Britvic dismisses Unilever’s global approach as it launches its own local charity initiative

Britvic says brands should take a local approach when it comes to charity initiatives, as consumers sometimes “struggle to get a handle on” international campaigns and see their benefits.

Britvic is launching a community-orientated charity initiative. The Britvic Lifting Spirits Foundation, which is described by the soft drinks manufacturer as an “in-outlet community support platform”, is set to launch mid-October.

The Foundation has been designed to support local communities and social projects. For every bottle of ‘Mixers and Juices’ sold in participating pubs, Britvic has committed to give back to initiatives and projects, chosen by publicans and bar owners. Outlets will be invited to join the Foundation and will receive fundraising kits to encourage their consumers to donate to local causes.

Alongside the Foundation, Britvic is unveiling a re-launch of its Britvic Mixers and Juices range. Figures supplied by the company show that Britvic plans to spend more than £1m on the relaunch, including community activation.

Britvic’s GB marketing director Kevin McNair said the Foundation is not a change of direction for the company from a corporate or social perspective, but that there was “a real opportunity” for a number of Britvic’s brands to be playing a bigger role locally.

While he is keen not to criticise Unilever, McNair believes taking a local approach to charity and community projects is more apt for Britvic, as it doesn’t have Unilever’s scale.

He told Marketing Week: “When I was working at Unilever, individuals would talk about ‘the world’ around us, like rainforests in Brazil. What you find, depending on the cause, the brand and the category you’re in, is that the problems or opportunities we face as individuals vary.

“We’ve been thinking about how we could help our [direct world around us] and our community instead of something that is international, where consumers can’t really get a handle on how [an initiative] is having an impact.”

He added that the Foundation ultimately is attempting to “reconnect people” by celebrating the local bars and restaurants that sit at the heart of their communities.

He concluded: “Bars and restaurants often sit at the heart of the community. It’s where people reconnect with family and friends, and they have the power to lift people’s spirits. That’s where we started from a mission perspective, so as a result we want to give back to local community projects.”

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