One of the main reasons for setting up a business is to provide solutions to customer’s problems. Chocolate companies solve the problem of mid-afternoon munchies, energy companies solve the need for electricity to power our many multitudes of gadgets, fashion companies solve our need to look good.
Sometimes, though, companies solve problems we didn’t even think existed. Who knew that we would one day rely on ring pulls on cans, dry shampoo and ready-sliced bread?
Challenging our behaviour is a part of creating a brand and a product that people will come to rely on. Once brands have changed the way we behave, we become reliant on the product or idea that has changed our lives and gradually forget a time without the product.
Ambev – Antarctica Beer Recycling
How do you persuade people to buy a particular brand of beer, not drive after drinking it and then recycle the can? Antarctica Beer came up with a simple and elegant solution: use the can as a train ticket. And that’s exactly what 1000 people an hour did at Rio’s carnival 2013.
Part social responsibility campaign, part marketing campaign, the idea of cans as tickets really took off with 86% higher use of beer can turnstiles than regular turnstiles on the same day. Add to this the statistic reported that 43% fewer drunk drivers were caught and Antarctica have achieved a new level of change for the social good.
This example of a brand changing consumer behaviour is a great one to start with. It demonstrates that all a brand needs to do is provide its customers with a solution they can’t pass up. There is nothing difficult about scanning a barcode and dropping a can into a particular bin in order to get a free train ride so customers were not only incentivised but persuaded that this would be the best solution to their travel needs.
At the end of the weekend, all the cans were collected for donation to a recycling NGO.
Intermarché – Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables
As 2014 was hailed by the EU as the year against food waste, Intermarché, a French supermarket, introduced Les Fruits & Légumes Moches – Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables.
The campaign was simple. The supermarket gave misshaped fruits and vegetables their own stand in their stores and sold them for 30% cheaper than ‘normal’ produce. They advertised the campaign heavily with print, billboards, TV ads and social media platforms amongst other methods. They also distributed soups and juices made from the inglorious fruits and vegetables to prove that they taste just the same.
According to their website, Intermarché’s campaign reached 21 million people after one month and saw a 300% increase of mentions on social networks during the first week. The campaign also worked to encourage footfall in the stores with an increase of 24% overall store traffic.
In their video, customers praise the campaign as a great idea, showing that Intermarché are aware of their audience’s interests. But their real success was as a challenge of social norms. 5 of their competitors have since launched similar offers and in Oakland Imperfect Produce have opened a store that only sells imperfect fruits and veg.
Always – Like a Girl
The ‘#LikeAGirl’ campaign is made up of a series of films created to challenge what we mean when we say ‘like a girl’. The first video of the campaign was produced in 2014 and interviewed girls of a variety of ages.
Always decided to make the video after their consumer research showed that girls’ confidence drops after puberty. Fama Francisco, VP of Global Always, told The Huffington Post that having noticed the trend they asked themselves, ‘how can we make a difference?’
In the film documentary producer Lauren Greenfield asks the girls to run like a girl and the results are unsurprising. The older girls do stereotypical impressions whereas the younger girls do as they would naturally. The film then shows the girls considering what the phrase ‘like a girl’ means and questions why it has such negative connotations.
By showing how the girls responded, Always aimed to demonstrate the problems with ‘like a girl’ and then seek to redefine the phrase as a positive one. This approach resonated with their young target audience, who identified with the ad and the societal attitudes it challenged.
The ad was so successful that P&G bought a slot at the Superbowl – the first feminine hygiene brand to do so. At the time of writing, the video has had over 62,000,000 views on YouTube.
The campaign did not stop there though.
Always have run 3 more ads since, all tackling societal pressures on young girls. The most recent video was broadcast this summer and challenges the idea that girls should not take part in sports.
This ad gained 1.5 million views on YouTube in less than a day and Always partner olympic soccer star Alex Morgan tweeted the video gaining almost 18,000 retweets and over 55,000 likes.
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 28, 2016
By refocusing the ad towards sport, Always rode the popularity of the upcoming olympic games and joined the conversation about women’s sports.
Highlighting the universal experience of young girls demonstrates that Always is aware and interested in their audience and keen to show that they understand their needs. But more importantly, Always is proving themselves a transformative brand willing to initiate change for the better.
Changing the World
Persuading people to change is not easy but these 3 brands have all used different methods to challenge the status quo.
Ambev’s beer can campaign successfully gave Rio’s party goers an opportunity to take the train for free in a move that encouraged recycling without being condescending or outwardly persuasive. With this campaign, recycling was not the message but a by-product that came about as a natural step with no effort on the part of the consumer.
Intermarché also made it easier to use misshapen veg by making it more prominent and cheaper. They didn’t need to tell their consumers the statistics about food waste, they just encouraged them to solve the problem themselves.
Talking about problems has long been used to pave the way to change and Always used videos as conversation starter to begin challenging the way we speak about women and, particularly, young girls. Like Ambev and Intermarché, Always is providing a simple and automatic way to solve the problem of young girl’s self-perception by giving people a springboard to start the conversation.
We can only hope that more brands follow in their footsteps and change the world.