Burger King, Patagonia, Diageo: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From Burger King’s CMO dishing out a lesson in creativity to Patagonia challenging consumers to stand up to climate change deniers, catch up on this week’s biggest marketing news.

Burger King CMO dishes out secrets to creativity

From its mouldy burger to its battle with McDonald’s, Burger King’s marketing has become synonymous with creativty.

CMO Fernando Machado offered advice to other brands this week, arguing that bold advertising is not just a choice but a necessity. As there is more clutter than ever before, brands need to spark intense emotion in order to survive.

He conceded this can take time to ensure both consumers and other stakeholders are on board, and advised starting small and building up to larger-scale ads as you find your feet.

Machado explained he asks himself three key questions for any new idea. Is it on brand? Is it helping me accomplish my strategic objectives? Is it any good?

Asking the questions in this order helps him to sell the concept into the business, but also ensures he can trust in the idea and manage any discomfort he feels at “out there” ideas.

READ MORE: Burger King CMO: No-one wants to watch your ads unless you are at the Superbowl

Patagonia calls on consumers to vote in ‘defence of the planet’

Patagonia‘Vote the Arseholes Out’. Positioned as a call for consumers to vote in “defence of the planet” and remove politicians from office who roll back environmental policy, Patagonia recently made the bold move to stitch this message into its ‘stand up shorts’.

A direct challenge to stand up to climate change deniers, the apparel brand made a quick decision to go live with the message, so quick in fact that European marketing director, Alex Weller, first found out on social media.

However, rather than feeling like a stunt to gain publicity, Patagonia’s ‘Vote the Arseholes Out’ message is totally in keeping with the company’s ethos and crucially is a phrase frequently used by company founder and owner, Yvon Chouinard.

The brand shifted its whole brand purpose in 2018, with a new mission statement: ‘We’re in business to save our home planet’. All employees are encouraged to support direct action, with senior leaders taking part in last year’s Extinction Rebellion protest in Amsterdam. Teams are trained in civil disobedience and can access a fund within the company for bail processes and legal support.

On track to become carbon neutral by 2025, Patagonia is also prepared to put its money where its mouth is. The 1% for the planet initiative is the company’s commitment to donate 1% of its pre-tax profit globally to more than 1,000 grassroots environmental organisations and charities. The brand even donated 100% of its sales on Black Friday in 2016 to its grassroots network, taking its contribution that year to $20m.

While Patagonia is aware that some people buy its products purely as a fashion statement, the brand refuses to conform to industry clichés. Speaking during the Festival of Marketing, Weller explained that Patagonia will not “pay to fuel a superficial desire” for its products, meaning it does not work with influencers, engage in fashion-led advertising or place ads in fashion magazines.

While many brands talk a good game, Patagonia has the proven track record to back up its ‘Vote the Arseholes Out’ message. Take note.

READ MORE: Patagonia on why it won’t fuel a ‘superficial desire’ for its products

Diageo digs deeper into marketing effectiveness

Covid-19 has ravaged the alcohol sector in many ways. While drinking at home as gone up, drinks companies have been hit by the decline in on-trade business, as lockdowns and curfews hit pubs and bars.

As a result, Diageo is digging deeper into marketing effectiveness as it looks to navigate the turbulent market. It has launched Radar, a new function within its marketing effectiveness tool Catalyst. The aim is to improve its ability to predict the gross profit outcomes of Diageo’s marketing investment across three, six and 12-month periods based on different scenarios.

The aim is to get more detail than ever before and ensure its brands can pivot quickly to be where the customer is. It’s a smart move from Diageo, especially in a climate where brands are trying to keep costs down as a result of Covid-19 related disruption. Marketing is still essential, but marketers have to be more careful than ever in justifying spend.

READ MORE: Diageo expands marketing effectiveness tool to help navigate Covid-19

Brands ‘step up’ with strategic approach to social issues

Corporate NGOsBrands are better than NGOs at tackling social, environmental and governance issues in a strategic and holistic manner, a new report has revealed.

The C&E Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer 2020 found that because NGOs focus on one core issue, many have failed to look holistically at solving different issues impacting society.

While it is understandable that NGOs take this approach, the risk is consumers will turn to brands for solutions across a wider scope of problems. Whether good comes from brands or NGOs, the public want a commitment across a wide range of issues and won’t settle for anything less.

Voted the most admired corporate-NGO partnership for the second year in a row, according to the 2020 Barometer, the tie-up between Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support shows the value of strategic, long-term partnerships focused on problem solving. This approach is likely to become even more important in a post-Covid world.

READ MORE: Covid-19 forces brands to ‘step up’ with strategic approach to societal issues

Don’t be a slave to metrics, warns Cancer Research UK marketing boss

KPITo create a culture of effectiveness, you first need a culture of honesty. Agreeing on what it actually is that you’re trying to achieve, and then being brutally honest about where you’ve been going wrong, is the surest route to success.

Or, as Cancer Research UK’s executive director of fundraising and marketing Philip Almond put it: “You have to understand the reality of what’s happening and learn from it and get better as a result.”

Almond was in conversation with Marketing Week columnist Helen Edwards and Capita’s CMO Antonia Wade, taking part in a panel discussion on ways to measure and plan for effectiveness on the fifth and final day of last week’s Festival of Marketing.

At a time when every penny is accounted for and effectiveness as a path to success is more vital than ever, the conversation quickly moved from the pros and cons of metrics (spoiler alert: they’re not necessarily always a good thing) to how innovative thinking is ultimately the best driver towards being effective.

READ MORE: Cancer Research UK: Don’t create a culture that cripples creativity

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