4 Brands Creating Content Around Sustainability

Nov 08 2021

Brands are reaching young consumers by talking about sustainability through digital content…

Climate change is still one of Gen Z and Millennials’ top concerns, and it’s an issue they continue to prioritize. YPulse’s recent sustainability behavioral report found that the majority of 13-39-year-olds believe corporations should take more responsibility for fighting climate change. Fashion and accessory brands have been getting serious about sustainability and have been continuously coming up with ways to show young people that they care about the environment—from upcycling and recycling to collaborating with secondhand marketplaces like Depop and ThredUp. When we interviewed JanSport earlier this year, President Roger Spatz told us that “consumers want to associate with brands, and others, that share their values.” One way brands beyond the fashion realm are showing those shared values? By reaching young consumers through digital content. 

We told you about how some brands have been making TV shows and movies to market to young consumers who are less and less likely to see traditional ads. Now brands are finding ways to create content around issues that are important to them—like sustainability. Beauty, beverage, and food brands are creating content to raise awareness about sustainability. Here are four to know: 

Liquid Death’s Full Length Horror Movie
We told you that horror is one of the entertainment genres that saw a spike among young consumers last year, and to reach young fans, canned water brand Liquid Death released a gory and campy 45-minute horror flick, Dead Till Death, over the summer. While it was inspired by classic slasher films like Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it included an eco-friendly theme. (Their #DeathToPlastic slogan is even embedded in the film’s dialogue). In the movie, a group of friends go on a camping trip only to discover that their disposed (and unrecycled) Liquid Death cans are coming to life to slaughter them. The brand hosted a “Hollywood-style premiere” in L.A., along with a livestream for a few thousand fans. In August, they made the movie available to rent on streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Google TV, with merch add-ons for superfans. The brand partnered with the Neighborhood Film Company and writer-director Will Carsola, known for Mr. Pickles on Adult Swim, to make the movie, which was shot outside Philadelphia in the spring. Liquid Death, which uses energy-drink style marketing to stand out in the crowded water and sparkling water market, has made sustainability the forefront of their mission, with youth culture in mind. Liquid Death CEO Mike Cessario told Muse by Clio: “We’d never insult [our fans] by producing something that is purely a sales message they’d never choose to watch on their own. By giving people something of value, they respect your brand on another level.”

LIVEKINDLY Collective’s “Kind Heroes” Cartoon Series
The plant-based trend may have been accelerated by the pandemic, but even before then, young consumers were leaning into it as a way to practice more sustainable eating. Over the summer, plant-based company LIVEKINDLY Collection, which owns brands such as Oumph!, The Fry Family Food Co, The Dutch Weed Burger, and LikeMeat, teamed up with Dutch cartoonist Toon van Driel to target young consumers while raising awareness for animal welfare and the importance of eating sustainably with “Kind Heroes,” a series of short animated films. The series follows a group of ten animals including Ernie, a New York-based pig, who comes up with “clever but desperate ways” to avoid turning into pork, and Rock Chick, an adventurous baby chicken aspiring to be a rock star, who uses their magical powers and abilities to save the other animals from being eaten. According to LIVEKINDLY Collective CMO Mick van Ettinger: “Our hope is to open people’s eyes to the consequences of what they eat. How come the animals visited at petting zoos continue to end up on their family tables? With these cute but darkly realistic cartoons, we want to invite people to join our collective and change the world for the better. Meanwhile, we will continue to provide consumers with healthy, sustainable, and delicious sources of protein and raise awareness of the benefits of plant-based alternatives.” Sustainability in the food space is clearly something that is on young people’s minds: When we spoke to plant-based snack brand Impact Snacks last year, their Gen Z founders told us that “more than ever, consumers are demanding value alignment, and particularly sustainable practices, from companies—this means specific and transparent actions, for example a plan to reduce or offset emissions.” 

Garnier x National Geographic’s Green Beauty Digital Episodes

YPulse’s sustainability behavioral data found that half of young consumers should develop more eco-friendly packaging to help the environment, while our personal care and beauty shopping research found that 60% of 13-39-year-olds are more likely to buy a personal care or beauty product that is eco-friendly. Earlier this month, L’Oréal-owned Garnier partnered with branded studio National Geographic CreativeWorks to create digital episodes for their Green Beauty campaign, which was created to “empower beauty consumers to live greener.” The first episode in the series focuses on plastic and packaging, and interviews National Geographic explorer Imogen Napper who talks about how plastic litter has affected her favorite beachwith other digital episodes focused on “green beauty” expected to roll out throughout the month. The partnership between Garnier and National Geographic is part of Garnier’s “Solidarity and Sourcing” objective, which includes one of the four components that make up its “Green Beauty” campaign. By 2025, Garnier aims to only use zero virgin plastic, empower 1,000 communities globally, sustainably source all of its plant-based renewable ingredients, and have its industrial site 100% carbon neutral. 

Nespresso’s “Made With Care” Limited Video Series

This spring, Nestlé-owned Nespresso launched a “Made With Care” campaign to promote their new limited-edition Kahawa Ya Congo and Master Origins Nicaragua La Cumplida Refinada flavors, but also to emphasize the brand’s belief that coffee “can stimulate not just our senses, but positive change in the world.” To coincide with their campaign, the brand partnered with celebs including actor George Clooney and influencer Chiara Ferragni, along with doctors and activists for a series of spoken-word videos talking about what “care” looks like—from sustainability, to protecting local farmers, “to the quality of a properly brewed cup.” The marketing centers around Nespresso’s commitment to go fully carbon neutral by 2022. They also announced that their popular Master Origins Colombia flavor will be available in coffee capsules made from 80% recycled aluminum, which is reportedly the first in the market. By the end of this year, the brand plans to have all of its capsules made entirely from recycled aluminum. The campaign’s “Made With Care” videos will appear across their social channels, including YouTube where the launch film will be housed—and followers are encouraged to join the movement by sharing what “care” means to them using the tag #MadeWithCare. According to Clooney, he is committed to standing with fellow celebs and activists to raise awareness on sustainability, fairness, and ensuring that everyone can enjoy great coffee “for generations to come.”

YPulse Business users can access the full sustainability report and data here.

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