13 Top Earth Day Campaigns This Decade

Sustainability, carbon footprint, energy efficiency…more and more of these terms seem to pop up every day, and with good reason. The impact of waste, pollution, and mass production on the consumer mindset has compelled brands and businesses to play a bigger part in saving the planet – and they are not shy about letting their audiences know. After all, consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products.  Besides being good for the environment, sustainability is great for business too.

This Earth Day, we took a look at how some of the world’s biggest brands have worked to raise awareness for the planet and appeal to their audiences’ earth-friendly sentiments. Here are 13 of the finest and most impactful campaigns from the past few years that get the sustainability message across, and align their brand with the cause:

Ducking Good – Lundberg Family Farms

There’s probably nothing more important in marketing than an excellent slogan. Lundberg Family Farms, a long-standing rice brand, hit the nail on the head with its “Ducking Good” campaign, whose slogan reads “Every Ducking Day is Earth Day”. It’s catchy and cheeky, but best of all, it has an awesome environmental activity behind it. In the winter, the company floods a section of its fields to recreate the original Californian swampland habitat for the benefit of the local duck community and the environment. The initiative helps return nutrients to the soil, reduces the impact of carbon emissions, and provides nesting space for ducks. It’s nice to know that for a brand like Lundberg, Earth Day is so much more than a day. Ducking good!

Sony BBC Earth – Care for Earth, Care for Life

As every digital marketer knows, video is one of the most popular content formats among audiences everywhere. No surprise then that the team at Sony BBC Earth leveraged video for a captivating campaign in honor of Earth Day in 2023. The ‘Care for Earth, Care for Life’ campaign featured three short animated videos, tackling the serious topics of melting sea ice, the water crisis, and plastic in the ocean, via quirky animal cartoon characters. The campaign was very popular, helped along by several influencers in the environmental awareness space. The results are in the data of course: over 2.4 million impressions across all the social media platforms.

Purpose Disruptors – Reclaiming the Commercial Break

Earth Day advertising is great, right? After all, it creates public awareness of environmental issues. However, this campaign by Purpose Disruptors, an advertising reform group, focuses on the environmental impact of advertising itself. The Earth Day 2023 campaign highlights the advertising industry’s contribution to over-consumption and climate change by turning traditional advertising upside down. For example, “Limited time offer, hanging out with the oldies” invites us to ditch shopping and spend time in a more healthy, fulfilling way. The goal of the campaign was to “reclaim the commercial break”. With clever copy and impressive multi-channel ad placements, we think it succeeded. 

Fashion Magazine – Indigenous Fashion Designers 

Fashion is a notoriously eco-unfriendly industry, but some designers put Planet Earth front and center. So Fashion Magazine put together an article for Earth Day 2023 celebrating and showcasing them. The roundup of designers presents a new approach that blends Indigenous design techniques with storytelling and sustainability. Coined as ‘slow fashion’, the focus is on purposeful, meaningful designs rooted in Indigenous art and clothesmaking that honor tradition and protect the environment. In the article featured in Fashion Magazine, several Indigenous designers share their designs and aspirations. With links to the designers’ Instagram pages, this is the advertorial approach at its finest – and most eco-friendly.

Impossible Foods – Mini Impact Kitchen

Burgers have a big environmental impact, but not Impossible burgers. Made by Impossible Foods, the plant-based burger is said to generate 91% less emissions than a beef burger. For Earth Day, the popular brand partnered with Deloitte Digital for a big (and small) campaign: the ‘mini impact kitchen’. The concept follows the #minifood social trend where people prepare miniature food to minimize their footprint and create a more mindful culinary experience. In the Mini Impact Kitchen campaign, Impossible Foods promoted mini food recipes and featured content creators cooking mini foods and demonstrating how we can always do more to reduce our carbon footprint in the kitchen – without compromising our taste buds. The genius cherry on top? A tiny 1 x 1 ad placement in the New York Times – the smallest possible ad size – to make a big point in a small way. Go on, why not celebrate Earth Day with a tiny Impossible burger?

YouTube – Non-Fungible Planet

The phrase “non-fungible” is very on trend at the moment, thanks to the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. This term describes something one-of-a-kind and totally irreplaceable. YouTube capitalized on this by applying the term to Planet Earth in an impressive campaign. They partnered with YouTube creators to show exactly what makes the world unique, and the rare animals, plants, and locations that are impossible to replicate. 

From the Sodwala Caves of South Africa to France’s Carnac Stones, YouTube’s playlist of videos for Earth Day is an impressive and engaging showcase of what we stand to lose if we don’t put the planet first. 

