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et ADVERTISING&MARKETING

TONY KOENDERMAN
SUSTAINABILlTY

Green agency THERE


opens 'SNO
OgilvyEarth aims to change SA's
PtA
, NET
filthy habits

SUSTAINABILITY may cost a bit at the start but


eventually it pays off in spades. That's the mes-
tonyk@finweek.co.za sage of OgilvyEarth, the environmentalist "com- progress and results of OgilvyEarth. We were
munications practice" ("agency" to you) which recently named the top sustainability commu-
STINGS has opened in South Africa. It's starting under the nications agency by Verdantix, a well-regarded
FEMININE umbrella of Zoom, Ogilvy's retail agency - not sustainability research group. And OgilvyEarth
MYSTERIES because it's retail-focused but because Zoom is an has grown rapidly, as more and more clients rec-
ADVERTISING FEMININE active environmental protagonist. ognise the need for specialist knowledge in such
hygiene products can be OgilvyEarth was started in Australia and since a dynamic field."
tricky, especially as you can't
its global launch two years ago has spread to a Though the financial collapse of 2008 took
ensure only those in the
dozen countries. It's an idea whose time has come, people's eye off the environment, it also made
market for them are exposed
says global president of OgilvyEarth and MD of them realise the collapse was partly attributable to
to the ad. But animation cre-
ates an arm's-length feeling Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Seth Farbman. "But business non-sustainability, says Zoom executive
that helps overcome awk- I also hope its time will pass. Our ultimate goal creative director Deon Robbertze. Consequently,
wardness. is to make sustainability so ingrained in the mar- awareness of environmental problems is growing
keting and innovation process that it no longer as the evidence of past neglect becomes impos-
requires deep specialty practices." sible to deny. "If we're not sustainable on a planet
Farbman says he "couldn't be prouder of the with 6bn people, how much worse off will we be
in 2050, when the population is 9bn?"
Robbertze concedes he has a mountain of
apathy to climb in SA, although in some respects
we're ahead of Western countries. Impoverished
Africans tend to re-use waste materials, turning a
length of wire into a toy or plastic packaging into
place mats. But there's still a lot of litter ...
In this 15-second com- "The new sustainable economy can create
mercial for Lifestylefeminine jobs," he says. "Although sustainable options can
products by production cost money initially, over the long term they'll
house Tennant McKay,two save money and leaders in sustainability will earn
girls dive off a high board enormous credit with the public."
into a pool. One comes up Green-washing is a problem. "People get bom-
immaculate, swimming cap barded with claims. But in the age of transparen-
and goggles in place. The
cy, the consumer can find out anything about your
other is a mess, having lost
brand - so you can't get away with it for ever."
her cap, her hair dishevelled
- and, embarrassingly, her Robbertze's business targets look achievable.
femi ine hygiene product "Within a year we want four medium-sized cli-
floa -'1gon the water. "Pro- ents. Currently, the unit is part of Zoom but when
teGio'l is nothing without it's proved its viability it could spin off as a sepa-
I " ~'J1Sthe payoff line. rate agency. We're running a tight ship and I'm
• - ~ e pads mould to working on both agencies."
< oody."
The primary pitch is legacy-based. "What kind
'= S devised the of world are you leaving to your children?" •

= EEK 23 SEPTEMBER 2010


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.- •.•_ ••0 5 & ANSWERS WITH SETH FARBMAN


BRANDING

Fear of the green wash' I Orange squeezed


FRENCH-GERMAN mobile network opera-
APAnTI - no longer the biggest challenge so much oil, water tor Orange has lost a court battle with a
facmz emironmental marketing - "Green- and air. The Unit- South African company that refused to be
washinz false claiming) is. "Even inad- ed States already bullied into changing its name. Orange had
vertent mar eting claims that overstate a has the technol- been pressurising local businesses to stop
produ "5 sustainability destroy consumer ogy (more efficient using the word or the colour" orange" in
trust," says Seth Farbman, globarCEO of appliances and" their names, but accounting software com-
Ogilvyliarth. "Once consumer confidence cars, better insulation, etc) to reduce energy pany Orangeworks has won the right to
is lost, we risk losing all the progress of the use by 40% - without consumers having to the name. "I just felt very strongly we had
past decade," make a sacrifice. to fight for our rights as a South African
In South Africa to launch the agency and company that was being bullied by a multi-
speak at a conference, Farbman answered Is public apathy still a problem? national," says CEO Siegfried Rousseau.
questio about sustainability marketing. Public apathy will always be a problem, The Registrarof Trade Marks told the
but it's our job as marketers to make people court the products and services offered by
How important is sustainability? understand why they should care. the companies were sufficientlydissimilarthat
Ultimately, sustainability allows steady, consumers wouldn't be confused. The court
unendinz growth - economic and social - Does the public dismiss sustainability as therefore upheld Orangeworks' right to con-
by recognising the limitations of resources a marketing gimmick? tinue trading under the name and awarded
and working within them. Sustainability There certainly is some "green fatigue" it costs, which, says Rousseau, amounted to
delivers a world where we no longer must after the past few years of constant sus- "several hundred thousand rand".
accept the false choice between a rising tainability marketing. But consumers have Rousseau says changing the colour
quality of life today and an environment also become much more educated, and are "wouldn't have been the end of the world"
that can sustain it tomorrow. even more loyal to companies that market but he felt strongly about being bullied.
authentically and honestly. POlOKO MOFOKENG
Can we make a difference? For a fuller report of this interview, For a full report, please visit www.fin24.com/AdReview
We really don't have a choice. There's only please go to www.fin24.comIAdReview .•

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23 SEPTEMBER 2010 FINWEEK 67