Marketers should start working more closely with the people in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) department for their company to help their brands achieve usefulness, according to the creative head of vodka brand Absolut.
You can’t buy a social post from Lady Gaga says her manager Bobby Campbell
Afdhel Aziz, creative director of Absolut Labs, which was set up by the Pernod Ricard brand to find ways to make nightlife more inclusive for people, made the comments at a panel called ‘Good is The New Cool’ at the SXSW festival in Texas.
“Marketers need to start treating people in CSR as our greatest allies because they’re the ones who’ve been responsible for thinking about a company’s greater role in the world, there’s a lot of knowledge stored up there,” he said.
“I think the CSR folks should see the marketing folks as their greatest ally to help tell the story in a way that will open up resources in a different way and take it to a whole new level.
“Some of the greatest conversations happen when you have brand, CSR, sales, supply chain all sitting at the table together going how can we tackle this problem, not just from a business point of view but from a societal point of view as well.”
But he also admitted it was sometimes difficult for brands in the stable of big companies to fit within existing frameworks.
“It’s tough sometimes because there’s companies like Pernod Ricard, which has dozens of brands, you have the brands social responsibility, and then at the corporate level you need something to work across a multitude of brands,” he added.
Bobby Campbell, manager of pop star Lady Gaga, told the panel the singer chooses initiatives and campaigns to support based on her own interests and passions.
But he said they never did sponsorship deals with brands that involved access to her huge social media following.
“A lot of times when brands do approach us about any deal they say ‘we’ve got to fulfil the social responsibility part, so we’re going to send a crew to you for 30 minutes and we need X posts on Instagram’, these things are completely meaningless,” he said.
“Any commercial deal I take out social media altogether. Gaga controls her Twitter and Instagram feeds by herself, I have no influence over it no brand has any influence over it, you can’t buy a tweet or an Instagram post, and that’s just how it goes.
“As a result when she does post its from her heart, it’s because the brand has excited her and the fans see that. It’s an authentic, meaningful passion point for her.”
He added: “For me from an artist’s perspective it’s a lot deeper than metrics and engagement, let’s scratch away all those things and talk about culturally speaking what are you trying to do, what are you trying to say, and how can we say it together?”
Panellist Marcie Allen, president of activations agency MAC Presents pointed to the 18% jump in brand consideration Citi Bank got after it decided to sponsor New York’s hire bike scheme.
She also noted the good PR it gets from spending $40m to help set up the massive infrastructure scheme, quipping: “People were saying is Leonardo Di Caprio being paid to ride a Citi bike because every week he’s photographed on that Citi bike.
“He’s not, he’s just getting around New York city and that’s what people do now. If Citi was going to pay Leonardo Di Caprio to be on that Citi bike you’re talking millions of dollars.”