Taniya Hasan on last year's CSR campaigns - the good and the bad.
Pakistani brands dialed up their focus on CSR in 2019. Apart from the usual tree planting drives, collective and inclusive communal activities, 2019 also saw some brilliant initiatives on topics like menstruation, homelessness, children’s cancer and many more. Here is a list of 10 CSR campaigns to get you up to speed with CSR trends, along with a verdict on whether the campaign managed to drive the message home.
1. Moltyfoam X Pink Ribbon
In my humble opinion, Moltyfoam has reigned supreme in the CSR realm over the last couple of years. Their billboards-turned-sleeping beds campaign took the marketing world by storm and the brand didn’t stop there. Keeping up with their promise of facilitating a good night’s sleep for everyone, in October, Master MoltyFoam partnered with Pink Ribbon Pakistan in the fight against breast cancer. The brand raised awareness and funds for Pakistan's first dedicated breast cancer hospital by encouraging audiences to SMS BRICK to 8099 and donate Rs.20 for Pink Ribbon hospital.
Verdict: HIT with a capital H-I-T!
2. Moltyfoam #GoodNightSleepForAll
Did you know close to 1.5 million children sleep on the streets at night? If I haven’t gushed enough about the brand’s ‘do good’ spirit, let me do so again by featuring them for the second time on this list. Moltyfoam joined hands with Al Mustafa Orphanage to supply mattresses. The brand also donated 100 mattresses to Children Hospital Siraye (Lahore) – a hospital that provides shelter and bedding to families who move from rural to urban settings in order to access proper treatment for their children.
3. Bisconni #CompleteOthers
Bisconni came out with a CSR campaign this year (mostly video content) that showed employees gifting superhero-inspired prosthetic arms to differently-abled children. Although the campaign in itself is commendable and hits the sweet spot, the hashtag (#completeothers) doesn’t sit well. In my opinion, the hashtag is low key, offensive and makes the campaign seem less CSR and more entitled.
Verdict: We are all complete in our own way. HIT for the concept, MISS for the hashtag and execution.
4. Always #AlwaysAzad
With the feminist wave in Pakistan at an all-time high, brands like Always, which previously stayed in the shadows, have stepped up their game and embraced the spotlight. #AlwaysAzad was a brilliant campaign that weaved CSR with user-generated content. The brand urged audiences to comment ‘#AlwaysAzad’ on the campaign’s posts to donate packets of Always to girls from less privileged backgrounds.
5. Samsung #ShareYourScreen
Samsung came to the CSR stage with their #ShareYourScreen campaign. The brand installed big screens in homes for the elderly and orphanages so that people from all classes could watch PSL matches together. Although the campaign did drive the message of inclusivity home and the video content was brilliantly executed, it doesn’t exactly get brownie points for creativity.
Verdict: HIT for execution, MISS for creativity
6. UNICEF Pakistan #NoChutti
UNICEF Pakistan’s #NoChutti campaign is another example how feminine health and hygiene is slowly taking centre stage and brands addressing these concerns are no longer shying away from the limelight. The campaign aimed to normalise discussions around menstruation, hygiene and the myths attached to such taboo topics. The agency behind this campaign won an award for the Best CSR campaign in 2019 at Pakistan Digi Awards.
Verdict: HIT and clearly award winning.
7. Engro Fertilizer and Engro Corp #GoalstoGro
GoalsToGro is Engro’s long-term commitment to the welfare of farmers and agri-fam support persons. In 2019, Engro joined hands with GIZ for System Productivity Innovative Rice Trainings (SPIRiT) to educate famers in resource conservation, water saving, plant population management and improved harvesting agricultural productivity. This community enhancement movement has had a positive impact on the incomes of 12,000+ farmers and agri-farm support persons while the EDSTST covered over 38 villages to improve the livelihoods and combat hunger issues in Pakistan.
Verdict: HIT because of the long-term benefits of the programme
8. Soya Supreme Oil – Kids Cancer Awareness
Soya Supreme Oil partnered with Indus Hospital to raise awareness about childhood cancer. The campaign was initially launched on Childhood Cancer Survivor’s Day in September 2018. Soya Supreme carried it forward in 2019 with regular reminders that audiences can contribute to the cause by contacting Indus Hospital. Kudos to the brand for throwing light on the issues surrounding children’s cancer (a topic that doesn’t get enough attention). However, as noble as the cause may be, it didn’t receive the digital traction it deserved. Brands who launch donation-based campaigns must keep a strong ad spend in hand otherwise their message ends up becoming an arrow shot in a dark room.
Verdict: HIT for concept and thought; MISS for impact
9. JS Bank joins hands with WWF
JS Bank and WWF teamed up to plant 100,000 mangrove saplings along the coastal belt of Balochistan to dilute the impact of climate change and increase tree cover. During the launch event, saplings were planted at Miani Hor which is a hotspot of mangroves, marine dolphins and various species of coastal birds. JS has a longstanding partnership with WWF and has previously thrown light on the deadly after effects of plastic.
Verdict: HIT for JS Bank’s obvious long-term commitment to social responsibility, MISS for creativity.
10. Doctor – International Smile Day
A lot of the time smaller brands’ screen space is devoured by campaigns released by FMCG giants with massive ad budgets and a good knowledge of ad targeting. Doctor Toothpaste is a small brand (less than 90,000 people on their Facebook page) which celebrated International Smile Day by spreading awareness about oral hygiene among the children of Sirat Ul Jannah Orphanage. The brand released a raw, unscripted video with close ups of beaming faces at the orphanage being taught about oral hygiene by the brand team. Although the video received 18 shares in total, it still makes it to the list for its realness and lack of that gimmicky undertone most CSR campaigns have.
Taniya Hasan is a content marketer.