Mindshare and Unilever initiative aims to cut carbon footprint in marketing

#ChangeTheBrief plans to 'take power back into the agencies'.

Hellmann's: experiential campaign highlighted food waste
Hellmann's: experiential campaign highlighted food waste

In an attempt to soften the marketing world’s carbon footprint, Mindshare has unveiled its latest initiative, #ChangeTheBrief, undertaking a global brief from its largest client, Unilever.

The initiative offers clients sustainable alternatives to traditional marketing strategies in order to encourage the transition to carbon-neutral behaviours within the marketing world.

Speaking to Campaign, Marco Rimini, chief development officer at Mindshare, said: "The advertising industry creates popular culture and so the most powerful thing that we can do is to try promoting lifestyles, attitudes and behaviours that are consistent with transition to zero-carbon world." 

"We always feel duty-bound to respond to the brief our client has sent us. Therefore, the simple idea behinid this initiative is to take power back into the agencies. We can always decide to change the brief and respond in different, more imaginative ways consistent with the world we want to see.

"This is a way of institutionalising behaviour."

With two alternative strategies in place – the "now" brief and the "future" brief – agencies can take a conventional approach to climate change in response to briefs from clients short term and showcase eco-savvy lifestyles and behaviours in the long term.

For example, through the "future" brief, a food brand could develop packaging that encourages people to freeze unused food to avoid food waste, while a shampoo client could promote considerate water usage by creating a "songs to sing in the shower" playlist on Spotify lasting only four minutes.

Nick Emery, global chief executive of Mindshare, said: "Our great challenge as a society and as an industry is to show how living sustainably is possible, enjoyable, fulfilling and aspirational, and that it can also drive our clients’ business. These are all the things that we know how to do.

"We hope that #ChangeTheBrief will become the start of a new way of planning media and advertising for a more sustainable future," he continued.

Last month, more than 80 creative and media agencies took to the streets of London to join the Global Climate Strike, including Goodstuff Communications, Iris, Lucky Generals, Ogilvy and Wieden & Kennedy.  

Days later in New York, McCann chief executive Harris Diamond used his platform at Advertising Week to hail brands for taking a positive stand with regard to climate change.

Carrie Timms, vice-president of global media at Unilever, said: "At Unilever, we believe brands should be a force for good for the world we live in.

"Mindshare’s #ChangeTheBrief initiative is a powerful statement to the industry that we should all do what we can through media, both expertise and investment, to deliver a more sustainable future."

Unilever has been involved in a series of environmentally friendly campaigns in recent months, including fabric conditioner Comfort’s pop-up clothes "swap shop" and Hellmann's food truck that served up a menu using commonly wasted foods.

Mindshare is seeking partners to join a #ChangeTheBrief alliance in order to generate an industry-wide movement to help be part of the solution to the climate crisis.

The initiative is set to launch during Mindshare’s annual Mindshare Day on 1 November.