Category: Blog

Best Charity and purpose marketing of 2022

Do these campaigns make you want to do something different? The teams involved are tirelessly thinking about insights and driving behaviour change with their communities. Bravo The School of 2022; it hasn’t been an easy year, but here are some great campaigns, celebrating the best around in charity and purpose based markting.

Gift that keeps giving BHF

A great example of “features tell benefits sell” with this Charity heart-warmer, showing the gift that keeps giving, with a gift to the British heart Foundation (BHF) meaning loved ones are here at Christmas. Hankies out! Across TV, video-on-demand, digital, social and radio (which I would be intrigued to hear!)…

‘See The Person, Not The Sight Loss’     

How would you tell the story of a young woman losing her sight? 

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) challenges public attitudes and misconceptions of sight loss, mirroring the five stages of grief we often quote. Bravo to Thom Yorke for allowing the use of his solo version of Radiohead’s “Videotape”. 6

CALM suicidal doesn’t always look suicidal

“The last photo” launched as an unbranded exhibition on London’s Southbank with 50 six-and-a-half-feet-high smiling portraits showing people living a carefree life, which has already caught the attention of DJ Chris Evans. Supported by a 90-second TV ad that shows people living happy lives, playing with their children, enjoying a day out at the beach or laughing with friends.

These are the last photos and videos of people who have taken their life as part of a campaign that aims to dismantle a misunderstanding of what suicidal looks like.t

Social Mobility Foundation “Stay Down”

The Department for Opportunities, the Social Mobility Foundation’s advocacy and campaigning arm has created a short horror film that highlights classism in the workplace, under the guise of an upcoming blockbuster. Thought this was a great approach and addresses issues we can relate to; with our lead struggling to navigate constant, subversive discrimination, particularly from his elitist boss. The film premiere at the Roundhouse and a movie trailer was released, which features a cover of Radiohead’s No Surprises arranged by Icelandic artist Högni.

C4s Super. Human. | Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games trailer 

C4 have literally reinvented the Paralympics creating massive awareness and love for the games – this honest take pays homage to the last campaign. After presenting Paralympians as superhuman in previous spots, Channel 4 has returned to remind us they face the same pressures as everyone else, with the added challenges brought by living with disabilities. Love the café shot… very good job C4! 

Macmillan Coffee Morning brand refresh

Great to see a truly integrated brand refresh for Macmillan Coffee morning here – great charity doing really smart marketing with this social media led integrated campaign. 

Compassion warriors

Great insight – amazing idea. The simple language of Compassion Warriors keeps this idea a step above and should give you a good Friday weep, courtesy of Macmillan! Double energy from them this year! 

Dove’s reverse selfie 

Thoughtful build on the ‘real beauty’ campaign, by looking at the real pressure young girls experience through social media 

Big Issue at 30 – still transforming lives

A brilliant team with all the good they have done. 

Peta presents “The Octocurse”

The Octocurse has to be one of the stranger stories seen in a surreal science-fiction-inspired public service announcement. 

Here’s to a great creative 2023.

Brave charity and purpose based storytelling from 2020

In a crazy year creativity and standout messages for purpose led campaigns have flourished. Here’s my pick of some of the great campaigns and partnerships delivering good stories and messages for ageing, diversity, child hunger and emergency support during the pandemic, the environment and accessible design.

1. Age UK and Cadbury
220,000 people go each week without speaking to anyone! Continuing this innovative partnership, Cadbury and Age UK deliver this wonderful celebration of older people by finding out fun stories from their past; ‘ask me about travelling the world’, ‘kissing rock stars’, being ‘Photographed nude’! Old age should be celebrated, not made to disappear.

2. British Red Cross
Great storytelling about the benefits of British Red Cross during #covid19 – with a tight turnaround and limited materials, it’s an impressive film!  Created in the very early stages of lockdown. Love the result.

3. You love my culture, but do you love me?
There has been much reflection and soul searching within the communications industry about what’s being done to increase diversity with the BLM . Well observed film here from Beats which speaks of cultural appropriation.

4. The Look
Taking off where You Love my Culture started. A brave film – I watched this twice, it’s a good start to acknowledge ‘the look’ but going forward Procter & Gamble have the power to do much more than just tell the story.

5. Heinz and Child Hunger Silence the Rumble
Heinz highlight child hunger in the UK told through an animated girl who has ‘The Rumble’

The problem came into the spotlight during the pandemic, with Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford campaigning to feed hungry kids. The campaign included an “Empty plate” installation on London’s South Bank to raise awareness of the scale of child hunger in the UK. The 1,300 square-feet installation made up of 1,800 plates to represent the 1.8 million children at risk of hunger in the morning.

6. WWF’s What a Pangolin?
Good marketing strategy to star in your own movie by WWF-UK, a well-cast voice over for this pangolin, who is probably better known by all us now after the pandemic….

7. Greenpeace’s ‘Rang-tan’ sequel there’s a monster in my kitchen
Animation is again the thing.. and it’s exciting to see Greenpeace’s sequel, which this time takes aim at industrial meat production. Nice integration with the previous ad with the animated boy sneaking down stairs with same sort of words; “there’s a monster in my kitchen”. This is destined for paid social media and in cinemas, localised for each European audience. 

8.RNIB “Design for everyone”
RNIB have made an accessible pregnancy test prototype, which would allow women with sight loss to know their result privately. Great innovation can come from many places and the print ads illustrate well the implications of inaccessible design.

9. Patagonia does Black Friday a good service
A good lesson in the long copy ad and it cut through on social media.

 10. Even Snoop is saving the planet
Snoop Dogg’s at it again, after Just Eat, he’s now saving the planet with SodaStream, one bottle at a time – saving thousands of bottles in the process.

Beautiful and clever storytelling wins the day. Wishing us all a speedy and creative recovery from the Global Pandemic in 2021.

Giles Robertson is a Marketing Society Fellow,  Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at the University of Bedfordshire Business School and Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd

@gogreenbanana, Linkedin or email

From Fenton to Orang-utans; the rise and fall of viral

What makes the good, the bad and the ugly in the viral film world – seemingly all of these attributes can bring you great success. We set out here how you could increase the success factor with your own viral creative – starting with a quick memory jolt of some of the landmark viral films that pushed the boundaries and expectations.

Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge back in 2014? Or ‘Fenton Jesus Christ’ in Richmond Park, viewed a staggering 21 million times, the chuckle of the passer by recording is still very funny… And then there’s ‘Charlie Bit My Finger – again’ (viewed 870 million times). The ‘Charlie’ film helped launch Viral Spiral, founded by Damian Collier, who tracked down Charlie’s mum and dad – who admit to earning in excess of £100,000s from the video. So Charlie is still laughing (and hopefully not biting). And we all remember the Cadbury’s Gorilla drumming to Phil Collins’ I can feel it coming in the night, viewed just under a yummy 10 million.

Fig 1 Who can forget Fenton rampaging across Richmond, Park in 2011
Fig 2 Charlie bit my finger, again inspired a new approach to viral

The history of viral is as mesmerising and meandering as the journey to going viral. In 1995 two men made a short film, it took ten years later to launch with YouTube in 2005. Now 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and for big brands, it is big business. Brands are constantly trying to embrace trends; music and any feel good factor that often comes with the phenomena of the ‘viral video’. The video of South Korean based Gangnam Style in 2012 is the most watched viral film of all time – viewed an eye popping one billion times in 5 months (and how many phone ring downloads and horsey dancing copycats..?).  Who doesn’t love PSY’s energy… which contrasts nicely to Adele’s 2015 Hello, viewed to date 2.5 million times and of course the Bond film music for Skyfall. It feels familiar and why does rain work so well for sad..?

We set out to define what we mean by viral, looking at the very best (and worst) examples, to help define what the formula for success is and whether they are any use (for purpose based agendas or for sales?).

Companies use viral videos as a type of marketing strategy. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is considered to have been one of the first viral marketing strategies to hit the world when Dove released their Evolution video in 2006; “you’re more beautiful than you think”, spreading across social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. And of course this trend has spawned a host of awards such as the Viral Video Awards in Berlin, which began in 2008 who only accept films made for internet consumption and for viral distribution (without any media backing). And there’s our first moot point, as many household brands use seed money to get their viral films going. But as Dolce & Gabbana found out in late 2018 going global isn’t always straightforward, with their viral placed on various Chinese social media sites. It depicted a woman in a luxurious D&G dress attempting to eat a pizza with chopsticks with an announcement that apparently mocked Chinese speech. Although D&G removed the ads from social media within 24 hours, the damage was done with calls of racism.

Fig 3 Dove Real Beauty shows we are all more beautiful than we think

Jonah Berger, professor at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and the author of Invisible Influence says of viral films; “Unfortunately there is no hard and fast definition.  Further people often use viral to mean highly shared, but what it really often means is popular. A video can get a million views because a brand paid to have it placed on various sites.  That’s why I talk about how contagious something is, or how likely it is to be shared given exposure.” Goldberg also makes an important point – many so-called viral sensations are far from organic. They are “seeded” with millions of emails and paid support such as digital ads. And don’t forget the dark side of social media influence – likes, views and followers can be purchased”.

Salt Bae became famous in 2017 with his now infamous flick of salt from the elbow, the video posting on Instagram gained 16 million views. Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, aka Salt Bae’s video shows Nusret throwing salt flamboyantly on pieces of meat, gaining 8,700 comments. But also, Nusret has become so popular, his restaurants are booming worldwide, including his latest venture in London. Not bad from one simple meme.

The 2013 Viral Video Award winner was ‘Follow the Frog’, ushering in purpose based communication. It’s a great and amusing story about the lengths an everyday guy is willing to go to make a difference, he could have more easily made a difference by following the frog – the Rainforest Alliance certification for food products, attracting 1,650 comments and a tasty 5.6 million views.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in the US went viral and inspired people in over 150 other countries to help do something good in 2014. It really took off when Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber took part, in support of slowing the horrible disease – known as Motor Neurone Disease here.  Even Trump had a go, proving his hair was real and nominating President Obama and two of his sons to the cold water bucket challenge.

Fig 4 Donald takes the ALS Ice Bucket challenge in 2014 and nominates
sons and Obama
Fig 5 It would have been easier to follow the Frog in this epic viral for Rainforest Alliance from 2012

The Ice Bucket concept was to video yourself pouring an ice bucket of water over yourself and tagging three friends on social media, who had to respond within 24 hours in the same way and to donate to the ALS charity. Whether it’s ‘slacktivisim’ or encouraging ‘clicktivists’ – which is about looking like you are helping for free – this viral trend had 2.4 million videos posted within months.  With 17 million ice bucket challenges viewed 440 million times, it helped raise $220m worldwide, creating much joy for something that is no joy at all, in the disease.

MNDA, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (the charity most strongly associated with ALS in the UK), has raised £7m from ice bucket donations, a sum worthy of a half seconds soaking on a warm summer’s day.

But in the context of other previous charity challenges, did ‘IBC’ actually deliver? The ‘no makeup selfie’ for CRUK raised over £8m in just 6 days and ‘Movember 2013’ raised a whopping £20.4m in just one month. All of these suggesting that although the ‘IBC’ could have raised significantly more in four months of intensive activity with an estimated 20 million people taking part, viral films are a great route to success for good causes.   

More recently in 2018, Iceland’s ‘Say hello to Rang-tan film’ was a great partnership and a timely focus on the issue of palm oil. Using Greenpeace’s film narrated by Emma Thompson, this was the surprise most watched Christmas ad ever online with 6 million views and 6,500 comments. The ad was banned for broadcast for being too political, which helped drive interest in the issue of deforestation and the effects on habitats and wildlife in the production of palm oil. There was even a consumer petition to get the ad ‘unbanned’.  To Iceland’s credit they have since decided to remove palm oil from all their products.

