- Unilever's personal care brand Love Beauty and Planet is running a centerspread ad in the New York Times on Dec. 8 which can be reused as holiday wrapping paper, according to materials shared with Marketing Dive.
- The wrapping paper features messages that encourage consumers to reuse this holiday season in order to cut down on waste, like "A little love for you, your friends and family and the planet."
- The company is looking to highlight holiday waste and inspire people to make small changes to cut down on their waste. The company has also created the hashtag #smallactsoflove which it hopes consumers will adopt to share images of the wrapping paper in use, as well as their own DIY efforts.
Unilever's Love Beauty and Planet is putting its brand front and center in the conversation about sustainability, and empowering consumers to adopt better practices and still enjoy holiday gift giving. There is a 25% increase in trash, or 25 million pounds of waste, between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to research shared by the company, and the wrapping paper ad both highlights this fact and gives consumers a real-world way to act on it.
The actionable element of the campaign could help the brand avoid claims of "woke-washing" — a term for brands running purpose-driven campaigns, but failing to take real action. Unilever CEO Alan Jope has warned that woke-washing threatens to "infect" the advertising industry. Big companies are among the largest producers of waste, making it a challenge to create messaging around sustainability that comes across as authentic.
Brands with purpose grow two-times faster than others, and resonate particularly well with millennials and Gen Z, according to Kantar Consulting's Purpose 2020 report. Brands including Patagonia, Warby Parker and Tom's Shoes have seen success by reinforcing purpose-driven marketing messages with real actions.
The Love Beauty and Planet ad is the latest campaign to offer a way for consumers to "upcycle." Bacardi Rum teamed up with ocean-focused environmental group Lonely Whale to collect single-use plastic straws from 55 bars across the U.S. They turned the old plastic into vinyl records with a track by electronic music trio Major Lazer and Brazilian performer Anitta for sale on Giving Tuesday. In June, Corona marked World Oceans Day with a "Pay with Plastic" program, in which consumers could pay for beer in plastic waste at retailers and bars in Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Spain and Colombia.
Love Beauty and Planet's effort comes as Unilever's marketing leadership is going through a transition. Conny Braams, EVP of the packaged goods company's Middle Europe operations, is preparing to shift into the new role of chief digital & marketing officer starting Jan. 1. Previous CMO Keith Weed stepped down in May.