers and amplify their brands’ social responsibility efforts, Cascade, Colgate, Levis, Aveda and Madewell have created campaigns that focus on water quality and conservation. 

Cascade: “Do It Every Night” To Save Water

Cascade dishwasher detergent’s marketing campaign features celebrity couple Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddy Prinze Jr. claiming they “do it every night”— to save water. The campaign uses innuendo to have fun with a serious topic: the rapid increase in residential water use. The Cascade commercial seeks to raise awareness about the efficiency of modern dishwashers and to “rethink the sink,” claiming running the dishwasher daily saves more water than hand-washing dirty dishes. It’s a win-win arrangement for the brand: running the dishwasher every night, ideally using Cascade detergent, can result in more water conservation. 

Colgate: Make Every Drop Count

Parents holding their kids and helping them brushing their teeth from Colgate

Colgate’s campaign Make Every Drop Count is asking consumers to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth, and to spread the message of water conservation to others via social media. Colgate claims each time someone brushes their teeth with the faucet running, it can waste four gallons of water. A website video shows a man brushing his teeth with the water running down the drain and some of the ways water could be better used: washing fruits and vegetables, filling a bowl for cooking and a child accessing clean drinking water. The campaign asks consumers to pledge to reduce water use, and collects names and email addresses with the pledge. Colgate's cross-channel effort involves a celebrity endorsement by world champion swimmer Michael Phelps spreading the message of water conservation, shareable social media posts for Twitter and Facebook, and the hashtag #EveryDropCounts to encourage consumers to “share how your own small actions are making a difference.”

Levis: Going Water<Less

According to "Your Water Footprint: The Shocking Facts About How Much Water We Use to Make Everyday Products," it takes 2,000 gallons (7,600 liters) of water to make jeans. With this in mind, Levis Strauss & Co. has made it their goal to reduce water usage, creating their trademarked process called Water<Less that reduces up to 96% of the water used in the denim finishing process. The Water<Less process is part of a larger Water Action Strategy that commits to reducing the amount of water used in manufacturing in highly stressed areas by 50% by 2025. “This announcement is an illustration of what sustainability means to us now: innovative, responsive, scalable programs that drive impact and inspire collective action to address the most pressing social and environmental issues facing our business, industry, and planet," said Liz O’Neill, Executive Vice President and President of LS&Co.’s Global Product, Innovation, and Supply Chain. 

Aveda and Charity Water: A Match Made In H2O

Aveda earth month donation page on charity water website

Environmental leadership and responsibility are part of the mission statement of nature-based cosmetics company Aveda. Aveda has formed a partnership with Charity:Water, a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to communities in developing countries. Aveda and Charity:Water have raised over a million dollars for clean water initiatives and they have renewed the fundraising push for 2020. Brand partnerships are an effective marketing strategy that allows both brands to benefit from each other’s audiences. Aveda’s consumers, salons and employees raise awareness of the need for clean water in the developing world, and Charity:Water raises awareness of Aveda’s socially responsible business practices. 

Madewell: Shop Well. Do Well.

Madewell, a rising star of the retail world, has leveraged social responsibility marketing with its Shop Well/Do Well campaign. The company has partnered with a variety of charitable organizations including Charity:Water and created a line of products featuring the “so wavy” design of blue waves in the shape of a water drop, committing 50% of profits on the clothing and accessories line to the nonprofit organization. Madewell has also stated it is developing water conservation initiatives in 2020 to address wasteful denim processing practices. 

Brands implementing clean water and conservation marketing initiatives help the environment and create goodwill with their consumers. Well-executed social responsibility activations can increase sales and brand engagement, while delivering brand building opportunities across multichannel campaigns.

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About the Author

Erin Sweeney

Erin Sweeney is a freelance writer and professional educator. Throughout her 12 years of experience in secondary education, she has taught advanced composition, business communications and research methodology. Erin has a keen interest in psychology and the science of motivation. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Saint Anselm College and a Master’s in Education from Plymouth State University. Through research and writing, Erin contributes to DMS Insights with informative articles surrounding the digital and performance marketing industries.

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