In the last year, the market has seen a noticeable increase in brands going beyond the core bread-and-butter objective of making sales, to intentionally making a difference and being of service to the consumer and society in general.
In 2018, Forbes published an article titled Brands Making The World A Better Place, delving into meaningful campaigns, such as Verizon’s partnership with Hawaiian Electric and the launch of Made Of - a socially responsible product information portal and directory.
In addition, a Sprout Social survey reported that, “Two thirds of consumers (66%) say it’s important for brands to take public stands on social and political issues, and more than half (58%) are open to this happening on social media - the top channel for consumer receptivity.”
This is not a new or foreign concept for South Africa’s Offlimit Communications (OLC). The experiential marketing agency has built a thriving business over the last decade plus off the ethos, “Work That Matters”, a cornerstone of the dynamic agency. OLC has intentionally and creatively managed to partner with like-minded clients to create impactful and memorable campaigns as result of this.
Act For Change
In 2018 OLC was responsible for Africa’s Biggest Clean Up, a campaign spearheaded by Shoprite. As Africa’s biggest retailer, the objective was clear - to get all staff involved in making a difference by tidying up local communities and reinforcing the company culture which states “together we can do great things”.
Between June and July volunteers were invited to Act For Change and not only be part pf history but to be part of a movement that gives back to the broader continent with over 400 venues across the board. The results saw masses coming together for a common goal, cleaning, recycling and upcycling - giving local designers and entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their what they are all about.
Global Citizen: Mandela 100 Festival
In late 2018, OLC also created the Bonaqua Swop Shop, another initiative aimed at mobilising responsible consumption by rewarding consumers for recycling their empty Bonaqua water bottles. The Global Citizen Festival, a movement to end extreme poverty, was the perfect platform to showcase the trend of giving back for good. Leading up to the event, pre-awareness drives saw over 350 volunteers collecting in excess of 8,000 bags of waste in Soweto. At the concert, patrons were rewarded with branded merchandise that included bamboo sunglasses, power bank chargers, caps and some other fun novelties. In the end, over 40,000 samples were distributed to consumers, meeting sales objectives as well successfully mobilising consumers to demonstrate Coca-Cola Africa’s global vision of a World Without Waste.
Soweto Youth Festival
Earlier in 2018 OLC also launched the first annual Soweto Youth Festival. The festival, hosted at Protea South Multipurpose Centre was the brainchild of the OLC Directors and stakeholders. Targeting youth, the two-day event presented mentorship from seasoned industry professionals and a concert featuring some of Mzansi’s top entertainers including Emtee, Gemini Major, Okmalumkoolkat and Killer Kau to name a few. The festival also gave young local entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase their products from fashion to food, making it not only entertainment but empowerment for Soweto youth.
“Responsible consumerism has gone from being a luxury to a necessity and we believe this should also apply in all we do as marketers. We are in the business of influencing consumer behaviour, so we should ensure we are always imparting knowledge and making a difference with every brief we receive,” commented OLC Managing Director Jerome Cohen.
Looking forward to 2019, one can expect to see the trend more frequently in businesses and brands as people strive more for projects with purpose.