Of course viral marketing is inherently unpredictable. Nothing guarantees success more than “going viral” (and even more difficult is to predict the reach it will have). Even a viral marketing company by your side can not predict what will happen. There’s a bit of luck, but it is fair to say, to paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, “you make your own luck”. If you understand your audience, you can increase your chances of success with a few tried and tested ‘knowns’.  Factors for success have been identified from viewing dozens of viral videos which could and should increase your chances of being the next Fenton or Orang-utan, by considering the following:

  1. Keep it random, sometimes tough to explain why they are any good. Perhaps more than anything, it’s the unexpected nature, springing something surprising on us
  2.  A personal reflection – a different quality is the ‘proximity’ to us, a unique take on something every day. We all see rainbows but seeing a double rainbow in Yosemitebear Mountain, nobody sees it like this guy! Though that special hook is notoriously difficult to predict
  3. Participation and inspiring creativity, people love to feel that they can copy the story or join into the phenomena – it gives them a kind of power, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or the Harlem Shake, which seems to be particularly important to the on-going success of any viral film, the story can shift from the producer to the viewer in that respect. In other words, it’s very spoofable!
  4. Funny and touching  – it would seem that most successful virals are more often than not genuinely a bit of a laugh and can also make us cry
  5. Keep them beautifully, simple and short – possibly no more than one minute. According to scientists, in the age of smartphones humans have such a short attention span, even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer*  Now that sounds like a viral..!
  6. Connectors and fans early on are what can make the thing go stratospheric, bloggers, taste makers latch on – look what happened when like Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake did the IBC?

Whether it’s clicks and shares or “slacktivism”, there’s no doubting that in their moment, good virals are great fun and news worthy in themselves. Capturing that moment is as tricky as finding the end of that rainbow. But if you know your audience and do what seems authentic and true…the possibilities are limitless.  And the ugly nature of ALS or Motor Neurone Disease, will according to reports, have the money raised spent on helping identify a new gene associated with the ALS disease.

Giles Robertso, Lecturer in Digital Marketing, University of Bedfordshire, Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltdand a Marketing Society Fellow.

You can find Giles on Twitter and Linkedin or email




Trump doing ALS challenge

Marketing; Hacking the Unconscious Ep 1  (BBC Sounds)


Channel 4 News

Charlie Bit My Finger

Cadbury Gorillas


Nusret (Salt Bae)


Iceland’s Banned 2018 TV Christmas Advert… Say hello to Rang-tan. #NoPalmOilChristmas

Dove Real Beauty campaign

Business Daily The rise and fall of viral marketing

Business Daily Viral Marketing

Gangland Style

Kitroeff, Natalie (19 May 2014). “Why That Video Went Viral”. New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2015.

Bahadur, Nina (21 January 2014). “How Dove Tried To Change The Conversation About Female Beauty”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 November 2015.

Ten years on the board with the Marine Conservation Society

I was recently asked how much had changed over the 10 years I’d been a trustee for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). And that made me reflect on my time with this amazing, marine-focused charity. What is expected of a trustee of a charitable organisation has definitely increased over time, but this might be commensurate with a new breed of trustee, who is willing to help out in many and varied ways – which is inspiring for all of us.

When The Kid’s Company charity collapsed in 2015, there was a sense that the increased scrutiny on trustees would inevitably have a detrimental effect on recruitment to the board. But that is a far cry from our recent recruitment experience for new trustees. We received over 80 CVs, and I am delighted that we have recruited seven new, highly skilled trustees to the MCS board.

Also, I believe there has been a shift towards greater team working, which is paying dividends.  Trustees are keen to get to know one other as individuals and to value each other’s contribution to the board.

And finally, there has been an increase in the importance of (and dependence on) volunteers on a larger scale, such as mobilising people through our 650 Sea Champions, 12 Ocean Ambassadors, 250 Seasearch divers and over 29,000 individual, local volunteers.

It was wonderful to be asked to join the MCS board in May 2010, after an interview with the then CEO and Vice-Chair. Some years before joining the charity, a colleague of mine on the marine team at WWF explained the purpose of this area of work. The analogy of trying to catch one pheasant in a four-acre forest, with a bulldozer knocking down all the trees, really stuck in my mind – swap the pheasant for a fish and that gives you the extent of the destruction wreaked in marine habitats. I was hooked (excuse the pun). Thank you, Stuart Singleton-White!

I’ve worked with so many wonderful people and learnt so much about the sea, from the beautiful and amazing Darwin Mounds off the North West Scottish coast to the importance of Red Sea ferns.  There have been many organisational changes including two offices, three Chairs (going on four!), two CEOs and three Marketing Directors.

MCS’s recent Donate Your Guilt campaign

I am proud of all that has been achieved since 2010, with a significant increase in profile, and membership numbers growing from 4,500 to 11,000. Income has likewise increased from £1.7 to nearly £4m per year. Social media followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have risen from 8,000 to just over 200,000. And the number of UK beach cleans has risen from 350 to over 600 a year.

But perhaps more importantly, we really are now the first port of call in these troubling times for government and business. The ‘Blue Planet’ effect lives on – David Attenborough himself recently said it’s hard to believe how quickly the public has understood the disastrous impact of plastic waste on the marine environment. MCS had driven this issue forward for many years single-handedly, but it seems we’ve now reached a positive tipping point.

With this momentum, there are new challenges and opportunities to work with big brands like Glenmorangie, Ocado, M&S, Sky and Waitrose.

It’s been a great honour to serve on the board of MCS.  I am so pleased to have been part of their journey as a trustee and really look forward to seeing their future achievements and partnerships. 

MCS are now looking for an exceptional person to Chair the organisation and I would highly recommend joining the team – please follow this link if you would like to find out more

Best charity marketing campaigns of 2018

I’ve selected 3 stand-out charity ads from 2018 which have each delivered creatively and used media partnerships to their advantage.

In first place, it has to be Iceland’s ‘Say hello to Rang-tan film’.
A great partnership and a timely focus on the issue of palm oil. Using Greenpeace’s film narrated by Emma Thompson, this is the surprise most watched Christmas ad ever online. Iceland’s launch was very ‘John Lewis’, supported by their own official Orangutan Plush toy on sale and other marketing ideas, like the use of a realistic animatronic orangutan lost on the streets of London, helping to highlight the issue. The ad was banned for broadcast by Clearcast for being too political, which was a PR blinder for Iceland, and helped drive interest in the issue of deforestation and the effects on habitats and wildlife in the production of palm oil. There was even a consumer petition to get the ad unbanned.  To Iceland’s credit they have decided to remove palm oil from all their products – a great combination of PR, social media and experiential marketing.

In second place,  the Samaritan’s ‘Small Talk Saves Lives campaign’.
Another educational and inspiring film about the issue of suicide on the rail track by the Samaritans. The hairs on the back of the neck moment is when you realise who the narrator of the film is – Sarah, who herself was contemplating suicide at a station when a passer-by took the time to check on her. We are told in the film that a little small talk really does save lives; for every life lost, six are saved by others taking small actions like this. With 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2017, hopefully this campaign will show that people can make a difference. A great use of partnerships with the British Transport Police and Network Rail and a fine social strategy to spread the film organically on Linkedin and Twitter.

And finally, on a lighter note – Save the Children’s Jumper Day promotion.
This poster on the underground is funny and simple. Save the Children have made the Christmas Jumper Day stand out, quite literally by poking you in the eye. By signing up and donating £2 you can make a child’s future better. I hope this ad has worked well for them, and again good to see media partnerships with Amazon and Visa making this possible.












Wishing you all a positive, creative and healthy 2019.
















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Top ten charity campaigns of 2017

What makes the best charity marketing campaigns of 2017 is to stand out and be noticed with a great channel idea and a real audience focus….. a new take on a well-established issue, which is always tough to deliver. I hope that you agree, we have some crackers here, in what has been another tough year for many, so I am really pleased with the breadth.

1. ‘We are the Marine Conservation Society’
I don’t think MCS has ever been in my year’s list, which is about to change with this inspirational film, where you can almost taste the salt of the sea and it inspires you to do that bit more for the ‘Big Blue’.

Not resting on their laurels, their full-paged ad appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Monday 11th December, tactically well timed appearing just after the final episode of Blue Plane 2. Already ‘signed’ by an impressive 37 environmental organisations, which MCS managed to achieve in 3 days, the open letter to the UK government puts pressure on them to take responsibility to look after our seas. Watch this space closely to see what government action will be taken.

Ok so I am biased, as a Trustee of the Marine Conservation Society for the last 7 years, but in that time it has never made the list!








2. Blue Planet ii
You can’t have the BBC in here, can you, with their vast budgets? That aside, their Blue Planet ii prequel really did whet the appetite for their new series, which by no means disappointed.

3. United Against Dementia
I do like the concept of stopping for a moment- it reminds me of Remembrance Day. Stop, take a deep breath, now think of others. How hard was that? This film ‘Alzheimer’s Society Come Together, Dementia Doesn’t care’ asks us to reflect on our similarities, not our differences.

4. WWF’s A Living River
HSBC created an amazing installation to celebrate its work with WWF’s #ALivingRiver and the Yangtze river conservation work funded by the bank.

5. Plaster Pads
Plan International’s Plaster Pads campaign works well in its aims to normalise women’s periods and in a small way, show the world this is normal. It isn’t a big campaign but I like the creative approach. Hopefully these are small steps towards making people feel comfortable around this subject rather than awkward; Plan’s own research shows 48% of girls currently feel embarrassed about their periods, which is not acceptable.






6. Wrap Up London
Well done Wrap Up London, a clever take on an old theme with this flyer, collecting coats for vulnerable people from homeless to refugees and sufferers of domestic abuse alike.








7. Action for Children – change forever
Action for Children use press ads to show how fostering can change a child’s life forever- clever and thought provoking.





8. Smear for Smear
The share your #SmearForSmear to raise awareness of the importance of smear tests in preventing cervical cancer was a thoughtful idea, and it had good standout on social media, showing women that prevention is the best cure.

9. Project Emma
If only it wasn’t from a big corporation; ‘Build 2017 Project Emma’, can’t help but make you smile (and cry) in equal measure. This wrist ‘wearable’ helps people suffering with Parkinson’s disease and is the definition of what technology should be all about. Well done Microsoft – hopefully this will move from concept to affordable product soon.


10. WWF Black Friday
WWF’s Black Friday marketing was clever and their email cut through well for me.








From the small ideas to the mighty, each of these charity campaigns are straight to the point and engaging.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, prosperous and creative 2018.



Local charities shine at Community Impact Bucks Photo awards

I was delighted to sponsor the 2017 Community Impact Bucks photo competition Awards, which was a great success.  Congratulations to all the 32 organisations who entered over 140 photos; everyone one of the photos gave us a real sense of the charities’ inspiration for making a difference in our community.

The competition chimes with Green Banana Marketing’s passion and belief in helping charities and social enterprise tell their story through great marketing.

The judging inspired us and brought us that bit closer to the work of the charities. And many of the wonderful photos quite literally made us laugh (and cry)!








In third place was Buckinghamshire Mind, with their brilliant atmospheric image of a team day out. They look so happy spending a windy day on the pier,  as part of a close group. They won a half day’s consultancy with Green Banana Marketing.








In second place was St Francis’ Children’s Society winning £150 cash donation to their charity. It’s such a vibrant, colourful and engaging photo. Just from their hands you believe the artists are enthused by what they are doing. A really strong message with the words they are painting, which resonates with the work of the charity.

And in first place was Youth Concern, who won an Ipad 4 to be used by their youth workers.

It was a unanimous decision from the judges. This unusual format of Usual Suspects meets Trainspotting, made it a very contemporary photo. We loved the fact that it shows so clearly the personalities of the young people and the signs they are holding shows their gratitude for the charity and what they do.

A big thank you to all who entered and to the team at Community Impact Bucks who made this happen. We look forward to seeing your entries in 2018!

Shortlisted for Marketing Excellence Not-for-Profit Award

So thrilled to have been shortlisted for our Healthwatch Bucks campaign for the 2017 Marketing Excellence Awards.

