Image: My Grandad Derek
2017 saw the launch of a Playbook by the WBCSD. Looking at sustainable lifestyles, the Playbook aims to help Marketers promote their products alongside subtle sustainable ques. Instead of bigger, faster and stronger marketing messages that loop into the never-ending cycle of overconsumption, the Playbook promotes the Good Life 2.0, a way of life with aspirations of cleaner, smarter and healthier living. The Playbook describes key categories about how to promote products in a sustainable manner: home and family, time to slow down, the journey matters, and work and life in balance.
More often than not, sustainability is thought of as a sacrifice, and a shift away from the comfortable lives we’ve all come to love. The WBCSD wants to change this brand image of sustainability into one of ease and something we all can do with as little changes to our consumption patterns as possible. Coming at the issue from a branding perspective, the Playbook aims to do what marketing has been doing since the dawn of time; persuade consumers to want something they didn’t want beforehand!
Why does the WBCSD want such a change? The Anthropocene era has caused such massive change in the environment. Many citizens are living outside of the planetary boundaries which is a safe operating space for humanity to maintain the planet for future generations. Biodiversity loss, nitrogen levels and climate change are posing extremely serious threats to the environment. WWF’s footprint calculator, I’m horrified to admit that I’m using 119% of my share of the earth’s carbon resources. The lifestyle of having big homes, using cars, eating rich diets and going on elaborate holidays, soon adds up. Leading to the worrisome conclusion from scientists that we can’t sustain the lifestyle we are leading.
An example of how the Playbook could be used in marketing campaigns can be found in the Coca-Cola UK’s TV advert – Live Like Grandpa Did (2014).
Stark behavioural patterns emerge; the modern breakfast is twice the size of the grandpa’s breakfast, escalators are used instead of walking down the stairs and we are losing quality time with our family. The advert draws on sustainability themes such as reducing food consumption, using alternatives to petrol cars and cutting electricity usage, all whilst having a happy and healthy life. Some argue Coca-Cola isn’t offering the most sustainable product on the market yet they are using subtle marketing techniques to promote a Good Life 2.0 way of sustainable living.
Whilst this advert isn’t necessarily a true representation of what the Playbook 2.0 hopes to achieve; the basic premise is a good example of how sustainable lifestyles can interact with everyday products. Once this type of marketing becomes common, only then will consumer attitudes start to change and sustainability to become more accepted in society.
By Millie Bland