What’s The Hype is our monthly PR & marketing recap where we discuss and analyze our top three stories of the month, alongside some honorable mentions.
(It is also a video series which we post every two weeks on our social media – make sure to follow us to get more regular updates from the PR & marketing world.)
The ever-rising importance of purpose-driven marketing
Activism has increasingly become an integral part of life for many people, especially in the last year and a half. The number of causes and stories needing support and awareness may at times seem overwhelming, but one can argue it’s because only now are people finally listening to an oppressed voice. It’s not that these issues are happening now all at once, they’ve been happening. The difference is, people are more openly, in greater numbers, and with more fervent determination speaking out. We’re witnessing a boom in demand for inclusivity and justice.
With this rising awareness and self-awareness, people are putting public personas and businesses under scrutiny. They expect brands to get involved and take a stance.
And they expect a brand’s actions to reflect their words: starting from diversity in the workplace to marketing campaigns, and everything in between.
At least on the marketing campaign front, there’s no lack of attempts to reflect and support current issues and movements.
Whether it’s performative and taking advantage of current “trends” or a show of genuine support is up for debate.
Whatever the consensus, today we bring you a list of three marketing campaigns launched this month that encapsulate the importance of inclusivity.
#1 Lego launches its first-ever LGBT+ set “Everyone is awesome”
Pride month is coming up and it’s often a time when brands break out their rainbow-colored collections, only to retreat at the end of June (and come out of hibernation next year, same time). Unless this outward LGBT+ support is followed by donations to its community or continued throughout the whole year, it’s often seen as performative and an example of pinkwashing.
One brand that launched a new collection in honor of the upcoming Pride month is Lego – and we’ve analyzed whether people feel it’s a genuine attempt to support the LGBT+ community or not.
Their “Everyone is awesome” set features a “waterfall” of rainbow flag colors and 11 new figures in a myriad of colors.
As The Guardian reported:
“The colours of the stripes were chosen to reflect the original rainbow flag, along with pale blue, white and pink representing the trans community, and black and brown to acknowledge the diversity of skin tones and backgrounds within the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Matthew Ashton, the designer, initially created the set for just himself, as something that reflects him and the LGBT+ community. As for why he decided to share it with the world, he highlights representation:
“The starting point for this was my feeling that we, as a society, could be doing more to show support for each other and appreciate our differences. Being LGBTQIA+ myself, I knew I needed to step up to the plate and make a real statement about love and inclusivity, and generally spread some LEGO® love to everybody who needs it. Children are our role models and they welcome everyone, no matter their background. Something we should all be aspiring to.”
He adds that this set “sends a signal to everyone that this is what we stand for at The LEGO Group and that we want to embrace all of you, because creativity is for everyone”.
And did the public receive the signal they wanted to send?
Using Determ, we’ve analyzed Lego’s new set launch, focusing mostly on sentiment analysis. We’ve tracked Lego alongside keywords pride, LGBT+, and campaign tagline “Everyone is awesome”. As per the sentiment ratio, 91% of reactions were positive.
And most of those reactions came from Twitter (58,2%). No surprises there, as Twitter is the place people mostly flock to in order to share their opinions with the world.
And share they did:
However, even if they were in minority, there were still some criticisms of Lego. Most were centered around the fact that Lego hasn’t announced they’re supporting the LGBT+ community monetarily, by way of giving donations and proceeds to LGBT+ organizations and charities. In other words, they feel Lego doesn’t seem to be offering other, tangible support to the community.
Some people commented on the fact that Lego put an 18+ label on the set as if the subject was only appropriate for adults. However, others came to Lego’s defense saying they usually use that label for their collectibles:
On the other hand, some were just genuinely excited to have an LGBT+ Lego set, even while being conscious of pinkwashing and possible exploitation tactics of marketers when it comes to social causes. Generally, they just want to have fun with things sometimes, without it having to be a commentary on whether or not it’s performative.
#2 Omnicom celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
The last few months were marked by the Stop Asian Hate rallies in the US and AAPI allyship. These were a result of continued racism and rising violence against the AAPI community, especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doing their part to stand against Asian hate was also the leading marketing communications company Omnicom. In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, they’ve announced Admerasia, the Asian-led advertising agency, as the winner of their Anti-Asian hate “3 in 5” PSA challenge.
As the Campaign US reported, the Admerasia’s campaign “Invisible” will be featured in over $1 million of donated ad space, with donations coming from media partners such as Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, and Verizon Media.
Omnicom’s initiative came as a response to the fact that 3 in 5 Asian Americans feel underrepresented in the media. They’ve said:
“For the past two decades, the collective buying power of Asian Americans has outpaced other groups and is on track to reach $1.3 trillion in 2022. Yet, Asians are invisible in media and ignored by brands. As members of the marketing community, it is now incumbent on us to create the change we want to see in the world. Together, we have the influence to make the cultural imperative align with the business.”
#3 Beer brands celebrated Cinco de Mayo by raising awareness
Instead of culturally appropriating Cinco de Mayo with a parade of sombrero wearing partiers with fake mustaches, beer brands Corona and Modelo opted for awareness campaigns. They paired up with prominent Mexican Americans with their own unique experiences and perspectives to share.
Corona teamed up with celebrity chef Rick Martinez in creating social media videos for their #CincoForGood campaign. The goal was to encourage people to order food delivery instead of cooking themselves to help recover the restaurant delivery. What’s more, Corona donated $1 million to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Modelo teamed up with graffiti artist Mister Cartoon as part of their #SaludToCinco campaign meant to celebrate and honor first responders. They’ve also donated $250,000 to First Responders First, an organization that provides mental health and treatment programs to frontline health care workers.
What can we learn from these campaigns?
As PR Daily said:
“Communicators, take note that purpose-driven campaigns observing specific calendar holidays and month-long celebrations provide an opportunity to capitalize on the moment — while carrying the message of your work far past the end of a month-long celebration.”
It’s important to not just hop on the bandwagon of whichever cause happens to be that month, but rather to make an effort to genuinely support the cause. Whether it be by uplifting marginalized communities, donating to organizations and charities, or showing support beyond the end date of the cause.
If you take on a cause in your marketing campaigns, make sure to thoroughly follow through.
Raise awareness and start conversations leading up to the start date of the one-day or month-long celebration, and make sure to continue that conversation during and after the celebration. It’s important to show you care beyond the one-and-done act of support.
Honorable mention: Time Out turns its magazine page into a face mask
In an effort to promote mask-wearing, Time Out magazine rolled out a special Mexico City edition Maskgazine: featuring a page readers can use to make a face mask.
Per AdAge, the mask is made out of “porous paper designed to be resistant to the virus, and instructs users to fold it into a mask.”
Mexico has seen a surge in the number of cases and has one of the world’s highest death numbers from COVID-19, which is also why Time Out is giving out 100 000 copies for free.
Luis Gaitán, the chief creative officer of the Grey Mexico agency behind the idea said:
“As surreal as it may seem after more than a year of pandemic disease, the number of infections continues to grow in Mexico and we continue to see an enormous number of people leave unprotected every day. The idea aims to be consistent with the purpose of Time Out by providing inspiration to tour the city by adding the invitation to do so more safely by turning the pages of the magazine into a cover.”
Join us again next month for June’s edition of What’s The Hype! Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss it. ⬇️