We’re alongside some amazing peers, with great campaigns for #Jointheherd, Girlguiding and St Johns Ambulance, including Livity, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, 101 and Grey London.

Our campaign successfully engaged people on the quality of their health and social care. The campaign quadrupled web visitors –
up 300% which generated a doubling of people leaving feedback on their health services (a year’s worth of feedback in five weeks). We are now running a ‘Thank You’ campaign.

We drove a 60% increase in social followers and 826 engagements.

Finger’s crossed for the awards night!


The Top 10 Charity Marketing Campaigns in 2016

This year’s selection of the best charity marketing campaigns of 2016 all use thoughtful approaches to engaging with their audiences. Cutting through counts against what has been a challenging backdrop for charities in 2016, with uncertainties around Brexit (particularly for environmental and human rights campaigning organisations), and with a new Fundraising Regulator making its presence felt (- two charities having already been fined)- the market continues to be tough for gaining new supporters and funds. This year’s best charity marketing campaigns include:

1. Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces, tackling homophobic attitudes in sport, came of age in 2016 with the ‘Rainbow’ appearing at Premier League fixtures, top-level rugby union games and even on the Wembley Arch.

2. Shelter’s Vertical Rush took challenge events to a new level with 1,300 runners climbing the 932 steps in London’s Tower 42, and raised a whopping £1.2 million!

3. Time to Talk Day 2016 from Comic Relief and Department of Health took place on the first Thursday in February. They asked the nation to spend 5 minutes talking about mental health, encouraging people to break down the barriers surrounding this difficult subject – a positive and much needed initiative, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing mental health issues.

4. Channel Four’s ‘We’re Superhumans’ promoted coverage of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio with the “Yes I can” chant. This was made up of brilliant goosebumps stuff, featuring a determined cast of 140 disabled sports, performers and members of the public.

5. #22PushupsChallenge campaign reached its target of 22 million pushups around the world to raise awareness of the 22 veteran suicides a day. It required people to complete 22 press-ups in 22 days, to film this challenge and upload it on social media, nominating somebody else for the challenge.

6. Mencap’s Changing Places toilet campaign aimed to increase the number of toilets with a bench, hoist and extra space to meet the needs of the 250,000 people in the country with learning and physical disability. Currently their basic needs aren’t being met as there are just 800 specially designed toilets across the UK.

7. Timpson Free Dry Cleaning campaign offered free dry cleaning for the unemployed (and potentially homeless) who had job interviews.

8. Similarly, Action on Addiction encouraged dry cleaners to donate uncollected suits to Action on Addiction to help recovering substance misusers find a job. 34 dry cleaning services in London have signed up to this campaign.

9. The BBC Micro:bit – a pocket-sized codeable computer with built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, was given free to every child in Year 7 across the UK giving children an exciting and engaging introduction to coding, to help realise their potential early on. Impressive stuff.

10. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home launched the ‘Digital Doggy’ called Barley – a fundraising initiative in which a dog on a billboard appeared to follows shoppers as they walked past.

These charity campaigns are straightforward and engage creatively on many levels, and are clear manifestations of the charities’ purposes.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

5 lessons from the EU campaign

Did we have balanced debate about the EU? With 52% voting to leave, my sense is that we were let down by a lack of information and in certain cases, misinformation. The Government didn’t capitalise on the opportunity to clearly communicate a balanced view – the debate became very polarised around issues of immigration and the economy. The campaign should and could have included the following elements:

  1. A debate including members of the EU parliament
    One of the issues for many was voting for or against a ‘faceless bunch of bureaucrats’.
  2. Local community based discussions
    Events for all to air their thoughts, alongside the bigger Question Time style discussion and TV panel debates, backed by an online forum and portal for further discussion, exchanges of views, would have helped
  3. A published cross party manifesto
    The successes, the areas we could improve on, better case studies about human rights, the environment, freedom of movement and security. But also the everyday cultural issues such as the benefits of town twinning and the freedom to study abroad.
  4. A representation of young people’s views
    There is some evidence that younger folks were much more in favour of staying ‘in’, did we really hear and reflect their voices?
  5. A time-line
    What this means for us over the next year to 18 months – scenario planning.

Being part of the EU I am certain, gave us cleaner and better beaches and drinking water, less air pollution and protected our wildlife. How do you feel about where we go from here, happy, sad or worried – why not let 38 Degrees know in their new survey:

Top ten charity campaigns of 2015

Well done to all those charities who have run bold campaigns in 2015. Not an easy year for the sector with many mergers still on the table, negative stories about about how charities operate in getting their vital funds, the debacle of the Kids Company closing and the Edelman Trust barometer showing trust in charities down 17%.

My top 10 charity campaigns this year are:

Greenpeace Awesome Again

It was good to see Greenpeace’s action in 2014 and mobilising millions to stop the Lego Shell partnership in 2015. Without Greenpeace, life would be much less interesting (and less organisations would be kept in check).

Je Suis Charlie

Not a charity but certainly a cause, I’m sure most would agree the Je Suis Charlie events were a critical response to the threat against the freedom of speech, inspired by the terrible attacks in France on 7th January 2015.

This Girl Can

I loved This Girl Can campaign developed by Sport England as a celebration of active women doing their thing no matter how well they do it or how they look.

Big Issue Baristas

A very innovative and entrepreneurial way to diversify the work homeless people can do, by training them to make and sell cappuccinos – with eight carts in London, I wish it all the best.

Amnesty’s Virtual Reality ‘Aleppo’ Street

It’s tough bringing home your message and this campaign does just that with specially created headsets. It aims to transport people to a Syrian street to show the destructive effects of barrel bombs.

St John’s Ambulance ‘Chokeables’

st johns

A brilliant idea, using regular ‘chokables’ as the main characters, with voice-overs from Johnny Vegas and David Mitchell, adding weight.

The Lord’s Prayer ad (Just Pray)


The Church of England planned to run the spot before showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, opening on 18 December. As an aside, The Odeon, Cineworld and Vue refused to show The Lord’s Prayer ad . The spot launched the Church of England’s website, which encourages prayer and offers tutorials.

I Saw Your Willy / Share Aware

NSPCC’s great campaign encourages children to think about what they share online; with this campaign they have developed a partnership with 02.

Life-changing Learning


The Open University has captured the strength of mind, effort and reward that comes from studying a part-time degree – a nice brand builder.

Unicef Snapchat of Nigeria

Unicef recruited Snapchat artists to redraw the pictures made by some of the 800,000 children forced to flee their homes in Nigeria, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the horrific impact of the Boko Haram crisis on Nigerian children.

These charity campaigns are all brave and ambitious – but more importantly speak to us in a straightforward language, and in my view, increase the perceived value of the charities’ role on the issues. I believe they have every chance of driving new supporters and partnerships.

Wishing you all a great Christmas and New Year.

Giles Robertson, Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd and independent Marketing Consultant, Marketing Society Fellow, Board Member, Marine Conservation Society

Follow him on twitter @gogreenbanana and Linkedin or email at

Five questions to ask of your blockbuster charity film

It’s time to make that all defining film about your charity (or yourself?). The problem is, where do you start? Your content list runs to ten minutes and your main spokesperson sounds like Kevin Spacey at the end of his tether in American Beauty, which is not going to win you new support.

We’ve just made a great promo film about Green Banana Marketing with sister company, Five on a Bike. Four edits later and we were very happy with the results. That’s not bad for a 7-year-old company with dozens of client projects – we’ve seen some films go into double digit edits. Here are my six questions for you to consider, which helped keep me on track and to fewer edits:

Do you have an idea of what you want to say?

It’s great to consider what your key messages are right up front. The really hard job is being tough on what you’d like to show to which audience. Try and list the two or three take-outs you’d like to have from the film. For us, it was showing the value we could bring to people’s work through the story of our projects.Image from edit suite of Green Banana Marketing film

Are you are clear who it is for?

Showing what you do to a group of school kids is very different to presenting to the senior board at Santander. There may be similarities, but I imagine it’s two difference audiences with different needs. Businesses like to see your flair, the impacts of your work and what a likely partnership will deliver. And school kids are no different; they want to be inspired and see how things have changed because of your work. Sometimes explaining the basics of what you do, can be a great start. I remember in one presentation with my Marine Conservation Society trustee hat on, one speaker outlined all that they did related to marine biology, and at the end of the session, the first question was ‘what does a marine biologist do?” Oh dear. For us at Green Banana Marketing, we hoped to speak directly to Marketing Directors of development, fair trade, health, conservation and human rights charities.

What are you hoping as a result of the film?

Is your film a shortcut way of introducing what you do? Or is it an “ask” to show what more could be done with some extra resource? Two very different scenarios –again if this is done right, it can pay dividends. I know one corporate partner film, which allegedly paid for itself within the first six months for a development charity.

How is your brand featured?

Introducing the feel of your organisation throughout is a real art, whether it’s your logo on runners vests doing the Marathon, or campaigning pledges reaching their target, it helps to weave your brand into the story. And of course, do start and end your film with your brand and your mission and finish with a ‘view’ of your vision and your ask for the future.See how the storyboard for Salix / Department for Education compares to final film

Will you do an overview of all your work or slice through one area?

Images do speak a thousand words, but sometimes you forget, if images are not explained with a simple title e.g. “Fracking protest outside Chequers”, they can be abstract and rather off putting.  Start by writing down all the content you think should be in the film, it will end up being enough content for The Godfather part 1 and 2. But never mind, it’s a start.  It’s easier to explain a problem through a story; how your organisation was the hero who overcame the villain, the approach it took and the style of how it works. Telling your story through one person’s perspective always helps. You forget how complex your organisation is and people can really only take in a handful of messages at a time. Mario’s personal battle with cancer and the support he got from Macmillan Cancer Support hits me hard in this film and I get exactly what he went through, what the charity did for him – even within this small focus of their work. Do take the leap and make a film about your charity work – answer the hard questions first and you’ll save time as well as money on the editing floor. And of course, we could help make it very good for you.

Shortcuts Stand out from the crowd – need to know brand and marketing essentials


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Shortcuts Series

Standout from the crowd – need to know brand and marketing essentials

Free Shortcuts seminar – Tuesday 10th September 2015 9 – 10am

Green Banana Marketing invite you to their free Charity Shortcuts seminar on Tuesday 10 September 2015 at 9am.

Charities need good marketing more than ever – with great pressures to gain new supporters (and more charities to standout from), building your appeal and what you stand for is essential.

Having a strong brand and marketing focus has never mattered more.

This innovative hours workshop will change the way you think about marketing and leave you bursting with ideas on how to build your brand personality, standout from the crowd and attract new supporters to your organisation.

Previous delegates said of the seminar; “very useful and inspiring – the fundamentals of marketing”

We would very much like to see you and a colleague at this Free Shortcuts seminar on Tuesday 10th September 2015 at 9am for one hour at the O2 Workshop, 229 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T7QG.

Places are limited to 20, so please do click here now to subscribe and book your free place.

‘Shortcuts’ seminars are intended to give you the most important information in the one-hour session. Drinks, cakes and a friendly networking session will follow the seminar. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Kind regards,

Follow us on Twitter
Visit our website
Date: 10th September 2015Time:

9 – 10 am


02 Workshop

229 Tottenham Court Rd


Green Banana Marketing shortcut seminar




10 tips to maximise growth through your website

Many of the social organisations we work with are going through huge changes, using their “ten year strategy” to answer the question “what would a digitally-enabled organisation look like?” and “how will we thrive in an increasingly digital world?”. These are perfect questions to help shape the future and current offering and the following related questions helped us in working through our recent projects with the Fairtrade Foundation and The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

blog photo 1blog photo 2   blog photo 3

Mapping the user experience and developing wireframe and related colour schemes for the navigation

1.What’s not working well at the moment? Where are audiences dropping off / not going – why is this?

2.What are your analytics telling you? Do you understand the audience needs and do these change by age / other demographics? Why is that? Do you know how people are using your site?

