Corona raises beach pollution awareness with sculptures made of plastic waste
- For World Oceans Day on June 8, Corona launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness about marine plastic pollution, per a news release. The beer brand changed its tagline from "This Is Living" to "This Is Living?" and "hijacked" its own ads by replacing images of pristine beaches with ones marked by pollution.
- To illustrate the issue of marine pollution, Corona used plastic collected from nearby beaches to build sculptures in London, Melbourne, Santiago, Bogota, Santo Domingo and Lima. The "Wave of Waste" in London depicts Australian actor Chis Hemsworth surfing on a wave of plastic collected in the U.K. The public is invited to drop off their own plastic waste at the site to be added to the installation.
- The brewer also partnered with Parley for the Oceans on new Hawaiian shirts made from plastic collected from open ocean, remote islands, shorelines and coastal communities. The designs feature everyday plastic items, like bottles and toothbrushes, incorporated into a seascape. The limited-edition shirts are available online for $70 with proceeds going to Parley for the Oceans. Corona and Parley have the goal of protecting 100 islands around the world by 2020. In May, Corona x Parley launched a fundraising platform, "Clean Waves," that upcycles plastic pollution into fashion merchandise with proceeds going toward island protection.
Corona is tapping into its longstanding image as a beachy beer brand, often manifested in ads showing tropical paradises, to raise awareness about the growing issue of plastic pollution in oceans. The campaign is timely, following several recent news reports highlighting plastic's impact on marine habitats, including the death of a pilot whale found in Thailand with nearly 20 pounds of plastic trash in its stomach. Environmentalists have also ramped up calls for a ban on plastic straws after a viral video a few years ago that showed a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nose.
The "Wave of Waste" installations could help consumers visualize the scale of the problem and how it impacts beaches in their community. The strategy of tying experiential out-of-home elements to cause marketing has become popular in recent months. Unilever brands, including Degree, Dove and Axe, partnered with the thrift retailer Savers in February on a 28-foot installation at The Oculus in New York City. The piece depicted a female mannequin wearing a massive dress made from repurposed clothing and included statistics about the amount of clothing thrown away each year. The snack bar brand Kind, promoting a new line of children's fruit bites in August, created a 45,485-pound sugar sculpture in Times Square representing the amount of added sugar children in the U.S. are estimated to eat, collectively, every five minutes.
These efforts spotlight how more marketers are evolving approaches to brand purpose beyond traditional corporate social responsibility programs to include elements like experiential marketing. Younger consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Zers, think brands standing up for causes is important. Recent research from Kantar Consulting also showed that brands with a strong sense of purpose have grown 2x faster than brands without one over the past 12 years.