Unilever fashions 28-foot statue to highlight clothing waste
- Unilever's deodorant brands — Degree Men, Degree Women, Dove, Dove Men+Care and Axe — kicked off a partnership with thrift retailer Savers with an art installation at The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center in New York City, according to a press release.
- The 28-foot installation, designed and created by studio Electric Coffin, features a female mannequin wearing a massive dress made from repurposed clothing. On the dress are statistics about the 10.5 million tons of clothes that are thrown out each year, along with suggestions for how consumers can extend the life of their clothes with Unilever's new line of Anti-Marks Antiperspirants, which helps prevent white marks and yellow fabric stains. Clothing donation areas are on site, and Unilever plans to recycle clothes to a NYC nonprofit.
- The collaboration is the latest iteration in Savers' "I Give a Sh!rt" campaign that encourages people to recycle their unwanted clothing, the release said. The installation in New York is on display Feb. 6 and 7.
The campaign reflects a savvy bit of insight as there are signs of a significant consumer trend away from purchasing new apparel, suggesting that extending the life of older clothing may be of interest. Unilever's partnership with Savers also taps into the trend of caused-based marketing by focusing on extending the life of clothing and reducing textile waste.
Making the point via a striking art installation with a pile of thousands of pieces of recycled clothing is certainly eye-catching, and will likely leave a memorable impression on passersby. The colorful imagery might compel consumers to capture the experience on a smartphone and share with friends via social media, boosting brand buzz online and awareness around the new products and issue of clothing waste overall.
More and more marketers are embracing a cause and using their brand voice for good. The Super Bowl featured several cause-driven ads from brands, including Hyundai's pediatric cancer nonprofit and Anheuser-Busch's work with the Red Cross to provide canned water to areas hit by recent natural disasters. It's a tricky balance to strike for many marketers, as aligning a brand with a feel-good message or "do-gooder" attitude too much can cause the move to feel disingenuous. The trick with cause marketing campaigns is linking the brand to a cause that appropriately aligns with its mission.
Marketers continue to use out-of-home activations to gather consumers in person and let them engage directly with products — or to illustrate a point. Healthy snack brand Kind dumped more than 45,000 pounds of sugar in New York City's Times Square last August to show how much added sugar U.S. children consume every five minutes. The OOH effort doubled as a promotion for the brand's new kid's snack Kind Fruit Bites, which have no added sugar. In general, OOH events can go a long way with millennials and Gen Zers, who often prefer experiences over products.
Younger generations are also more responsive than others to brands that care about social issues — many even expect their favorite brands to take an action. About 70% of consumers think that brands should take a public stance on issues, like immigration, civil rights and race relations, per a Sprout Social report. Nearly 60% of consumers say brands should share their opinions on social media. Consumers also feel that brands should donate to social causes and encourage their followers to also donate or attend events.