Skype, Elle and Jamie Oliver Media on why brands must have a purpose beyond profit

Whether it’s through creating ‘credible’ content, driving conversations around social issues or ‘contributing to culture’, brands such as Skype, Elle UK and the Jamie Oliver Media Group believe it’s crucial for brands to have a purpose beyond profit.

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Speaking at Creativebrief’s BITE event in London this week, brand and agency partnerships from Jamie Oliver Media and Gravity Road, Elle UK and Mother and Skype and Sunshine discussed recent campaigns which have seen success by driving social change or contributing to culture rather than generating sales.

Using insight to drive social change

Talking alongside Mother’s joint head of strategy Katie Mackey, Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief of Elle UK, said that in 2013 the magazine decided it wanted to “make feminism relevant again” by rebranding the word, which had garnered a negative connotation in the media.

It created its ‘Make Them Pay’ campaign based on the insight that women still earn 15-18% less than their male colleagues in the UK. It asked women: “If he does the same job, ask him his salary”.

The campaign involved a microsite where women could compare their salaries to those of men in similar roles.

Not only did the campaign result in a debate among readers, it also reached men, celebrities and politicians and received over 135 million social media impressions in the month the issue, which featured Emma Watson, was on shelf.

Perhaps the most impressive result was the backing that came from David Cameron, who did an exclusive interview with the magazine showing his support – a bill was ultimately passed to inforce companies to publish their pay gaps.

The campaign allowed Elle to stand apart in women’s editorial by becoming an “expert” and “amplifying our voice in smart, intelligent women”, according to Candy, who says the brand agency team will continue to push the issue.

“To see the change in support over a year has been amazing,” she added.

Winning the ‘search’ battleground through credible content

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When they realised consumers were searching for spirits or cocktails online through generic terms and not by brands, the Jamie Oliver Media Group and Gravity Road teamed up with Bacardi.

Lisa Tookey, commercial director of Jamie Oliver Media, said the company wanted to take Jamie’s traditional media background and listen to his audience, who were looking to have conversations around food and drink.

By creating the Drinks Tube channel, launched following the company’s popular Food Tube, the brands looked to “demystify cocktail making around drinks and occasions” by creating “credible, authentic and engaging content”, according to Gravity Road’s co-founder Mark Boyd.

The global partnership resulted in the brands taking first place in search rankings for ‘rum old fashioned’, ‘old Cuban’ and ‘ultimate G&T’. It has also seen the channel become the fastest-growing for drinks in the world and the largest drinks site in Europe with 5.3 million views, according to the team.

Boyd added that the Jamie Oliver Group shares values with Bacardi, something that was crucial to the partnership. Tookey said: “Any brand or platform we work with is embedded in what we do.”

She added: “Jamie democratised food and makes it accessible for everybody and Bacardi were able to unlock that audience.”

Contributing to culture through collaboration

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While the use of Skype for calling friends or family overseas is well known, its director of audience, entertainment marketing and broadcast media Jackie Lee-Joe said the brand wanted to “extend its capability to the hyper-connected, digitally-oriented generation” through the Skype Collaboration Project.

Jenny Howard, strategy director at Sunshine, said Skype wanted to “move from category to culture” and “genuinely add value” by shining a spotlight on its many features through the lens of fashion, an industry “the audience wants to hear about”.

The brand partnered with Victoria Beckham to create editorial content such as articles and videos that helped it create a “new credible platform in three months”. The campaign gained 452 million PR impressions.

Howard added: “We had to find the thing the makes everybody win, and use the features in an authentic and new way.”

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