3.Are you ready for Mobilegeddon? Do start the process of ensuring your site works on different devices from interactive white screen to phones. You probably already know that Google’s search ranking will be affected by how mobile friendly your site it. There is an easy mobile friendly test you can do.

blog photo FT mobile

The mobile experience for teachers using Fairtrade resources

4.Is your SEO / social strategy good enough? Read Google’s guide to SEO, again Google will look harshly at copy that is too small and links that go nowhere. Defining your strategy beforehand (starting with the web copy), will help you prioritise what your main services are.

5. Do you have a strong concept / design? People like ideas- a strong concept can really lift your site usage.

6.Do you have the right sign-up points? Getting the balance right is essential; too many and people will click off your site. Having the main touch points clearly labelled will increase conversion to sales, and to your newsletter sign up.

picture blog news

Clear and interesting sign up points help the user

7.Why not ask people what they would like to use the site for in the future? Regular users of your site will often have as good ideas as anyone for how the experience could be made even better, we’ve found tapping this interest and using some of their ideas is crucial.

8.Are you using it as a living / agile website? Agile roll-outs are best. Too often the process is to map the user experience to a wireframe and then build the site over 10-16 weeks, which is fine. But it’s better to keep the site alive and agile, adding new features and functionality, so the site has a beginning but no end. There is no web 2.2.

9.Are you linking your CRM to your website? You increase conversion to your site by as much as 50% from users on your social channels, by a few simple campaigns.

10.Are you making lots of new friends? We’ve found links to your site from other respected organisations work wonders for new site visitors and increased search ranking.

If you need help with your web delivery, these are the first questions we would ask, it’s an easy checklist, which starts with your audience and builds things in an agile but logical way.

Giles Robertson, Founder and Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd, Marketing Soc. and RSA Fellow, Charity Group chairman, Trustee of Marine Conservation Society, member of 2Degrees board of advisers and the Sustainability Growth Group. Follow him on twitter @gogreenbanana or email at

Send all our leaders on the London Marathon

Beach body photo blog

What’s not to like about the London Marathon? It’s welcoming – whether you are one of the 750,000 spectators, watching it on TV or more importantly one of the 38,000 people taking part. It’s pure joy, celebration and carnival– preceded by pain and I guess sometimes despair. What makes the London Marathon brand so special is the following:

  1. we all know somebody who was running
  2. the amazing sense achievement, of giving and taking part
  3. the sense of fun and nothing is impossible or is judged to be ridiculous. The most eccentric charity runner was probably Lloyd Scott who took five days to complete the course wearing a deep-sea diving suit. And no doubt ushered in new regulations for the marathon, which state that the race must be completed in one day
  4. the fact that this is one of the biggest fundraisers, during the last 30 years runners have made more than £500m for various charities

We were also all swept up by 2012 London Olympics and the amazing Gamemakers who really made their mark. Now contrast that with the lead up to the general election – the biggest event we were not really invited to be part of – in the weeks leading up to 7th May.   We’ve not been involved in a conversation with the general election. The environment, sport and health have been little discussed. The Green party lost out, by playing down discussions about green issues, to demonstrate a broader understanding of other policy areas.

There has been very little discussion about sport, health and well being; tackling obesity and getting people back into sports. I applaud the This Girl Can campaign and what Dove has tried to do by normalising every day body shapes. But all this seems to have been given the two fingers by the most pointless and shallow ad of our time; an ad for a weight loss drink and beach perfect bodies.

Thank goodness for two bloggers Tara Costello and Fiona Longmuir, pictured, who posed next to the ad, rightly saying they are beach ready.

I want an election a bit like the London Marathon, where;

  1. we know somebody who is running and want to support them
  2. we feel involved
  3. our differences are celebrated
  4. the health of our bodies and the planet are central to the thinking

Poldark’s charity is a funder’s dream

I wonder, if like me, you have been inspired by Ross Poldark, in the BBC1’s 70s remake, which has been watched by nearly 7 million viewers, based on Winston Graham’s Poldark books from the 1940s and 1950s.
poldark 1Set in the 18th century, the main character, Ross Poldark, a British Army officer, returns to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War only to find that his fiancée, Elizabeth, having believed him dead, is about to marry his cousin, Francis Poldark. Ross attempts to restore his own fortunes by reopening one of the family’s tin mines. After several years he marries his servant girl, and is gradually reconciled to the loss of Elizabeth’s love.

There is plenty to enjoy – at its heart, a story of determination and doing the right thing. Poldark’s physique has been much debated, but it’s his approach, which we think throws up some great analogies for charities wanting to stay true to their beliefs and be true leaders. And they are;

1. At his core is a powerful belief in philanthropy, which comes through every pore

2. He has a vision – turning his new tin mine into a success- which he relentless pursues

3. He doesn’t let short term set backs take him of course, but knows when to call in extra help

4. He knows how to lead people with his vision – of finding tin

5. He understands what it takes to inspire people with words as well as actions

6. He’s keenly aware of how to inspire funders

7. He knows how to gain their continued support, and when to give updates on the progress that has been made

8. He’s happy to go out on a limb for what he believes in – in work and in love, however out of kilter and out of fashion this might be with his immediate circle

9. He leads by example and is consistent to his word

10. Despite much adoration, he is humble, welcoming and a genuinely consistent all round nice guy.

Can Ross Poldark do no wrong?


Our next shortcut event improve your website



Shortcuts Series

Gain more support through your website


Free Shortcuts seminar  – Friday 13 March 2015  4pm – 5pm
Green Banana Marketing invite you to their free Shortcuts seminar on Friday 13 March 2015 at 4pm. Come along and hear tips on how to maximise your website and gain more support for your cause, making the most of your online presence through good design, SEO and meta tagging, with examples from British Council, British Trust for Ornithology and Buglife….


Previous delegates said of the seminar; “very useful and inspiring – the fundamentals of marketing” 
Aimed at those responsible for building support online,  you will come away with an understanding of: 

•  The fundamentals of great website design, appropriate for your audience

•  Ten tips to maximise your website to ensure it is adding value

•  Online tools and techniques, such as SEO and meta tagging, from recent case studies

•  How to address issues and concerns you may have with your online work

We would very much like to see you and a colleague at this Free Shortcuts seminar on Friday 13th March 2015 at 4pm for one hour at 229 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T7QG.
Places are limited to 20, so please do click here now to subscribe and book your free place.
‘Shortcuts’ seminars are intended to give you the most important information in the one-hour session. Drinks, cakes and a friendly networking session will follow the seminar. 
We look forward to seeing you there!
Kind regards,
Follow us on Twitter
Visit our website
Date: 13th March 2015Time: 4 – 5 pmLocation: 02 Workshop229 Tottenham Court RdLondon

Green Banana Marketing shortcut seminar

Cool Idea or Skating on thin Ice? Five lessons for IBC ii

ice bucket key figures

You’ve heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral in June but have you heard of Aymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease? ALS is a motor neuron disease that attacks the nerves in the spinal cord and brain.

ALS is the most common motor neurone disease, which often starts to show signs at the age of 60. There are an average of two deaths per 100,000 people each year in the UK alone and survival from onset of the disease is 3-4 years.

A pretty convincing case for support, which the Ice Bucket Challenge, that originated in the US, aimed to raise awareness and money for this disease,
but how efficient has it been?

The craze caught on with 2.4 million videos related to the ‘IBC’ on Facebook this summer, and a further 28 million people joining the conversation (either in likes, comments or posts) between June 1st and September 30th. ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ was in the news on average 78 times per day and trending by the end of August; there were more Google searches for this than for all of the searches for ‘Gaza’, ‘Ferguson’ or ‘Iraq’.

Perhaps it was a good antidote to the Malaysian airline tragedy, Ebola virus outbreak, the continued fight against ISIS, and not to mention the passing of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers! But has the feel good factor of taking part been helping charities? MNDA, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (the charity most strongly associated with ALS in the UK), has raised £7m from ice bucket donations, a sum worthy of a half seconds soaking on a warm summer’s day.

But in the context of other previous charity challenges, did ‘IBC’ actually deliver? The ‘no makeup selfie’ for CRUK raised over £8m in just 6 days and ‘Movember 2013’ raised a whopping £20.4m in just one month. Both of these suggest that the ‘IBC’ should have raised significantly more in four months of intensive activity with an estimated 20 million people taking part.

Ice bucket vs Movember© Green Banana Marketing
Number of people involved in Ice bucket challenge and Movember per country (‘000)

The craze is already beginning to freeze over!

How many of the IBC videos actually resulted in donations? The Charities Aid Foundation estimated of the 1 in 6 Britons that have taken part so far, only 1 in 10 have actually donated to a charity. This rings true, for the 20 million who took part, if each donated £1, the total raised would be nearer £20 million.

Thoroughly entertained, but the bottom line is that most of the videos didn’t result in giving to a good cause. And there have been environmental challenges about the amount of water used in the IBCs, particularly the one involving 40,000 litres from a dumper truck.

Overall, the IBC could have been more productive and we think:
1. Although substantial amounts were raised for and MNDA, it is disproportionate to the number of people taking part

2. Clarity should have been given around the fundraising mechanic, as many people were confused about what to do

3. A simple branding device might well have helped the participants on either side of the challenge! Also, if the IBC had been a more successful fundraising magnet for ALS, a better-branded mechanic would have drawn less income from other charities, what William MacAskill, Vice President of Giving What We Can, calls ‘funding cannibalism’

4. The campaign has raised awareness for ‘ALS’, but not as much for Aymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis disease – next time participants would benefit from a progress report and a brief summary of the actions taken as a result of their involvement

5. From an environmental point of view, the campaign mechanics could have involved Water Aid, who themselves raised considerable funds on the back of the challenge. Water Aid raised £47,000 in one day – which is 50% higher than it has ever received in a single day before). The should have been a good well thought through partnership, involving other charities as well as, perhaps a utility company.

There are more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to fundraise than the Ice Bucket Challenge; it is definitely fun to watch but may be more of a damp squib than the cool enterprise we first thought. A bit more careful thought at the beginning could have quadruple the income raised for Aymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and made a real difference. Will IBC ii be back next Summer – we certainly hope so.

Ice bucket essential danate

The optimism of action


It was back in 2005 that I launched the Marketing Society not-for-profit group – a small thought leadership group for charity marketing folk. The Marketing Society backed the new group and have been stellar supporters ever since of charity and cause related marketing. Little did I know then that the Society would honour me with a Fellowship all these years later. I have admired previous Fellows, and secretly each year at the ceremony, wondered how they managed to achieve their awards…

Receiving the award was a good moment to reflect on the charity sector and the work we’ve done. Above all else, the thing that stands out most is the real passion people in those organisations have for their causes and for making a difference. This, to coin the words of Greenpeace, has often meant “stopping wrongs”, which is not a bad thing to say about your day job!

A redefined Marketing Society vision is also more hands-on and about making a difference in your work; “inspiring bolder leadership” including the work to support sustainability and good causes.

Charities have also taken a long hard look at their visions to meet the needs of today’s demanding supporters who want more transparency and greater action. Macmillan are about supporting and being there for the journey with cancer, Oxfam are about changing lives for the better – lifting people out of poverty. Charities have become more action oriented around fewer issues, which is a good thing. Passion and leadership doesn’t have to come from the global North.  Companies like Unilever with their 5 Levers for change and the Fairtrade Foundation, addressing sustainability and poverty, have found that people care as deeply about sustainability in emerging markets such as China and Brazil, and these countries now bring great leadership and inspiration to the table.

And organisations like Amnesty have relocated their resources to be closer to where human rights abuses are happening.  There is no point in standing on the edge of the issue. I remember Blake Lee-Harwood at one event, Greenpeace’s then Director of Campaigns, telling us how Greenpeace ‘practiced what they preached’. Still guided by the words of one of the early founders, Harald Zindler – “the optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought”. Today all members of Greenpeace staff are expected to ‘stop a wrong’ or to try and ‘replace it with a right’. It is simplicity and passion at work. Take their fight against Lego partnering with Shell, who are battling to dig up the Artic, and you see the same approach at work. Seb Coe talked about his role in bringing the Olympic games to Africa, one of his stated dreams, at a Marketing Society hosted evening. His vision is to make health and sport a part of everyone’s life and normalise disability in sport. I hope that the Marketing Society continue to play a pivotal role in inspiring people to see optimism and opportunity in life changing action.