New York City – Climate Clock

New York is well known for being at the forefront of experimental marketing campaigns. This one is no different. In 2020, massive orange letters glowed four stories high at Union Square, proclaiming the world only had a set amount of time to change its ways or be ravaged by climate change. 

Created by activists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd, the Climate Clock showed New Yorkers just how critical the climate crisis has become. Those who passed by saw important facts displayed in this giant digital ad, including a graphic that showed just how fast we’re headed toward 1.5°C of global warming. It also revealed just how much CO2 we’ve already emitted and the amount of global warming to date.

The campaign grew in 2021, expanding to Seoul and then Glasgow. But the press and buzz it created have spread around the world. 

Wherefrom – Stop the Wash

While there are a lot of companies and brands working to go green (or greener), there are just as many who say they’re making sustainable moves, but might not actually be doing. Wherefrom, the sustainability review platform, decided to address this in its “Stop the Wash” campaign, with a totally catchy pop anthem made up entirely of “green” slogans. 

Greenwashing – when a company claims to go green for marketing (not sustainability) purposes – is a real problem. With this campaign, Wherefrom asked consumers to report any companies engaging in this behavior. They used these reports to score companies, building an accessible database for consumers, so they can make better, more informed choices about how to buy only from sustainable, climate-friendly brands. 

Palau Legacy Project – ‘Ol’au Palau’

Tourism is such a vital part of keeping many economies running. For the inhabitants of Palau however, tourism has had a negative impact on the environment. What do you do when you want to show your stunning country to the world but preserve your ecosystem? Run a marketing campaign of course!

In this tourism initiative, the Palau Legacy Project chose to reward green visitors by inviting them to experience some of the most stunning beaches, waterfalls, and tropical rainforests the island had to offer. The cost was simply to be eco-friendly. The brand created an interactive app that gamifies sustainability, allowing tourists to earn points from participating in sustainable activities on the island, and use those to enjoy unique experiences they simply would not have been able to access otherwise. We love this campaign because it unlocks the richness and beauty of the world only for those who are willing to play a part in sustaining it. Genius!

Hyundai x BTS – For the Earth 

You’d be forgiven for thinking this campaign was not about the Earth at all, but instead, a subtle sales pitch to get more people driving Hyundais. But it’s that subtlety that really spoke to us. 

In the short film, the brand showcased Jung Kook, V, SUGA, and other members of Kpop sensation BTS, each calling attention to a breathtaking part of nature. 

Toward the end of the film, Hyundai presented how hydrogen can positively impact our world, and makes its commitment to go greener by ditching traditional fuel in favor of this more sustainable resource. The campaign is just one part of the company’s many sustainability initiatives that make it a leading brand in promoting eco-friendliness. 

Google Doodle – Earth Day 2021

Google’s Doodles have become a staple in the life of anyone who uses the search engine. A few years back, the online giant showcased the one simple action we can all take to make the future bright: plant a seed. 

The campaign aimed to encourage searchers the world over to take small meaningful acts that will positively impact the environment. As the brand itself stated, any tiny thing can take root and grow into something wonderful. 

While we didn’t add it to this list, Google’s 2022 Earth Day Doodle was impressive as well. Featuring time-lapse photography, showing the impact of climate change, Google aimed to let searchers see for themselves how much damage has been done to date. We’re excited to see what this year’s Doodle will be. 

Budweiser Canada – Raise One for the Planet

The 2020 pandemic had a massive impact on the way that people interacted with one another. That year, people couldn’t gather together for a few drinks to toast the planet on Earth Day, so Budweiser stepped up and asked drinkers to raise their beers in celebration. 

The brand released a special can to mark Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, and stated it would donate part of the proceeds of beer sales to Earth Day Canada. Since the launch, it has also promised that by 2025, all of its products will be manufactured using only renewable electricity

Mastercard – Priceless Planet Coalition

Mastercard’s “priceless” tagline is one of the most famous in the world, and on Earth Day 2021, they assigned that tagline to a more sustainable cause – preserving the planet. 

With the Priceless Planet Coalition, Mastercard has pledged its commitment to restoring 100 million trees by 2025. This is a big task, which is why the brand invites individuals and businesses to join in and help. And they’ve really come to the table. 

Mastercard proudly boasts partners in this initiative like Barclays, Citibank, Lyft, the PGA Tour, and Philippine Airlines. It’s a momentous campaign whose rewards are truly priceless.

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is just one of the many annual holidays in the marketing calendar when brands can capture the public mood and broadcast an authentic message around a meaningful topic. On Earth Day, we are reminded just how unique, precious, and irreplaceable our planet really is. Take inspiration from the amazing campaigns above, and take the opportunity to showcase your brand’s position on sustainability. It’s a great way to connect with today’s earth-conscious consumers.

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