Goodvertising's Thomas Kolster takes a look at how encouraging positive acts can be the best way to achieving positive change.
Who said doing the right thing had to be boring? Who said it had to make you feel guilty? Or that it couldn’t put a smile on your face? In the race towards being green, saying green and encouraging consumers to think in a more ‘green’ way, this campaign from Axe does incredibly well.
Axe is a brand we all know – it’s tongue-in-cheek, it’s sexy and it claims that with just a few sprays the opposite sex will be all over you. But how can a brand like Axe add real green thinking into its marketing? By encouraging young men and women to shower together, of course.
Axe and their advertising agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky Canada, had an interesting piece of information on their hands – the average male consumer 18-24 spends roughly 15 minutes in the shower each morning, which leads to a lot of water going down the drain.
So, they encouraged young men to try showerpooling – sharing a shower with a range of young ladies (or men, we must assume, if that’s what you prefer) to save water and have some fun at the same time.
Let’s be honest – the chances of this really saving water due to young people jumping in the shower with each other are probably quite small. But, and this is a rather large 'but' (yes, pun intended) – this is a positive, interesting and insightful message that is tailored to young people. This campaign may not have resulted in lithe young bodies sharing showers, but it may have led to a large amount of young men thinking twice about how long they spend in the shower and how much water is wasted during that time.
Studies have shown that positive messages about environmental problems work best, and if you can add humour and a little bit of raunchiness to a rather stale message: Shower for less time and save water – why shouldn’t you do it? The fact is, we know this inherently. Think of all the times you’ve been motivated to do something; the chances are you were positively reinforced, that someone said something to you in a positive way, instead of making you feel terrible. It works exactly the same way with brands!
If we expect brands to play a major role in the lives of people, then they need to talk and act like people. We know that brands have a responsibility to the societies from which they come, but they also need to phrase those messages in the right way and understand their target audience. Showerpooling does just that – its message is relevant to the brand as well as the target audience and the issue being addressed is one with direct links to the product – showering.
I can’t stress this enough: There are more than enough issues facing the world today from small, local problems through to big, scary catastrophes that affect us all – it’s up to brands to find those synergies and do what they can to make a difference.
And now, the big question: Is this green washing (again, no pun intended)? Not in the slightest! Spreading positive environmental messages is vitally important, and if this campaign didn’t result directly in thousands of litres of water saved – that’s not really a problem. There is no cover up, there is no misrepresentation. The point of this campaign was to get young men to think twice about their water usage, and based on those criteria – Showerpooling passes with flying colours.
D&AD Impact seeks to identify and celebrate great, transformative ideas that contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future for all. If you think you have a campaign that makes a real and positive difference to the world then why not enter it into D&AD Impact.