MARKETING SOCIETY AWARDS for EXCELLENCE 2012: Marketing for sustainable consumption


WINNER Lafarge Cement UK (Agency: McCann Manchester)

Market-leading cement manufacturer Lafarge wanted to highlight its genuine success in reducing C02 emissions, reducing waste and sourcing materials responsibly. However, the company had to make its voice heard in a sector that was not only saturated with talk about green credentials, but where customers felt organisations were simply box ticking. Research showed potential customers did not want to see cliched campaigns showing green fields with children playing.

Lafarge's Sustainable campaign chose instead to promote 'truths' about the company, hinging on the slogan: 'Lafarge is sustainable because Lafarge is able to... ' The brand used direct mail, online display, email and press to drive traffic to a microsite where visitors could download a report on Lafarge's sustainability successes. Sustainable creative work featured heavily on Lafarge's exhibition stands at key industry events.

The campaign took a similar route to promoting the company's new Cemergi product, a more environmentally friendly cement. Ads highlighted 'facts' about the product alongside 'reasons to believe'.

Judges praised the company's superb qualitative and quantitative research, which led to strong results, and praised its good, hard numbers. Email communications reached an open rate of 25%, with an average click-through rate of 10% for an email about CO2 reduction. An annual survey found perception of Lafarge's sustainability had risen from 69% in 2009 to 76% in 2010. Monthly sales volume for Cemergi increased by more than 340% over an eight-month period and market share increased by 38%.



FMCG giant Unilever's research and development arm attached a shower sensor in the homes of 100 families to study their environmental impact.

The resulting UK Sustainable Shower Study became the heart of a campaign developed in partnership with agency Blue Rubicon. A light-hearted Facebook app asked consumers to set a target timeframe for their shower and provided music to fit the time. Journalists and key opinion formers from organisations such as the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs were invited to use shower sensors and write about their experiences.

The study enjoyed blanket media coverage, and Unilever intends to use its findings to develop products that deliver savings in energy, water and money. Judges called it 'a really nice campaign with ambitious targets' and said that Unilever's commitment to sustainability is clear.


  • McDonald's, Something good wherever you look: The A-Z of McDonald's
  • British Gas, Green Streets, Strong Communities: How green streets shaped our sustainability strategy and created change


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