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Intelligence Briefs

The 'Greta effect' will see more brands feel green heat. Bank on it

Industry Contributor

Steve Martin, Global CEO
M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

17 February 2020 2min read

  • They’re calling it the ‘Greta effect’, the impact of environmental activist Greta Thunberg on companies that are now looking to improve their environmental impact
  • The effect is already being felt across industries with a number of high profile entertainment personalities reconsidering their footprint as they tour the world
  • Here in Australia, the bushfire crisis leaves brands little choice but to think about how they are engaging with the environment

My Takeout

The ‘Greta effect’ is rubbing off on brands both big and small. And she’s not the only high profile person putting the planet first. Brands that have yet to act upon this cultural shift could do worse than look at the example being set by the entertainment industry.

In September, musician Billie Eilish announced that her next tour will be “as green as possible”: no plastic straws, fans bringing refillable water bottles, a zone that educates about the climate crisis.

Likewise, in 2019, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, Glastonbury, kiboshed single-use plastic water bottles making way for brands utilising sustainable packaging such as CanO Water, a brand created in response to the damaging impact plastic has on the environment.

Performers are even turning their attention to merchandise insisting on ethically sourced materials and manufacturing.

Local brands that weren’t already thinking of their impact on the environment will do well to take a leaf from the entertainment industry, particularly as the bushfires that continue to sweep across the country move the concern to the top of their to-do list.

While donations from brands to the bushfire relief are welcome and demonstrate good corporate citizenship, expect this to be only the start of how the crisis will impact businesses. We can no longer ignore how our businesses affect the planet and the bigger the brand, the greater the responsibility to manage their impact.

It’s worth bearing in mind that figures such as Greta and Billie are the spokespeople for a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers who will soon be entering the workforce in droves. When they do, we can be confident they will vote with their wallets to endorse the brands that have actioned the learnings of the ‘Greta effect’.

Let’s go. What do you think?

Industry Contributor

Steve Martin, Global CEO
M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Steve Martin is the Global CEO for M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment.

He joined the M&C Saatchi Group in 2004 to set up Sport & Entertainment, formed to exploit brand communication and sponsorships in the world of sport, music and film.

Most recently Steve was voted the most influential in Sports Communication by PR Week for the second year running. In 2018, he also received industry recognition award from the UK Sponsorship Industry as the first-ever sponsorship executive invited to join the UK Sponsorship Hall of Fame.

Steve joined the M&C Saatchi Group from Adidas having been at the company for almost 10 years. He was Global Sponsorship PR Manager across all major sports events, teams and individuals. He managed the global launch of the brand’s contract with the NZ All Blacks, still the biggest sports marketing contract in rugby to this day. He also managed the brand’s activation of individual contracts with the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane as well as managing the global PR for the Adidas’ involvement in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. Before that, he was Head of PR for Adidas UK for five years.

He is currently based out of the agency’s Sydney office.

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Coca-Cola, Toyota, Nestle provide us valuable lessons, right now

At Nestle early in my career as a brand manager during the last recession, the company’s philosophy was to increase spending through the downturn, talk to consumers and drive brand awareness. Throughout this period Nestle kept advertising and used the increase in spend to come out the other side even stronger.           

So where does this leave us today, and what should advertisers be thinking in the midst of such a difficult situation?

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By David Scribner, Chief Customer Officer - oOh!media