Marketing Excellence – Green Banana Marketing’s free shortcuts event!


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Marketing Excellence Case Studies


Marketing Excellence Case Studies – Free Shortcuts seminar

Green Banana Marketing’s second free Shortcuts seminar of 2014. Step inside the agency world, learn how to create case studies, build campaigns and communicate with your audience, with examples from Fairtrade, Spark and Bats.

Aimed at those working for charities and wishing for an overview of Marketing and where case studies can add value. Previous delegates said of the seminar; “very useful and inspiring – the fundamentals of marketing”

You and a colleague are invited to our second Free Shortcuts marketing seminar for this year on Friday 19th September 2014 at 4pm for one hour at 229 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T7QG.

You will come away understanding:       
•  The fundamentals of a great charity campaign
•  What value a marketing case study can add to a charity’s approach

Places are limited to 20, so please click here to subscribe and book your free place now.
‘Shortcuts’ seminars are intended to give you the most important information in the one-hour session. Drinks, cakes and a friendly chatty session will follow it. 

We look forward to seeing you there!
Kind regards,

Green Banana

Follow us on Twitter
Visit our website
Date: 19th September 2014Time: 4 – 5 pm


02 Workshop

229 Tottenham Court Rd


Green Banana Marketing shortcut seminar



Revisit Marketing essentials

Shortcut seminar by Green Banana Marketing on ‘Marketing essentials’ 16/05/2014

Shortcut seminar by Green Banana Marketing on ‘Marketing essentials’ 16/05/2014

Green Banana Marketing’s top tips for charity marketing

Is it any easier to define what we mean by marketing for charities and NGOs? With squeezed budgets and complicated stakeholder needs, I sometimes wonder. If marketing for a charity is “to achieve organisational objectives and to bring the appropriate number of people from the agreed groups to engage and respond in a way that mutually satisfies both parties”, it’s surprising how few know their own organisational objectives, an obvious starting point for effective marketing. Fortunately, more know their own objectives and how these support the charity vision.

For today’s charities, innovation is important and effective, standout marketing. How to leverage digital touch points and to build long-term corporate partnerships with a solid shared strategic core, are also day-to-day worries.

Charity cmarketing-mixomms departments change names at a dizzying speed; from Marcomms, Supporter Engagement to Marketing, Fundraising as standalone to a merged super unit around a common digital belief! 65 years on and James “marketing mix” Culliton will be turning in his grave. He described the combination of elements involved in making any marketing decision; more commonly called the 4 ps of marketing, which have stood the test of time, it’s worth revisiting some of our vast history of marketing and how we fit in! Product, Promotion, Place and Price. And later 3 more Ps were added; People, Physical evidence and Process.

Charities deliver a staggering amount for very little resource but sometimes lack focus. Multi-million pound corporate campaigns tend to work to a much tighter bandwidth, such as changing sales by 5% with a specific audience segment.

NGOs tend to know their brands better than their audiences. Segmenting audiences, by identifying the most receptive moments to engage with people and mapping out user journeys would be a critical part to improving supporters and the charities focus.

We’re delighted that four of the ten most effective UK charities cited in the recent ‘Passionate About Collaboration’ report, which identified the UK’s most effective NGOs, are our clients, based on responses from over 100 NGO Chief Executives. Our approach chimes with the report’s main conclusions, which is to be more effective with reach and impact.

We are lucky enough to have worked with some of the very best marketing teams in the charity world from Fairtrade to Buglife – this we believe comes from a love of their organisation and a belief in what they can do.

Marketing Essentials – Green Banana Marketing’s free shortcuts event!


Your invitation to Green Banana Marketing’s next Shortcuts event

Shortcuts Series

Marketing Essentials

Marketing Essentials – Green Banana Marketing’s first free Shortcuts seminar of 2014. Aimed at those wishing to brush up on their marketing,  an introduction or refresher of the marketing mix to make sure you’re focusing on the right areas.  Ideal for marketers, project managers, managers, events organisers and those new to marketing,  new to the sector or maybe you have a job that has expanded from PR or sales to include  “marketing”.

You and a colleague are invited to our first Free Shortcuts marketing seminar for this year on Friday 16th May 2014 at 4pm for one hour at 229 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T7QG.

A previous delegate said of the seminar; “very useful and inspiring – the basics and fundamentals of marketing”

You will come away understanding:

•    The marketing mix, and tools that help marketers communicate successfully, and how to use them in your organisation

•    Your target market and how to reach them

•    Creating compelling marketing messages and objectives

•    Developing a marketing plan for your organisation – which channels to use from social to promotion

•    How other campaigns have achieved this from Greenpeace’s Saving the Arctic to Buglife’s campaign

Places are limited to 20, so please click here to subscribe and book your free place now.

‘Shortcuts’ seminars are intended to give you the most important information in the one-hour session. It will be followed by drinks, cakes and a friendly and chatty session.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Kind regards,

Green Banana

Follow us on Twitter
Visit our website
Date: 16th May 2014Time: 4:00 – 5:00pmLocation: 02 Workshop

229 Tottenham Court Rd





Do blockbuster charity ads communicate the mission?

Blog GBM Blog Do blockbuster charity ads communicate the mission? image


Four new mega charity TV ads have come out in the last few weeks. Save the Children, Barnardo’s, Age UK and Macmillan. It’s a tough time for most charities but these four look well funded.

 But do they deliver and communicate the mission? Which is often tough as most charities deliver their mission through policy work. Let’s find out.

“If London was Syria” for Save the Children, with Natasha Kaplinsky, is all about the effects of war with the line ‘just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening”. Coinciding with three years after the Syria Crisis began (yes three years!), this is bang on Save the Children’s mission, about saving children’s lives, helping when disasters strike and giving them the best start. My only beef, the idea of wars in your backyard was done better in a Costwolds village scene in Unwatchable, a story about conflict minerals in Congo.

Next up is Barnardo’s new TV ad about Ellie’s life of being told ‘she’s no good’ and her desperate need to make some things stop, which can all be ‘conquered’ with Barando’s support. ‘Believe in children’ is exactly what this is about and again in the sweet spot for their mission.

‘Life flies’, the beautiful new ad from Age UK, is about being valued. It shows life’s journey from ‘0-100’. I love this ad. I wanted to donate immediately to Age UK. It’s clever, enjoy life’s journey, as it goes in a blink, so you may as well enjoy it all. Age UK aims to improve ‘later life’ for everyone and this TV ad is all about making the most of later life.

‘No one should face cancer alone’ from Macmillan Cancer Support goes from strength to strength, showing the importance of support to those who need it most. And it quietly celebrates those who ‘support’ the most; mums, donors, careers, at one point all in one scene – it doesn’t get more powerful. No one should face cancer alone and Macmillan Cancer Support strives to improve the lives of people affected with cancer. Mission accomplished.

All four ads do deliver the mission. Seeing the extraordinary in the everyday. Agencies love charity work, they mine for an insight, a minutia blown up to dramatise how your money can help.

2 Degrees Network Award Ceremony

A balmy evening at Lord’s cricket ground was the perfect backdrop for a ceremony and dinner to celebrate the sustainability successes of organisations, large and small. Kim Bailey, Associate Sustainability Practitioner and Giles Robertson Founder and Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing attended the event last week on the 10th of July.

Seeing so many people representing their companies with pride was a joy to witness. The winnerscame from an array of small-impassioned companies showcasing technological advances in energy and water management and even space technology in the case of Arla Foods.  The glitz and glamour of the big companies came in the form of prizewinners, O2, RBS and Sky.

Fabulous food and drink, interesting conversations and a witty comedian made for a super evening.

And now the but ….I joined a networking group, so more facilitated networking and partnering opportunities with this interesting group of guests would be appreciated.

How about a safari style supper – swapping places between courses?

Our lovely client Buglife was keen to share how the invertebrate charity preserves the wildlife that turn the cogs of the planet, but with no name badges and penguin suits, we couldn’t find the people we wanted to speak to.

Martin Chilcott, Chair of 2degrees spoke of the importance of fun and values.


Here are Green Banana’s top tips for injecting more of both for next year:

  • Make it snappy – The winners had all chosen songs to collect their trophies by – great idea! How about using them for therather ‘worthy’ entry categories?  Or poems, or film titles.Share – Showcase the way companies are doing business differently to conventional organisations.
  • Shine – Let’s hear the sustainability champions talk.  They will all have a tale to tell.  The case studies should be available on the night.
  • Stars – Funny’s great.  Inspirational is better.  There are some great sustainability talkers out there who make you feel you can reach for the stars not just admire them
  • Fun and Games – laughing at jokes is great.  What’s more fun is interaction – how about using the great Lords’ lawns for after dinner croquet. Or a treasure trail, rather than a quiz?
  • Smart’s great – but comfortable is better and so much more individual, so trust us to turn up looking OK.
  • Variety is the spice – If sustainability is going to be embedded in companies, let’s talk to the unconvinced as well as the converted.  We need a few more finance directors on the guest list.

So a super evening and if we get the chance to meet a few more guests, exchange and share vision and values and have more fun next year – a truly great evening will be had by all.

Building your Brand on and offline our next shortcut seminar

If I say Apple, Colgate, CNN, Coca-Cola, Canon, Volkswagen, people are immediately aware of what it is, where it is from and their degree of “attachment” to the brand or product. But the awareness around these brands has been nurtured, created, developed, and maintained by the companies’ brand strategists. Often with billions of pounds. Though we might not have the budgets in the charity sector, some of the learnings are useful and applied consistently, can be very effective.

Last century, the aim was to build and to develop a strong brand with the public through advertising. Nowadays, with the Internet and ever-tough competition all over the place, organisations need to build their brand’s reputation on and offline, and be as creative as ever to generate maximum interaction.

How do you develop an on and offline strategy that works? Should we talk about the word ‘brand’ for charities, which has only just stopped being a ‘dirty word’? How do we build strong engagement around your brand?

Here are a few examples of brands that have successfully managed both their on and offline strategy over the last few years. No doubt there will be a few surprises with our selection.

The story of Adnams, a small beer producer that is building its brand around communities:

Established in 1872, Adnams, as a “basic” retailer and pub owner, started to build life around its brands by relating its products to its mission and vision.

Adnams created a community around each of its brand. In 1990, it first built the Adnams’ charity to help people living within 25 miles from Southworld. Then it created a history around each branded beer.

And finally, they are helping protect the environment and sealife by supporting the Marine Conservation Society with the launch of the Fat Sprat beer and by using “green” distillery production. For example, they work with local farmers and producers; they use aneoribic digestion units, green roofs and bore holes to chill their brewery and the first carbon neutral bottled beer was made from hops grown locally at East Green.

The company maintains interest with its audience of the histories and builds real engagement and experience through brewery visits, events for the community and regular tweets. In 20 years they have built a strong offline reputation. Recently, they have started to develop this online reputation by refreshing their retail website, finely tuned to its audience needs, inviting them to participate in events, to comment, to interact on social channels and to built the story of their brand together.

Adnams expanded their activity, opening their Adnams Cellar & Kitchen shops to attract a new segment of women. “We were keen to appeal to the 50 per cent of the population we weren’t talking to – females.” says Andy Wood, Adnams chief executive and, in 2012, they won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development.

To what end – increased sales, visits, awareness?  We’ll look at this when we meet.

Buglife building its brand to be the “one-stop-shop” for bugs

Created in the 90’s when there was no one organisation devoted to protecting invertebrates, Buglife became the first to do so in Europe.

