Plenty of companies do good things for society.
Earlier this month, Hormel Foods, the maker of Spam and Skippy peanut butter, announced plans to donate $20,000 to Make-A-Wish Minnesota and another $20,000 to Feeding America. Kraft Heinz’s coffee brand Maxwell House recently pledged $200,000 to building homes for veterans. Kellogg’s has helped provide 13 million meals to people in need throughout 2020. Many more examples of corporate philanthropy on the part of CPG conglomerates exist.
Procter & Gamble, the maker of multiple prominent household brands, is no stranger to using its might to make the world better—whether that’s through fighting racism, confronting bias against LGBTQ people or promoting young women of color pursuing a career in filmmaking. This summer, the company stated its intention to go carbon neutral by 2030.
“We remain steadfast in our environmental sustainability commitments because the next decade represents a critical window to address climate change,” David Taylor, P&G’s CEO, said in the company’s 2020 Citizen Report, which outlines how the CPG manufacturer aims to become a better member of communities around the globe.
Today, P&G is committing to carrying out even more good deeds. Under its Lead With Love campaign, the company plans to do 2,021 “acts of good” in 2021. This includes additional donations to Covid-19 relief efforts, along with a number of brand-specific programs. Pampers, for instance, will give 400,000 books to families with newborn babies. Always will provide millions of period products to a handful of nonprofit organizations.
“Some of these things will be completely new; many will be the next wave of what we’re doing, because we believe [it’s] important to sustain these efforts to get greater and greater impact each year,” Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, told Adweek.
The Cincinnati-based company is also encouraging shoppers to participate in the action through a new rewards program. As people earn points by answering surveys and purchasing products, P&G will donate to causes they’re interested in supporting.
A 60-second spot created by Dentsumcgarrybowen to spread awareness of P&G’s 2021 initiative shows various toddlers displaying a range of emotion, from joy and surprise to sadness and fear. The soundtrack features a choral version of Dreams by The Cranberries.
“We’re born with [eight] emotions. But the most powerful is love,” reads blue text on a white background at the ad’s halfway point. The commercial ends by asking viewers to get involved.
Unlike many firms that have suffered this year, several CPG manufacturers have seen revenue grow as people work, study, exercise and stream their favorite shows at home during the pandemic. P&G is no exception. In October, the maker of Tide detergent and Charmin toilet paper reported organic sales climbed 9% to $19.3 billion for the quarter ending Sept. 30. In this sense, it’s easier for P&G to be more generous right now than, say, an airline or restaurant chain.
With a massive ad budget, P&G also has a louder voice than most, allowing it to deliver its message of doing good to more people. In October, P&G dedicated $164.4 million to commercials aired on national TV—more than any other company—garnering it more than 33.6 billion impressions, according to data from Nielsen Ad Intel. Berkshire Hathaway came in second place with $126.5 million, followed by Amazon with $121.9 million.
Cause marketing, as it’s generally called, can sometimes work and sometimes not. As critics of the tactic might put it: If a corporation gives away money and no shopper is around to hear about it, does it make a difference?