Best of 2023: A more sustainable type of advertising

As we head into the new year, Mobile Marketing Magazine recaps some of our best bits from 2023.

In January, Mobile Marketing spoke with sustainable advertising with Olya Dyachuk, Data Driven Media Director at Heineken.

Mobile Marketing: Can you tell us about Heineken’s move to a more sustainable advertising strategy?

Olya Dyachuk: Through the global ‘Brew a Better World’ strategy, which is a set of ambitious commitments aimed at driving a positive impact on the environment, social sustainability and the responsible consumption of alcohol, Heineken is raising the bar to create a fairer, healthier, more inclusive, and sustainable world. Our ambition is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 across the whole chain, and we are proud that this ambition is on top of our marketing agenda. Although making our media and broader marketing more sustainable is challenging, our team at Heineken is committed to the cause.

To do that, we need vehicles that would appropriately manifest our plans and commitments in a social media environment, as a part of our broader media ambitions, and that is why we collaborated with partners like WeAre8 across 2 of our strategic brands – Heineken & Old Mout. Through the unique advertising model on WeAre8, our campaigns with the Heineken brands contributed to climate solutions across the world, and even supported charities that meant the most to the Heineken brands.

We ran three completely different campaigns and tested our WeAre8 capabilities in driving various brand objectives.

First was a campaign for Heineken Silver, a new, extra-refreshing and premium lager. The aim was to drive awareness and consideration of the new product in a planet-friendly way and get meaningful insights on the campaign’s success and the audiences’ likelihood to buy.

The second was for Heineken 12th Woman – the campaign promoting gender equality in football and celebrating the brand’s Woman’s Euros sponsorship.

The third one was for the launch our new exciting Old Mout flavour – Apple and Strawberry – as well as promoting the brand’s partnership with the WWF.

MM: So the ad campaigns are part of a wider company drive?

OD: The ‘Brew a Better World’ strategy was launched in 2021 for every OpCo and every team across our business. It has driven the business to innovate and collaborate to protect the environment, support local communities, and make a positive contribution to society – contributing to the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The campaigns have been part of a broader sustainability and responsibility agenda, which has to be translated to audiences authentically to avoid greenwashing.

As well as committing to reach net zero emissions across the business by 2040, we also  believe in working in partnership with other companies throughout the supply chain to achieve shared goals, scale positive contributions and limit negative impacts.

MM: Does it have an impact on where your ads appear, as in, you won’t advertise in places that don’t take sustainability seriously?

OD: Our sustainability agenda does have an impact on our advertising decisions. Last year, we ran our first analysis and used the Dentsu carbon calculator to look at how much carbon our campaigns across all brands and channels produce. The outcome of this will now inform our planning principles, creative and production decisions, as well as media partner relationships.

For example, we clearly see that digital advertising produces the highest CO2 for us, so we aim to focus on ways to minimise and offset it. For example, creatively, we know that using SVG files instead of JPG can significantly reduce file size and carbon output, so we aim to work with our creative and media partners to address file size to improve our carbon output. In addition to that, we aim to work with partners who provide a more sustainable media offering.

MM: What has been the impact of the move, what results have you seen?

??OD: Collaborating with WeAre8 on more sustainable and impactful campaigns has enabled us to improve brand metrics through high quality completed views. Heineken can also now report, for one of the first times, on metrics which align with our ‘Brew a Better World’ strategy.

Using WeAre8, we found that on average, 95 per cent of people opted in to watch the ads and watched them in full. The campaigns all achieved more than double the 10 per cent benchmark click-through rates and the insights tool on the WeAre8 ad manager, SAM-I – Sustainable Ad Manager-intelligent – generated over 1m valuable, qualitative insights, which helps us better understand the impact of the campaigns on the chosen audiences.

As a result of the campaigns, over £30,000 of media spend was shared with people on WeAre8 and we emitted just 1.2 tonnes of carbon, while offsetting 66 tonnes of carbon via WeAre8’s partnership with Ecologi, which sees 1 per cent of ad revenue paid towards climate  projects, such as reforestation. This is the equivalent of 51 long haul flights; 198 metres squared of sea ice saved; and 163,746 miles driven in an average car. The ability to be more targeted with the campaigns and ensure an engaged audience reduces the overall carbon footprint of the campaign.

The campaigns helped Heineken to humanise the outcome of the work we are doing, not just in terms of how much CO2 we produced, but how many people received some of the money we had spent on the advertisements. We were able to see that we are contributing to good and educating the business on what we do, what our campaigns deliver and how this translates in real terms, for example how many flights that carbon reduction counts for!

Additionally, these campaigns where the impact is visible and meaningful data can be derived, have proven to positively drive business outcomes. We saw excellent purchase intent responses, got invaluable insights into audiences and how the information was being perceived and gauged the emotional impact of the adverts – particularly when the topic was emotive, such as football being heavily male dominated.

MM: What lessons have you learned from the experience?

OD: This experience has shown us the importance and impact of partnering with a brand that values people and the planet, and has ambitions to bring about positive change through campaigns that make a real difference.

The results we have achieved from these campaigns have helped us to establish the baseline for future campaigns, and develop an understanding of how to set new planning principles and carbon neutrality targets for our media marketing.

Looking forward, there is an important job to be done among advertisers, publishers, media owners and the entire supply chain to engage consumers and raise awareness of sustainability. It’s not a competition, sustainable choices need to become the norm, and all partners can work together to make sure technologies are reducing CO2.

At Heineken UK, we plan to continue working with WeAre8 for our campaigns, and would encourage other brands to look at how their media spend can have a greater impact and help the planet.