November 29, 2023

Advertising: Good/Corps Aims to Help Business Meet Social Goals

While Pepsi, with its advertising agency — the TBWA/Chiat/Day division of TBWA Worldwide — has been widely lauded for the initiative, it would not have come to pass if not for a team of young sneaker-wearing idealists from GoodInc.

Based in Los Angeles, Good began five years ago as a Web site and magazine for an audience it describes as “people who want to live well and do good.” In 2009, Good met with Pepsi, which had a slogan adopted in the optimistic wake of the 2008 election, “Every Pepsi refreshes the world,” and an urge to give away money.

“But what was missing was what we were going to do on the ground,” said Ana Maria Irazabal, the marketing director for the Pepsi brand in the United States.

In addition to helping to conceive of Pepsi Refresh, Ms. Irazabal credits Good with developing the online voting platform to submit ideas, highlighting Pepsi Refresh on the Good Web site and Facebook page, assembling a grant management team to assist award recipients, recruiting an advisory board to lend the effort cachet and credibility, and documenting the community projects in videos that have raised the profiles of the projects and the program.

Pepsi Refresh “would not have happened” without Good, “which was an extremely valuable partner,” Ms. Irazabal said.

Now Good is officially starting an agency arm, Good/Corps, to work with other companies on altruistic efforts, which go by many names, including cause marketing, social impact marketing and corporate social responsibility.

“Over the last three or four years people have been looking at brands and asking, ‘Is this brand part of the solution or is this brand part of the problem?’ ” said Kirk Souder, executive creative director of Good/Corps. “More brands are coming out wanting to create a new North Star for themselves, and we help them align their business strategy with social impact.”


A study by Edelman, the public relations business, found that 87 percent of Americans believe that companies should be at least as concerned with societal interests as with business interests.

The 2010 Cause Evolution Study by Cone, another public relations company, found that 41 percent of consumers had bought a product in the last year because it was associated with a good cause, more than double the 20 percent who did so in 1993, the first year of the annual study.

Cone also found that 80 percent of Americans were likely to switch to brands that supported a good cause, with an even greater portion of mothers (93 percent) and 18- to 24-year-olds (85 percent) likely to do so.

While altruism may sound as simple cutting a check to an appreciative cause, such efforts can be fraught with missteps. In 2010, for example, as part of a “Buckets for a Cure” promotion to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, KFC changed its fried chicken buckets from red to pink.

Both KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which lent its imprimatur to the promotion and was its beneficiary, were widely ridiculed, with critics associating deep-fried chicken with obesity, and adding that among postmenopausal women obesity has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

PR Watch, the Web site published by the Center for Media and Democracy, called the campaign an example of “pink washing,” which it defined as “when a company promotes pink-ribboned products and claims to care about breast cancer while also selling products linked to disease or injury.”

The KFC campaign was “one of those where you say, ‘Oh, I wish you hadn’t done that,’ ” said Alison DaSilva, executive vice president of Cone, which helps companies develop cause-related marketing. “A lot of times marketers are not meant to be the experts of all things at all times, and when it comes to corporate responsibility efforts, it does make sense to get outside counsel.”


Good was started in 2006 by a group including the chief executive, Ben Goldhirsh, then 26, whose father, Bernard A. Goldhirsh, founded Inc. magazine.

In April, the Good Web site drew 1.1 million unique visitors, and the magazine, which is published quarterly, has a circulation of 65,000. The company, which has slightly more than 100,000 followers on Facebook and about 587,000 on Twitter, says the average age for its magazine and online readers is 34.

While Good/Corps is a new moniker for the agency arm for the company, for the last couple of years, under the name Good Projects, it developed programs for companies besides Pepsi, including Toyota, Starbucks and IBM.

For the Toyota Prius, for example, in 2009 Good built an interactive microsite, Roadmap to Harmony, that, like a television and print campaign called “Harmony” by the Los Angeles office of Saatchi Saatchi, explored being environmentally and socially harmonious.

And for Starbucks, during election season in 2008, Good produced weekly small newspapers that were circulated in all Starbucks coffee shops in the United States.

In an era when consumers actually follow brands in the same manner they follow their friends on Facebook and Twitter, “the values revolution is in many ways being amplified by the digital revolution,” said Sebastian Buck, a co-leader of Good/Corps.

“Customers can advocate both for and against companies, so companies have to be truly authentic,” Mr. Buck said. “All brands are going to have to cross this threshold in terms of redefining themselves in this new culture — and we think we occupy a very novel place in helping brands with this challenge.”

Article source:

Speak Your Mind