Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Closing Ceremony

So it's over. The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics has run its last race, pummeled its last horse, awarded its last dozen or so gold medals to Michael Phelps.

And it was a good one. Two weeks of non-stop Olympic coverage (NBC had more air coverage then hours in a day thanks to all of their networks). Recording breaking ratings -- over 34MM viewers during prime time coverage. Some pretty amazing stories told.

Throughout we've looked at the world's biggest brands try to put their best foot forward. The world's biggest stage is the perfect place to talk about the world's biggest issues. And sustainability certainly is taking center stage.

Looking back at the advertising over the fortnight (we're using our proper English in preparation for the 2012 London Games), this Olympics clearly got a "Green Medal." And that's good news for everybody.

We leave this topic with a few thoughts on what makes good sustainability strategy and messaging (or any messaging, for that matter)—in hopes we see much more of it:

1. Be Synergistic – Don't try to sell trees, if you normally sell widgets. Instead design a widget that is made from trees. Maybe that's not possible, but you get the drift.

2. Be Authentic – As David Ogilvy said, “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife!” Consumers are smart people. Give them the benefit of the doubt and let them make their own choices. If you are truthful, they will follow.

3. Make it Relevant – The ads that worked best were relevant to the Olympics, the brands, the products and a vision of a more sustainable world. Tall order. But when it works, it really works.

4. Have a Vision – Companies that lead, win. Go ahead and seize the opportunity. Become a sustainability leader.

And most importantly, COLLABORATE.

Brands can't do it all on their own, nor are they expected to. Remember the BP line? "It's a Start.” When a company acknowledges its role in the world, amazing things happen.

After all as the Japanese proverb says, “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

(It sure would have been better if it was a Chinese proverb... but oh, well.)

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