Ads, if done well, make brands money. That’s a given. But what if your ads could also help make the world a better place?
Speaking yesterday at travel sustainability conference Travel DAZE 2019, Christopher Nelius, director at production company Finch, spoke about an Aussie-led initiative that allows brands to give back to the world and some of its most important inhabitants.
The Lion’s Share is an enterprise co-founded and supported by the UN Development Programme. The fund is an easy way the corporate world can make a contribution each time an animal appears in their ads, raising money for wildlife conservation, habitats, and animal welfare.
In his speech, Nelius discussed how for 150 years, advertising has used animals to help sell products, but get nothing in return.
“Animals are a tried and true, effective way to sell a product. On average, 20 per cent of ads today have animals in them. But there’s a problem with that. There’s a disconnect. Because despite all those great feelings that we can use animals to generate, real animals are not doing well at all.
“We can put a tiger on a cereal box, but real tigers are a lot of trouble. We know that rhinos are in trouble, we know that koalas are in trouble. The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble, and I don’t need to tell you about the Amazon.”
“Real animals,” Nelius said, “are not okay, yet they’re helping us sell products.”
As a film director working in the advertising industry, Nelius wanted to find a way corporates could give back to animals and make a difference to the planet.
The way Lion’s Share works is brands voluntarily sign up to the initiative and commit to donating a small percentage of the overall media spend for an ad campaign. That money goes into a fund that will then be dispersed across the world to save species from extinction, preserve wildlife habitat, and look after animal welfare.
However, the donation is only necessary for campaigns with an animal in it. If there’s no animal, there’s no need to pay.
Last year, half a trillion dollars was spent on advertising globally, and 20 per cent of those ads included animals.
“If we can get a tiny little bit from each advertising campaign, once you put that together, we’ll be able to generate over 100 million dollars a year in perpetuity. This isn’t a three year idea. This is something that’s going to go beyond our lifetimes,” said Nelius.
Backed by ambassador Sir David Attenborough, the initiative is only a year old, but in its first year has raised between six and eight million dollars.
Recently signing its first Australian brand, IAG, Nelius is certain it’s only a matter of time before more Aussie brands join.
“CGU and NRMA are the first Australian brands to come on board. Some have said no. But it’s inevitable that they’re going to join because it’s the right thing to do.”
Nelius also said it’s not just about the right thing to do, but it also helps brands improve their bottom line.
“It’s about how you can get more people to buy your products. We live in a world today where people want to buy products that do good.”
Nelius concluded by saying: “I’d say the time for talk is over. We need action. This is the way that brands today can sign up to make a difference. So when we start generating 100 million dollars a year, we will push the needle, however small that might be, but globally will make the world a better place.”