Over the past 20 years, 1,000 active members have joined Buglife. In 2012, a strategy and business review, helped by the Tubney Foundation funding, identified opportunities to increase their membership to 10,000 in the next five years by growing awareness through the brand and establishing new partnerships.

Buglife worked on all aspects (a more contemporary logo , website, social channels, employee engagement etc.) of their brand “personality”, to create a stronger and more powerful “environmental charity”. Green Banana Marketing has been assisting Buglife in defining their priorities, brand image, audiences and digital assets including ‘developing a new’ website.

For their various audiences, offline, Buglife organise different events (including be-lines), children packs for schools to awareness of invertebrate causes through their campaigns like Neonics. Online GBM have worked hard to build an entirely new website, keeping their audience up-to-date and involved. The aim being to increase participation with main groups (media, public, policy makers and partners) and to help them understand and interact with the main issues, and supporting the ambition of being the “one stop shop” for Bugs.

These recent change gave Buglife the opportunity to review its mission and image, and to create even more real interaction with its audiences.

The online part of this project will be launched towards the end of July – so we will be able to give a progress report at our next shortcut on 26th of July.

For more information, or to book your place – View event invite now!

Green Banana Marketing Virtually Hangout: Marketing Sustainability

Giles Robertson, Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing and associate Sustainability Practitioner, Kim Bailey, took part in a Google Hangout Session on whether consumers have turned-off from green and how marketing can switch them back on.

Check out the video on our You Tube Channel:

Here are the top 10 tips for marketing sustainability that came out of that conversation:

  1. Create your own unique sustainability journey
  2. Gain leadership from the top for an effective team effort
  3. Drop the jargon, avoid ‘greenwash’, go for absolute clarity
  4. Link-up with those in the know to lessen your environmental impacts.  This can be with NGOs such as the Marine Conservation Society to work on marine projects or sustainability experts to gain the right standards and certifications
  5. Develop credible targets and deliver tangible outcomes
  6. Breakdown your vision into bite-size pieces
  7. Use real people and real projects to tell your success stories
  8. Be bold in your ambitions and actions and let people know about them
  9. Social media is your best friend in creating conversations and motivating your customers, explain on a day-to-day basis how you are doing things and don’t ever tell porkie pies
  10. Celebrate success & reward your customers.  Place the emphasis on personal benefit and show how the greater good has benefited too.

Although the good old marketing strategies of knowing your customer and meeting them where they are in their environmental knowledge still holds good; sustainability marketing requires tangible proof for any claims.  Promises need to be delivered.

Green Banana Marketing Ltd’s associate sustainability practitioner, Kim Bailey, works with companies and charities to ensure that they are as green, smart and fair as they claim to be.

Follow us on Twitter @gogreenbanana.




Five ways to increase your influence with social media

Social media
Social media has become a far more prominent and important part of most people’s lives than we could have predicted.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends”

Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon

Social media began almost a decade ago but it’s become a far more prominent and important part of most people’s lives than we could have predicted. It has become a more advanced version of the classic word-of-mouth – and companies try to use it as such.

Here are five tips to help increase your influence through social media platforms.

1. Know your online presence

Nowadays, almost all groups, charities, companies and individuals are running a social platform (or they should be). However, to make the most of your online presence, you need to be able to answer three fundamental questions:

  • What is my online presence? For instance, we’ve had clients not knowing about multiple Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook feeds, working inconsistently with different messages
  • Which social platforms best fit my supporter /audience base? For instance, Vine, the six second video sharing site, lends itself very well to WWF’s endangered species programme, but is perhaps less effective for the Samaritans’ support work
  • How are we measuring our influence online? Are we plotting and measuring where people go on our site, who is re-tweeting and what number of comments are we getting on our posts? (and, more importantly, how many people has this been fed on to)? Most platforms offer tools to measure how many times your pages or posts have been seen, the number of clicks per minute you’ve received, what content is the most appreciated (liked) by viewers, and so on.

2. Understand the best way to influence key audiences

Once you have found what is the best platform to reach your target audience, you need to find the best way to influence them through this channel. Should we produce posts, videos, photos and engage our target audience with games, petitions, actions, competitions etc? Keep them informed of how many actions and time spent equates to a certain level of influence. Amnesty do this really well, explaining that in 5 minutes you could sign a petition, with half a day’s support, you could attend a rally.

3. Produce shareable content – and make it easy to do so!

Most social platforms allow for the sharing of content so it is easy to engage with campaign videos, infographics, viral, posters, etc. in this most popular way. As stand out is tough on social platforms, all your creative talents should be focused on producing relevant photos to promote your posts and increase sharing opportunities. Make sure your content is not too heavy and long, and that people can quickly understand and share with their comments (and ownership). Heck, why not write a shareable chunk of text to go with posts, 140 word re-tweet friendly.

4. Consistent and flowing campaigns – don’t start and stop.

When you start being present on a social, make sure you keep your audience engaged by regularly posting information (at least twice a week). Show off past projects and successes, the difference you’ve made so far, your ‘storyboard’ or your personality – by interacting in this way, you will build engaged audiences. Keep you audience up to date. But don’t bore them.

5. Finally, let others do the heavy lifting!

Relevant partners will happily use your content, so build your campaign and change strategy with this in mind. You may well be the trusted partner in this programme and you can make use of networks, which may well quickly get to 1.5million people – if you are working with O2 Priority Moments, for instance. This is well worth doing if it can build support and engagement in a meaningful and relevant way.

Some of the best charities and environment social campaign from the last year include:

Campaign “Touch Yourself” for Breast Cancer Awareness

Touch Yourself
The campaign aimed to promote early cancer detection through self-checks for breast lumps.

The campaign launched in October 2012 by F Cancer and Women’s Health and Men’s Health magazines, aimed to promote early cancer detection through self-checks for breast lumps. A Facebook app was created to pledge to perform a self-check and share a variety of 14 pre-written postcards with friends, encouraging them to do the same.

This is the king of campaigns, a perfect example of how to use of social channels. Facebook was the main channel, with sharable content engaging the target audience and ways to encourage friends to do the same.

Campaign Twestival for Charity: Water

Twestival aimed toto bring Twitter communities together to raise money for Charity: Water

“On 12 February 2009, 200+ international cities hosted a Twestival (Twitter + festival) to bring Twitter communities together to raise money for Charity: Water”. One week later the charity water staff flew to Ethiopia to drill the first well.

They immediately posted videos on Twitter related to their work, with some “re-tweetable“ information about water conditions, and published funds raised for each city. The Twitter activity allowed communities to engage, raise £174,899 funds for water projects, to build 55 wells, to serve water to over 17,000 people, and also to allow followers to see the day to day activity.



School’s Green Week & Science week

I am a big fan of schools that take their Science Week or Green Week seriously. As a Trustee of the Marine Conservation Society, I’ve just been into the excellent Lee Common Church School and spoken to them about the marine environment.

I talked to the whole school (well it is only wee with 48 children from reception to year two) about the challenges facing our seas. We also spoke to a slightly bigger group at The Beacon of 450 boys. I am pleased to say that £800 was donated and Lee Common adopted a turtle through MCS.

They asked great questions and were amazed by the scale of things like the Basking Shark (which grows to an amazing 11 metres in length and yet only eats the smallest of things in the sea). We looked at the effects of pollution – and how one lucky seal had a happy ending, which isn’t always the case. Five out of the seven global turtle species come to the UK shores (including the Leatherback, Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley) and often confuse their favourite tea of jellyfish with plastic carrier bags. We saw how similar plastic bags look to jellyfish and the other problems caused by the massive rise in sea litter.

We looked at the abundant sealife with so many surprises including the Cuckoo Wrasse, which changes from a female to a male, causing quite a stir. And the biggest ever

Leatherback washed up in Wales, at ten times the weight of an adult.

We looked at some of the common things we see on our beaches and how it’s good to know a few of these including the seaweed which looks like Lettuce, as we are never further than 70 miles from the sea.

We also considered what inspires us about nature. And how a passionate interest can turn into a lifelong obsession (or even a career, in many cases).

We discussed the importance of well-managed fisheries. With over 85% of fish stocks at their limits, we looked at the fish which should be avoided. And finally we discussed the role of government in protecting our seas – of which only 0.006% are currently protected. And the Marine Conservation Society, who are pushing government to recognise 127 Marine Protected Zones (which would make up 27% of our seas). But this mean old government is only considering 40 of the zones.

I hope our school Science Week and Green Week children go on to be more inspired future leaders and do a better job of protecting our seas.

Charity influence with social media and our next Shortcuts event

Social media is perfect for the needs of charities and not-for-profit organisations. Facebook and Twitter have over 1.4 billion members – it’s a cheap, targeted, and an engaging way to reach and influence our audiences instantly.

We’re obsessed by online – apparently the UK spends more than any other country online (so we heard at Media Trust’s GoMobile Conference last week). And mobile is the next big thing. But how do you harness this to influence people and generate real change?  We’ve been looking at how the best charity campaigns do just this.

80% of charities are actively using social media as part of their campaigns. There has also been a doubling of supporters on key UK charities social media channels in the past year alone.

We have listed some of the best uses of social media in the charity / environmental sector:

Fairtrade – battle for the farmers





More than 500 million of the world’s farmers produce 70 per cent of the world’s food but receive an average of only 3 per cent of the retail prices charged by supermarkets. Fairtrade’s campaign to get a better deal for the smallholder farmers highlighted the issue at this year’s G8 meeting.

Why it’s on the list
The campaign signed-up just under 10,000 people as a result of a brilliant, shareable campaign video and protest idea backed by some solid celebrity faces (Jonathan Ross included). The petition will be sent to David Cameron on World Fair Trade Day in May before the G8 meeting the following month.

Invisible Children – KONY campaign







The KONY 2012 campaign started as an experiment. Could an online video make an obscure war criminal famous? And if he were famous, would the world work together to stop him? Or would it let him remain at large?

Why it’s on the list
The fastest growing viral video of all time, with 100 million YouTube views in 6 days, 3.7 million people pledging their support raising over $12 million and becoming the “most liked” non-profit on Facebook with 3.1 million likes. KONY was the #9 most searched person on Google this year. – online petition platform







Launched in January 2007, is a global online campaigning organisation that brings people-powered politics to international decision-making.

Why it’s on the list
Avaaz has grown to more than 10 million members worldwide.

It provides an online, low-cost process in which people all over the world can sign-up to try and make a difference – right injustices, save people’s lives, campaign for fairness – anything.

Breast Cancer Awareness UK – I like it on







Mysterious updates such as, ‘I Like It On’ followed by ‘the floor’, ‘the bed’, etc., started appearing on females’ Facebook social profiles.  Women were actually talking about where they like to leave their handbags and this created curiosity and interest to find out about Breast Cancer Awareness UK.

Why it’s on the list
Clever, inexpensive way to create a buzz across Facebook and Twitter by leaving the work up to the audience themselves!

Movember – supporters of Prostate Cancer UK






Movember – the famous yearly campaign started back in 2003 from humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia. Since then it has skyrocketed and throughout the month of November – you would struggle not to see any supporters rocking the facial hair.

Why it’s on the list
Last year, through Movember, Prostate Cancer UK (the main UK beneficiary of the campaign) managed to raise an amazing £26 Million.

Social media is a way for brands to interact with many people in a targeted away – often with instant results. As these examples have show, if the content is brilliant and intriguing, you have a good chance of people sharing it.  A focused campaign, with brave responsive creative, will stand any charity in good stead.

We will be discussing 3 of these case studies in our next event as our successful Shortcuts seminar series continues on 3 May.

For more information, or to book your place – View event invite now!

Tough getting to the top

The Shard is a very very high building. You forget this when the lift whisks you up to the 28th floor in a few seconds, not even a third of the way up Europe’s tallest building. Irvine Sellar (the entrepreneur behind the Shard), Ronan Dunne (CEO of O2) and Benny Higgins (CEO of Tesco Bank) gave a very frank overview of their thoughts on leadership – interviewed by the excellent Suki Thompson on the launch of Oystercatcher’s new report, ‘Tough at the top’. Perhaps the location on the 28th floor was a physical reminder of how tough it really is getting to the top (there are 92-floors in this monolith).

