A pink drink can appeared in a Teams call last week. Our colleague was just drinking her usual Friday afternoon Diet Coke, but this time with a prominent and noticeable message.
This particular drink was part of Asda’s Tickled Pink breast cancer campaign, which features exclusive pink products from several different brands. Now in its 27th year, Tickled Pink is one of the UK’s longest running charity partnerships, between Asda, CoppaFeel! and Breast Cancer Now.
While this isn’t the first time Asda’s aisles have turned pink, it is their biggest campaign yet. And coming off the back of a summer of Barbie hype, what better time to continue the obsession with all things pink?
Inspiring social change
There’s an element of fun to the campaign but it does more than add a pop of colour to your household. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – with slogans like “Check Your Cans” (Diet Coke) and charity donations per sale, the aim is to encourage shoppers to check their breasts more regularly as well as support partnerships with CoppaFeel! and Breast Cancer Now. This year alone,
Over 150 people are diagnosed with breast cancer every day in the UK, so awareness of the disease is less of a concern with such prevalence in the population. Catching cancer early is vital in preventing its spread, so Asda has created “The Real Self-Checkout” to educate women on how to check their breasts for lumps.
Social change doesn’t happen overnight; the first step is getting a cause into public consciousness. Collaborations between brands and charities can benefit both business and the social cause – a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Businesses, especially large corporations, have a broad expansive reach. With profit in mind, they can throw funds at a given cause while also getting the recognition to further their corporate responsibility goals. On the contrary, charities get boosted into the public eye whilst receiving necessary funding.
We are seeing a growing trend towards brand partnerships of this nature. During the summer, IKEA partnered with the housing charity, Shelter, to raise awareness and funds towards the housing emergency of our time. ‘Real Life Roomsets’ were displayed throughout select IKEA stores. (2CVer Becca talks more about this in her blog, 'Opening doors in the home space: to social collaborative input of lived experiences and partners'.)
Benefits for brands
Consumers are increasingly interested in supporting brands that align with their values and engage in meaningful social initiatives. There are a number of benefits for brands in doing this:
- Social Responsibility –While businesses are designed to make profits, aligning with social causes demonstrates care for societal issues. Asda, as well as the brands introducing pink packaging, show that it is about more than product sales. Continuing to support breast cancer charities could cement this perception and customer loyalty.
- Salience – Supporting a cause can make brands more memorable: consumers are more likely to remember their involvement and feel a greater affinity for the brand. Pink products stand out in store and in the home, and the temporary move away from traditional packaging is a clear indication of support for Breast Cancer Awareness. A well-run campaign can stand out in consumers’ minds as “that time when…” and can help drive brand preference in the future.
- Differentiation – Supporting a cause helps brands stand out from competitors. This gives consumers a reason to choose. In this case, scarcity of the limited-edition products drives interest, and can in turn drive increased sales / footfall for the brands involved. The products are exclusively available in Asda, so if consumers want a pink tin of Heinz beans or a Warburtons toastie loaf, they need to shop there. Hopefully they’ll be more likely to choose brands involved in the campaigns they support over competitor products.
What can brands do?
- Think about what partnerships are best suited to their brand – authenticity and consistency are key to bringing long-term benefits, while also ensuring there is something they can offer their charity partner
- Focus on campaigning and publicity to get the message across – social media is a great way to reach a wide audience
- Make the partnership visual – include branding that is easily recognisable and clearly shows what is being supported
Who would’ve thought that a pink Coke can could spark such an important conversation amongst us? Impact-driven business choices that draw on key societal issues whilst doing it in a creative way can really go a long way. All hands on deck are necessary for social change – private, public and charitable sectors included.