American Marketer


World Oceans Day provides platform for branded sustainable conversation

June 8, 2016

Image courtesy of La Mer Image courtesy of La Mer


In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8, a number of brands are using their reach to raise awareness and get consumers involved in the cause.

The annual event, recognized by the United Nations since 2008, promotes responsibility toward the oceans, which do everything from regulate temperature to producing food and oxygen. With climate change and the fate of the planet’s natural resources in distress, having brands including La Mer and Selfridges put their weight behind the issue may push some individuals into action.

"The ocean is owned by all, but leveraged by the wealthy with their yachts," said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami. "Everyone wins without guilt.

"Bias is masked by selflessness. It's why philanthropy works," Mr. Ramey said. "The opportunity is to match values with best prospects."

Conversation starter
With the theme of this year’s World Oceans Day “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet,” the focus is on plastic pollution.

Selfridges took this as an opportunity to get consumers involved in its efforts to reduce plastic waste.

Last year, as part of its Project Ocean campaign, the retailer removed disposable water bottles from its stores, instead urging thirsty clientele to buy a reusable bottle. It also vowed to reduce plastic packaging in its food halls.

Now, Selfridges is asking consumers to make their own similar pledge to stop using disposable water bottles. On Thunderclap, the brand has rolled out a sharable post, multiplying the audience for the post through reposts to Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook.

The total reach as of press time was 870,000, more than double Selfridges’ direct connections.

Selfridges’ oceanic efforts have been ongoing for more than five years, making its World Oceans Day campaign an extension of its platform rather than a blip.

Similarly, Estée Lauder Cos.’ Crème de La Mer, which frequently calls to consumers to support its namesake seas, is taking a moment to make consumers consider the oceans.

On Instagram, the brand is sharing artistic interpretations of the oceans, whether paintings or sea anemones sculptures made out of paper. Some incorporate the brand’s limited-edition jar of its signature moisturizing cream created specially for the day.

The brand invites consumers to be inspired by the water, and also to join it on World Oceans Day for a Snapchat tour as it “preserves the beauty of the waters.”

Ocean appreciation
World Oceans Day has been a common initiative for luxury brands, especially those who have looked to the sea for inspiration or service.

Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is also celebrating World Oceans Day this year with an exhibit highlighting its work with UNESCO.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has worked with UNESCO for the past eight years in major cities around the world, including Geneva, Shanghai, Singapore, Moscow, Miami and Sao Paulo. The partnership, “Tides of Time,” works to conserve the 47 marine sites that are found on the World Heritage List (see story).

Four Seasons Hotels also honored the United Nations’ World Oceans Day last June with worldwide initiatives that aimed to spark awareness and assist in the conservation of oceans.

Properties around the globe participated in activities such as sea turtle protection, coral reef preservation, monk seal adoption and costal pond protection. The initiatives at various Four Seasons’ were not single day events, as they are implemented in each property’s daily operations, and World Oceans Day provided the brand a chance to highlight the accomplishments and goals of its hotels (see story).

Consumer demand for transparency is on the rise and brands have more opportunity than ever to participate in sustainable business practices. While consumers purchase goods and service, they also buy into what a brand stands for (see story).

"You don't sell to the affluent—they choose to buy from you," Mr. Ramey said. "Supporting their interests reinforces that you belong to the same tribe."