8 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 8 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:
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.