What did we learn about leadership – in order of importance it is about:

1. Building trust. Higgins, behind Tesco Bank, said that having ‘the courage to lean into the truth to create enduring trust’ as well as anchoring the company’s work in the truth, was essential. The Tesco mothership has been redoubling it’s leaning efforts over the last fortnight.

2. Having the courage – which few do – to pick the very best team (better than you) as well as having the courage to say when things are not going so well

3. Being a great storyteller in a way that inspires those around you to follow

4. Having the ability to make the right decisions and to learn quickly from making the wrong ones.

5. The ability to get things done. Irvine thinks entrepreneurs don’t necessarily fit the bill to be good CEOs – they are much better at start-ups and handing over to guys like Ronan and Benny to finish.

6. Conducting the team, and making everyone else’s success shine

In this brief

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interview, the conclusion was that marketing folk – with all their passion – could lead at the top of an organisation, but sometimes found it difficult to let go of their specialism.

When it got to what would be on each of their epitaphs – I crossed my fingers and hoped that the Arup’s ‘wobbly bridge’ bloke wasn’t the PM on The Shard! Ronan said he wanted to leave a positive legacy. I loved O2’s ambition of getting the UK’s one million youth back into work (is that really in O2’s business plan?). I wanted to ask Irvine how it felt to build the tallest building in Europe and yet forget to put bike racks in anywhere nearby – it took me 15 minutes to park my bike – but at least from the 28th I could see where I park it on the Southbank.

A few interesting quips and anecdotes from our CEOs but if you want to see truly inspirational leadership, look at interviews with Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard or Tim Smit (founder of the Eden Project) – they are real game changers.

Best 6 charity marketing campaigns from 2012 and announcing GBM’s new Shortcut series

As the first chilly month of 2013 draws to a close, we wanted to present our list of what we consider to be the best standout marketing from charities in 2012. We have selected six campaigns, which we think are bold and different in what has been a challenging year. Brave souls out there are doing the best for their charity brands and we applaud you all.

1. Save The Arctic
Save the Arctic, headed by Greenpeace, is a campaign to save the Arctic from industrial fishing and offshore drilling for oil. The campaign film, Vicious Circle  is narrated by John Hurt and has driven an impressive 2.4 million people to sign the petition, to have the Arctic region declared a sanctuary by the United Nations.


2. Plan UK recognition
Plan UK’s Because I am a Girl campaign which highlights the plight of the world’s poorest girls, used an interactive ad on a bus stop in Oxford Street. The advert used facial recognition so men and boys were denied the choice to view the full content, to highlight the fact that women and girls across the world are denied choices and opportunities on a daily basis.

3. St John Ambulance Helpless
A TV ad which had minimal media spend went viral, showing a young man surviving cancer, only to choke on some food whilst eating at a mate’s BBQ. Highlighting that up to 140,000 people die each year from choking – that’s as many as die from cancer.  As a direct result of the ad, thirty thousand downloaded the free First Aid app.

4. Compassion in World Farming Front Page
A large proportion of French farmers were expected not to meet the sow stall ban deadline, meaning thousands of sows would continue suffering illegally in sow stalls. CIWF tailored the ‘front page’ of a newspaper for supporters to complete and send to the French Ambassador.








5. Charity: water
Charity: water started three years ago with one man in the States giving up his birthday, spending it instead building wells in Africa. Since then the charity has grown using clever and arresting images, word of mouth, advertising, interesting events and exhibitions and social media. Their fundraising efforts involving celebrities such as Will Smith have been second to none.










6. Oxfam Africa
I love the fact that these print ads hit the press at the same time as Sir David Attenborough’s landmark series Africa.  A positive repositioning of how we see Africa as a country of bounty and great natural riches.



These are just some of things that inspired us from last year.  We will be using a selection of these case studies in our first ‘Shortcuts’ seminar series on Friday 1st March 2013. ‘Shorcuts’ is our free seminar series aimed at inspiring marketing managers to deliver even greater marketing in 2013.

We seek a dynamic Account Executive

A chance to work with environmentally focused start up, Green Banana Marketing, full-time or part-time, as an Account Executive, generous trainee salary (with an opportunity to earn good commission). You will be based in Waterloo, London.

If you’re interested in marketing and feel you have the ability to play an integral role in a growing company, then this role with Green Banana Marketing could be for you. Your work will be helping make the world smarter, greener and fairer.

You will be generating new business (for our core areas of expertise including marketing, stakeholder insights, partnership strategy and ethical / sustainable guides). We predominantly deal with ‘green’ companies’ or departments that promote sustainability, working with the education and charity sectors, stretching into the corporate arena.

We require an individual who can come up with ideas, has initiative, confidence, a friendly rapport-building persuasive telephone manner, with good drive.
You will

need to be able spot and create opportunities, think laterally, have some knowledge of marketing and an interest in green and sustainable business.

If you are motivated and have the above qualities then we would definitely like to hear from you at our small but growing company. Green Banana Marketing is in its fourth year and has a team of five very friendly people.

If you are interested in this opportunity with Green Banana Marketing then please look at our website and email your CV, outlining what you can offer to

Emerging countries innovating could be our sustainable key

You don’t often leave a day’s conference with a Trashion bag made from recycled packaging. This was part of ‘turning waste into style’, one of Unilever’s initiatives harnessing local Indonesian creativity and creating 25 fashion lines from waste packaging.

Unilever’s Keith Weed pledged at The Marketing Society’s Annual Conference to halve emissions from his 4,000 products (as diverse as Marmite and Dove soap) by 2020. Who can blame him for injecting some creativity into embedding sustainability – it is now core to Unilever’s business. The scale of the challenge is clear with 68% of emissions coming from product use.

Imagining tomorrow’s products is one of their approaches (think Comfort’s One Rinse detergent which needs less water to wash clothes) alongside working with the right ‘expert’ NGO partners to help them on their journey.

As the global population booms and we see a shift of power from G7 to E7 countries, Keith said it is important for companies to be transparent (as people are increasingly interested in companies) and to be honest with what is achievable (if the whole planet lived like we do in the West we would need an extra three planets to support us).
The International Airlines Group CEO, Willie Walsh claimed reducing emissions could be achieved through the use of biomass plants to create aviation fuel and by rationalising air traffic control into one system, allegedly saving 12% of CO.  Perhaps more leadership in driving such innovation through to a workable proposal is needed from Willie himself?

Emerging economies such as Indian, China and Brazil are also key to addressing global sustainability.  Dr Tim Lucas from Sao Paolo’s The Listening Agency talked about Brazil’s uniqueness  – on track to be the fifth largest economy. Brands are respected and a fierce class hierarchy exists which has driven many companies to have sub brands to co-exist in completely different parts of town.  Perhaps a shared approach to product sustainability and recycling could unify company approaches- something few brands have attempted.

Ajayan Gopinathan from The Philosophers Stone discussed Indian’s motivations and desires. The world’s third largest economy is clearly enjoying a boom. 32% of the population are under 15 years of age and kid’s parent pester power is king when it comes to certain brands. Young people think they can do anything, an energy brands could harness for the good of the people and the planet.

Brands new to this market need to touch people with narrative stories that fuse cultures in sensitive and real ways. Indians are people oriented and very proud of their country.  Over 865 million have mobile phones and there are 400 TV channels – many of them local.

We’ve learnt from our work in emerging markets like China and Brazil that people care deeply about sustainability.  Companies who tailor their approach supported with on the ground projects making a real difference, stand to be part of the country’s fabric for the next decade.

Celebrating WWF’s 50 years of great marketing

As WWF, one of the world’s most recognised and trusted environmental organisations, celebrates its half-century we look back at its marketing successes.

Great marketing and campaigns have helped define WWF’s place in the 21st century from the early 60’s, moving   sustainability from the fringes to the mainstream of public debate. In 1961 when WWF was formed the Daily Mirror published a front page about the dire situation facing endangered species, bringing the charities work to the public’s attention for the first time.

More recently Earth Hour has become an annual event, launching in 2007 in Sydney (2.2 million participants and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change). A year later, it became a global movement with over 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness.

In 2007 British endurance swimmer and WWF ambassador Lewis Pugh became the first person to swim at the North Pole in order to highlight the rapid melting of the Arctic sea ice and to urge UK carbon emissions targets to be improved. It was a serious stunt to highlight a serious issue, as Pugh braved temperatures of minus -1.8ºC the coldest waters ever swum by a human.

In 2009 the Pandamonium exhibition saw the iconic image of the WWF panda transformed in a fresh contemporary twist. The familiar panda collection boxes were retired in 2007 but had a second life as artists and designers including Sir Peter Blake, Tracey Emin and Paul Smith turned them into unique art pieces on the theme of climate change. The pieces were then auctioned at Selfridges.

WWF’s web and social media involve the public in huge variety of issues. The 135,000 unique users each month prove that the Panda’s appeal is enduring.  Simple and accessible, ‘The Panda Made Me Do It’ site offers the chance for individuals and organisations to choose activities from adopting, sponsoring, signing petitions, campaigning and taking part in the Blue Mile and then sharing their experiences via Facebook and Twitter.

With the One Planet Olympics, WWF teamed up with the organisers of London 2012 Olympics to promote global awareness of sustainability. WWF enters its 51st year helping deliver a sustainable 2012 Olympic games – minimising their impact on the planet. Well done to Team Panda for a good first innings.

As WWF, one of the world’s most recognised and trusted environmental organisations, celebrates its half-century we look back at its marketing successes.  Great marketing and campaigns have helped define WWF’s place in the 21st century from the early 60’s, moving sustainability from the fringes to the mainstream of public debate. In 1961 when WWF was formed the Daily Mirror published a front page about the dire situation facing endangered species, bringing the charities work to the public’s attention for the first time.

More recently Earth Hour has become an annual event, launching in 2007 in Sydney (2.2 million participants and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change). A year later, it became a global movement with over 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness.

In 2007 British endurance swimmer and WWF ambassador Lewis Pugh became the first person to swim at the North Pole in order to highlight the rapid melting of the Arctic sea ice and to urge UK carbon emissions targets to be improved. It was a serious stunt to highlight a serious issue, as Pugh braved temperatures of minus -1.8ºC the coldest waters ever swum by a human.

In 2009 the Pandamonium exhibition saw the iconic image of the WWF panda transformed in a fresh contemporary twist. The familiar panda collection boxes were retired in 2007 but had a second life as artists and designers including Sir Peter Blake, Tracey Emin and Paul Smith turned them into unique art pieces on the theme of climate change. The pieces were then auctioned at Selfridges.

WWF’s web and social media involve the public in huge variety of issues. The 135,000 unique users each month prove that the Panda’s appeal is enduring.  Simple and accessible, ‘The Panda Made Me Do It’ site offers the chance for individuals and organisations to choose activities from adopting, sponsoring, signing petitions, campaigning and taking part in the Blue Mile and then sharing their experiences via Facebook and Twitter.

With the One Planet Olympics, WWF teamed up with the organisers of London 2012 Olympics to promote global awareness of sustainability. WWF enters its 51st year helping deliver a sustainable 2012 Olympic games – minimising their impact on the planet. Well done to Team Panda for a good first innings.

Environmental change driven by charities or companies?

