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25th March 2022 - By: Charlotte Morse

Ethics And The Rules Of The Game 

For a long time, brands appeared separate from any long-standing issues happening in the world. However, due to a multitude of factors, a seismic shift has occurred. Brands now see themselves at the forefront of making a statement. They now obtain the secret ingredient to achieving a positive impact and ultimately play a huge part in making the world a better place.  

Particularly since the pandemic consumers seek an insight into the ethos of a brand (not just because they like to have a nose) but because they wish to validate their purchases. They want to see changes and read big impactful statements regarding current affairs and matters of importance. The news is filled with buzz words such as climate change and sustainability. It certainly isn’t a surprise to see how shoppers do their research first before clicking ‘add to cart’. 

Covid-19 was not only a real test for the world but for brands. Do they address it? Do they ignore it? Guinness stepped up to the plate (or should say pint) by releasing their campaign urging people to stay at home and enjoy their beer from the comfort of their sofa. Rather than locking down their marketing and PR, they understood the importance of echoing the guidelines imposed by the government and doing their bit to help.  

Tacobell was hot on their tail by focusing on user-generated content showcasing their brand-new drive-thru process equipped with Covid-safe measures. This clever ploy allowed the brand to realign its focus and show to an online audience the importance of staying safe.  

Sustainability has been bandied around by many brands and companies over the years, but does this still matter to consumers? In short yes. If a brand is ethical, they must show this by presenting themselves as transparent and honest while remaining original.  

When you think of the term ‘greenwashing’, does Ryanair spring to mind? In February 2020, a Ryanair advert was banned by a UK watchdog over claims of greenwashing. The advert, released in September 2019, claims that the budget airline is most carbon-efficient in Europe, asserting that they have “the lowest carbon emissions of any major airline”. This bold statement was not able to be backed up meaning the ethical campaign had well and truly backfired.  

We have all been shocked and saddened by the recent conflict in Ukraine and we are not alone as brands have made their voices heard. Marks & Spencer announced that it will be donating £500,000 to the UN Refugee Agency. The supermarket has also allocated £500,000 for UNICEF through matching colleague and Spark card donations. 

Sparks customers can select UNICEF as their chosen charity while using the loyalty card, M&S will then make double donations every time you shop with M&S. The retailer is also providing 20,000 items of winter clothing for the families and children who have had to flee their homes.  

It doesn’t stop there as the shoe brand, Kurt Geiger, announced on Instagram that it has donated 100% of last week’s store profits to the sum of £50,000 to the British Red Cross’ Emergency Appeal who are working with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide vital shelter, medical supplies and more. 

Ethics and branding go hand in hand and sit at the core of many marketing campaigns and strategies. Choosing when to get involved seems to be the key and following through with pledges and promises is a must as consumers will find out somehow if you don’t (big brother is watching you).  

If you want to learn more or fancy having a chat with Nifty, why not give us a call or pop in for a cuppa… and maybe even a biscuit if we are feeling generous.