The marketing industry has a central position in advancing the effort against climate change

出自 Carol Mason , AdForum (NYC)

This month we look at the effect of location and culture on creative strategy and planning. Berlin and Amsterdam are considered leading cities in the fight against climate change; both have strong DNA in the creative arts; and both have diverse communities. We explore how lifestyle affects and informs work in marketing and communications. 

We spoke with Carola Verschoor, Strategy & Experience Design Officer, and Nanne Brouwer, Senior Experience Designer, both at Wunderman Thompson in the Netherlands, to find out how local brands connect with consumers in a meaningful way.

Wunderman Thompson
Amsterdam, 荷兰
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Carola Verschoor
Strategy & Experience Design Officer Wunderman Thompson
Nanne Brouwer
Senior Experience Designer Wunderman Thompson

How does your city encourage and drive sustainability initiatives in terms of lifestyle? Are these practices carried forward into your agency?

Amsterdam has sustainability in her DNA as we are a hub of pioneers at the crossroads of many cultures. For centuries people from all over the world have settled in this city and there is a history of forward-looking and progressive approached to urban planning and cultural development. This affects how people behave and how they form a point of view with regards to sustainability and environmental issues. Amsterdam aims to be a green city by 2030 and is ambitious in her goals. We want to be emission-free by then and are being advised as a city on topics of circularity by none other than Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics). The municipality of Amsterdam stimulates sustainable lifestyle with regards to urban mobility, consumer choices, green spaces, cleanliness and many other topics. Particularly by driving policy that helps generate the type of behaviors and cultures that will help generate a greener city and a more sustainable future.

How does living in a sustainability-supportive environment help inform your work?

Cycling to work stimulates creates a mental and physical space that is excellent for our creative work. It keeps us connected to the pulse of the city. Amsterdam people love traveling by bike, the city invests in biking infrastructure (bike paths and bridges) and there are plenty of alternatives for employees to lease (electrical) bikes with economical programs to take a bike, instead of motorized transport. It also keeps us grounded in terms of the work we generate: Always looking for a more sustainable way of doing things, as well as the way we work: being mindful of spillage, unnecessary travel, and simple things like stimulating reuse.

Which brands have been helping consumers to make eco-conscious decisions in your country and what kind of messaging do they use in their campaigns?

There are many examples, such as The Vegetarian Butcher or Fairphone. We are also very proud to work with PLUS Supermarkets, for example.

The Vegetarian Butcher
Positioning themselves as a valid competitor/alternative to ‘real meat’.
This strategy normalizes the alternative, instead of positioning it as something entirely different. Bringing it closer to the current habits/behavior/reality of consumers by showing how it can be included in diets, recipes etc. They are extremely well received by consumers in the Netherlands and are expanding into new geographies with equal success.

Fair Phone
Generally, consumers feel powerless to the ‘bigger than me’ issue of the climate crisis, even though the majority of people say they are willing to rethink the way they live and spend to tackle climate change. But it is systemic problem, which needs solving at scale. Fairphone is a company that puts the power back in the hands of users, first of all by providing you with a more circular alternative to personal electronics (e.g. smartphone, personal audio) with materials that are sourced as sustainably as possible. Secondly, the design of the products enables you to do repairs and upgrades to the hardware yourself.

PLUS Supermarkets
Plus is a Dutch supermarket chain whose goal is to be a customer-centric sustainable business with focus is on good food, for everyone every day. The most recent advertising campaign features an elderly gentleman who shows us how good food is not only good for you, it is also good for everyone around you. From the farmer around the corner with his milk cows to the cocoa farmers in South America. This new campaign shows how good food can be a tool for a better future. In the TV commercial we see Henry, an elderly man who starts living a healthier and more conscious life, motivated by the birth of his great-grandson. Henry wants to leave the world a better place.

How do your city’s arts and culture inspire creativity and assist in brand communications?

It is well known that Amsterdam is an amazingly creative city. The secret is in its diversity and tolerance. The combination of background, culture and points of view, are all sparks for new ideas and inspiration. Arts and culture in the Netherlands are celebrated by the general public and also in many (however not all) cases subsidized. This allows for artistic thriving and excellence. The great Dutch masters are of course well known, but more modern forma are present too. Two nice examples of museums that inspire us in our work are Straat and Nxt. Straat is a museum that features street art and Nxt focuses on experiential new media. Straat features graffiti, street art, huge pieces of art and outdoor walls. Nxt is immersive, experiential. Both show us emerging forms of culture and expression that feed our creative spirits.

Do you think that the marketing industry can and should be a force for good, doing more to advance sustainability locally and globally?

The marketing and communications industry has a central position in advancing the effort against climate change.

Marketing communications defines the way brands and businesses interact with societies and culture around the world. Increasingly the customer experience is shaped in detail by creative agencies. We have an opportunity to show leadership in driving sustainable behavior in businesses, but this requires a critical and daring attitude towards the type of work that is being done, how this work is executed.

Next to responsibility, efforts to advance sustainable behavior in consumers provide great opportunities as it directly ties to the future proofing of the brands and businesses (and the planet we live on). Agencies must power to play a pivotal role in normalizing and improving the availability of sustainable choices. Designing the ultimate, accessible customer experience that eliminates friction, builds in desirability and accessibility from the start.

Importantly, we believe that brands have to move at the speed of culture. There has never before been a time in which audiences have craved a change in narrative as strongly as todays, and brands are uniquely positioned to help drive positive change and co-create a future that is kinder, more sustainable and more liveable for us all.