This has been on mind with the ‘Big Society’ (BS), using local leaders, who ever they are? “We are at the foothills of dealing with the challenge of climate change and need business to take the lead” said the then Secretary for the Environment, Margaret Becket, six years ago in her quest to accelerate emissions cuts from corporates. Like the BS she tried to take the very best and hoped that others would follow, but it didn’t quite work out.  Businesses need frameworks and incentives to innovate. If they can make a difference that is distinctive, competitive and generates income then they’re in.  We’ve seen M&S Plan A, Wall Mart’s commitment to sustainable fish, The Co-Op’s ethical services and Cadbury’s commitment to Fairtrade cocoa from Ghana.  These are having impact but alongside the others, who are doing less, are tiny. Environmental charities only have one agenda and that is to achieve change. They have passionate supporters, about 6.5 million of the main ones, who believe in what the charities are doing. Charities are not afraid to campaign against environmental injustices like dangerous chemicals, drive real change with initiatives like the Marine Stewardship Council, force new legislation like the Marine Bill and the Wildlife Trade Act. But perhaps more importantly 7% of England (or 22,556,352 acres) is made up of charity run land, managed by the National Trust, RSPB, Wildfowl and Wetlands and the Church of England. Collectively these spaces have inspired and changed many people’s views.  You won’t hear about a Fizzy Drink Company stopping one of it’s Fizzy drinks to enable it to fund a local beach clean up or to support a local wood. That’s because most company environmental policies are internally focused, short-term and about sorting out their own mess, rather than helping others. Therefore the real powerhouse of environmental change has come from environmental charities, focused on long-term change, rather than the corporate big boys.

The changing face of Development: the role of the private sector

Care International hosted this debate about the private sector’s role in development, testament to their ‘sleeves up’ approach to fighting poverty in over 70 countries. Early on in this discussion, chaired by Alistair Stewart from ITN, we heard that things have changed; no longer do committed companies trot out a CSR report with a yearly update to the board. Kraft’s Associate Director Cadbury Cocoa Partnership said that this approach was no longer enough –support needed to be about deep partnerships with the locals. Moving beyond the ‘extract and sell’ philosophy dominant in the past, innovation is rife including Vodafone’s work in Tanzania, mobile phone banking and local micro finance schemes. But few people have heard about these schemes. People are inspired by ideas and stories which represents a much-needed new face to development. Africa is often portrayed in one dimension and addressing people’s perceptions was seen as key. Communicating entrepreneurial schemes is surely the gateway to mobilising more private support. There is little collaboration and sharing of experiences between corporations and NGOs. The evening also touched on some of the other challenges of private sector investment in countries like Rwanda, such as the increased violence against women who gain an increased income, the environmental balance between local product sourcing and assisting development needs, and being realistic about what the private sector can deliver – it’s unlikely to take over the social services. Craig Hardie, who set up Malawi Mangoes three and half years ago after a senior career in Marketing, believes that by looking after the smallhoder farms (with profits fed back into the community, improving their provisions), you also maintain the quality of the fruit. From Mangoes to cocoa – new models like this are addressing development issues and with over 2.6 billion people living on less than two dollars a day, let’s hope others follow.

What to do to help the environment

Happy New Year. Why not start 2010 by making the following positive changes:
1.    Reduce eating meat. BBC Bloom say giving up meat could save 15 times as much CO2 as switching electricity tariffs! Approximately 17-30 % of global CO2 (growing, producing, importing – rising if you include deforestation) comes from meat production
2.    Design your living and work around the most beneficial natural lighting / heating; which could mean using 75% less energy
3.    Get a green tariff like Good Energy (which sells 100% renewable). Even better, club together with neighbours and micro-generate from the wind and sun, reducing reliance on dirty power
4.    Turn off power when not needed: appliances on stand-by need 20% of their full power
5.    Install meters to measure your water and energy: monitor the ‘bandwidth’ you want to be in and try and reduce how much you use
6.    Buy FSC certified paper and MSC certified fish: both guarantee sourcing from well-managed, sustainable stocks
7.    ‘Buycott’ – being the opposite of boycott – support products which are making a difference environmentally and socially such as Fairtrade products: particularly where tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate are concerned, benefiting workers in the global South
8.    Eat and drink the view. Eating locally produced organic foods not only limits how far your food has travelled but also protects our rolling green countryside. Riverford deliver the best boxes fresh to your door with recipe ideas
9.    Stop washing your clothes so much – do all those shirts need to be washed and ironed every day?  Those towels could be used for one more day? Then save energy and wash them at 30°C rather than 40°C, reducing the electricity by around 40%

Should corporates put more money into charities?

I chaired a debate last night as part of the Marketing Society’s not for profit group. Leading the opposition was Chris Macleod, Head of Group Marketing at Transport for London, London’s largest advertiser. Seconded by expert Richard Harrison, Director of Research at The Charities Aid Foundation, working to create greater value for charities and transforming the way donations are made. And finally Neil Boorman writer, journalist and consultant, who famously lived without brands for a year.

Supporting the motion was Dax Lovegrove, Head of Business and Industry at WWF responsible for developing corporate relationships with the likes of M&S, challenging unsustainable practices. With seconder Maya Prabhu, Senior Philanthropy Adviser from Coutts & Co, where she advises and creates strategies for family foundations and also ensure issues and causes are understand. And finally, on the team Paul Farthing, High Value Relationships Director at Cancer Research UK, one of the UK’s biggest charities with over £420m income raised last year.

The debate was won by the team supporting the motion stating that the big NGOs had the expertise to address the big global challenges like CO2 emissions, AIDS and water scarcity. More cash would enable solutions to be found, developing new systems working with corporates to potentially ‘future proof’ our planet’s resources. Of the £44billion income received by UK charities only a 20th comes from corporates, is that too much to expect? The opposing team said that corporations weren’t set up to give money in this and they too called for a new model which moved away from the old fashioned ‘alms house’ giving to new ways to embed within business with better accountability at its heart. Also only the cuddly popular charities would survive – what about the less appealing causes? And shouldn’t corporate tax been used to address some of these issues?

Recyclage de luxe may inspire others

Hats off to the new environmental campaign ‘recyclage de luxe’ from Stella Artois. Retro ads for recycled packaging, glass, and aluminum are now up, mainstreaming its efforts behind recycling. Having firmly established itself as ‘reassuringly expensive’ (albeit 2 cases are available for £16), with rather unfortunate associations with being the ‘wife beater’s beer”, it feels right expressing its environmental credentials in this way. Few businesses have the credibility or balls to do this; it’s too complicated and why bother putting your head above the parapet? Stella have told the interconnected story of waste and material use and made it central to their offering, bringing some much needed style to recycling.

The ads are good too with retro French mono tones, the packaging for each carved out of 60s fashioned materials including the can from a cool Citroen DS, film noir posters with a Twiggy style women and the glass forged from an old school tellie screen. I love the effort Stella have made and hope this approach inspires others. It’s a shame that more don’t talk about their environmental work. Although, of course the packaging only tells half the story; ‘beer miles’ are increasingly a critical environmental factor as well, many imported lagers could have traveled up to 24,000 miles before reaching you (with climate change, transporting liquids long distances is environmental madness). The best beers are those that have been produced locally to you. But of course Stella is only brewed across the Channel in Belgium. It will be interesting to see how Stella develop this campaign and whether InBev, who own Stella, take a holistic green look across all their beers. But any company that makes a difference to the planet gets my vote and should be supported by all beer drinkers.

Windy McDonalds maybe the answer

Achieving lower carbon emissions by 2020 is no easy feat. The government’s recent white paper has real targets and new ideas. But the main concern is that industry have been left off.  The market does require incentives for industry to make the investments in new technologies.

Ed Millband predicts up to 400,000 new green jobs will be created by 2015 (rising to 1.2 million by 2020). Difficult to imagine in face of the closure of the wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight. The Danish company, Vestas Wind Systems, plans to make 625 workers redundant at the end of July, despite rising profits and strong demand. The UK just won’t be able to scale up renewable energy projects. There are only 2,500 wind turbines in the UK – we should be the global leaders in wind turbine technology.

Which brings me back to companies – many of whom are already leading in the field of energy saving technologies.  But I can’t help thinking that McDonalds could hold the winning card – transforming our relationship with energy and food. Imagine the restaurants in 5 years time; powered by renewable energy, meat and veg that is sourced from the very best British farmers.  The message would be all about eating what’s in our back yard and using micro generation to power their sites.  Now that would make me start buying burgers for my kids. British farmers, the energy story, and addressing obesity –  something that would make a real difference.  They too have finally been hit by the credit crunch, Mr Ronald McDonald it could be time for change, a new name and government grants for Mr McDaylight. Now that would help hit Millband’s new green jobs target.

An Olympian chance for change

McCann Erickson have been appointed by 2012 London Games to be the official game’s marketing agency.

Reports say agencies were less than keen to put their hats in the ring for this monumental task of exciting people and of course selling 9.5 million tickets.

Was their reluctance a response to the size of the task alongside the challenge of trying to please everyone all the time (look at the fuss at the new 2012 logo!) with the poor remuneration deal? London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is offering Tier Three Sponsorship in return for pro bono agency services, just as the economic down turn hits ad land.

Mad Men I despair there’s such a potentially inspiring vision to share. Firstly, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we are the best and can pull off an event like no other. And win some medals. Secondly, it could be the first one planet games with zero carbon emissions, making a real pledge for a healthier planet, inspiring others to follow suit. Thirdly, being a healthier nation also fits in the lead up to, during and after the games. The best way to shift those ever increasing teen pounds is to engage and uplift them all with the very real thought of future gold; the chance to actually watch history in the making – to run on the very same track and swim in the very same lanes. Finally, the whole lasting legacy story is the perfect bitter pill to swallow for the UK tax payer and particularly Londoner’s who are baring the brunt of the costs.

So much about our 2012 London games is truly brilliant; what a shame more haven’t seen the chance.

Swine Flu on You Tube?

Pandemics are not new. The 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic killed between 20 and 100 million people; 1957, and the 1968 pandemic killed approximately 1 million; SARS in Asia in 2003; plus, we also live with AIDS, TB and malaria pandemics.

What has changed is our awareness of them and consequently our responses. It is therefore fascinating how the UK government have communicated the latest outbreak using TV spots, ads, leaflets (the Royal Mail must be delighted) and letters / telephone calls from schools, all of which are very costly. Why not radio and digital encouraging people to download the leaflet? Alleyn’s School shut due to the virus and none of the kids in my local park had heard about it through social networks (just when we needed Flash on You Tube!).

I do like the slogan; ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’, appropriately dramatic. And the prevention of the spread seems clear:

1. Wash your hands.
Stupidly simple response, but compulsive hand-washing prevents the spread. It’s the droplets that spread the disease. These get on our hands and everything we touch. Wash your hands as if you work in a hospital or operating room using hot water, soap.

2. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Influenza is spread with droplets that come out of your mouth or nose.

3. Stay home.
If you’re sick, and wash your hands

4. Don’t touch your face.
Keep your hands out of your eyes, nose and mouth — direct routes to the bloodstream that allow a virus to bypass the barrier of the skin.

5. Avoid sick people
Liquid droplets tend to settle on objects— things that people touch including coins, hand rails, and door knobs.


Scientific evidence shows that face masks don’t protect people from becoming infected.

Greenwash and whitewash – they’re all awash

Surely this must mean the term ‘greenwash’ has become truly mainstream, with a play in its namesake just finishing at The Orange Tree Theatre. A farce set in Bush’s second term, where PR culture has leaked into the very fabric of the US — spin doctors seducing environmentalist activists, and politics swamped by lies and the peddling of greenwash.

Greenwash is a term that has widely been in use for over two decades. It was first coined by an American Environmentalist who was sick of the green claims made by hotels with their ‘re-use your towels’ schemes, which often purported to be for environmental reasons. It has since become widely used to describe companies and organisations who take on green initiatives on a superficial level only.

The expression has its routes in the idea of quickly presenting an acceptable front. Like the description of white washing, it too is a quick fix. But also has the other meaning of one person or team completely beating another, without the losing team so much as gaining a point.

Here’s the interesting connection between white and green wash; the team taking the beating is usually, but not always the weaker, less skilled team. Likewise with greenwash, it is usually applied to organisations taking a weaker, less skilled and less thorough line on green issues. It also tends to fit with companies that are very powerful in their sector and usually — but not always — companies doing the most damage environmentally.

Oh how we white wash the environment with greenwash…