Top 5 Spenders in Sustainability: Q3 2021

July 21, 2021

Right now, fires are ravaging the West coast. More than one million acres have burned with smoke stretching all the way to the East Coast, including New York City, carried thousands of miles by high-level winds. Fires in Oregon and California are so large, they have their own weather systems, creating thunderstorms and tornadoes. Can sustainability save us from these types of climate crises?

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Extreme heat, rising sea levels, and fossil fuels are all contributing to human-generated climate change. While it’s imperative we all make individual, micro-level changes (I’m cutting out meat and no longer buying single-use plastic), big brands must cut their carbon emissions and pledge change to make a lasting impact, too. More than 110 US businesses have signed The Climate Pledge, promising to:

  • Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis.
  • Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Neutralize any remaining emissions with socially beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.

Keep reading to learn more about the Top 5 brands spenders in Winmo that focused on sustainability for Q3 2021…

1)  Allbirds

After raising a $100M Series E funding round in September 2020, the sustainable footwear company has a birds-eye view on an IPO. While its leaders have declined this goal in the past, a recent job posting included that the DM it was seeking would “coordinate and prepare information gathering process required for SEC filings.”

Of course, an IPO would leave Allbirds with a significantly larger budget, which often leads to higher spend and/or agency hires. The company’s funding round brought its total valuation to $202M, per Crunchbase. Allbirds recently launched slip-on running shoes and partnered with Adidas to widen the low-carbon possibilities of its footwear products. The companies, often seen as competitors, can now explore renewable material possibilities together. This year, over 60% of Adidas’s products will reportedly be made with sustainable materials, partially thanks to this partnership.

  • Sellers: The company’s shift from digital toward TV, along with its TV commercial targeting and notable usage of podcast ads, shows that it’s particularly targeting millennials and Gen-X right now. However, its sustainability focus does appeal to Gen-Z. Remember, the company’s target demographic also has a female skew.
  • Agency and martech readers: Its recent funding round made this company more vulnerable to review than it is right now, and an IPO would do so even more, so keep it on your radar. Anomaly has been Allbirds’s creative AOR since at least 2018, so you’ll have the best luck securing media, PR, social media management, and/or digital analytics partnerships.

2)  BeautyBlender

The plant-based cosmetics company selected Tomoko Yamagishi-Dressler as its new CMO in May 2021. Previously the marketing and sales SVP at Shiseido Americas Corporation, Yamagishi-Dressler replaces Matan Gelberg who served as CMO for about a year. Since this hire shows a return to a higher focus on marketing efforts, expect BeautyBlender’s spend to continue rising.

According to Pathmatics, this company has spent roughly $320K on digital ads YTD, over 6x the roughly $47K it spent within the same 2020 timeframe. BeautyBlender’s estimated full-year 2020 spend of $106K more than doubled that of $46.K in 2019. Additionally, Magellan reports BeautyBlender has aired ten podcast ads within the past 12 months; these aired during female-oriented podcasts.

  • Sellers: The company targets female Gen-Z via paid social and podcast advertising, which could lead it to make a foray into OTT advertising as well. Considering Gen-Z’s relative willingness to spend more money on sustainability-focused brands, BeautyBlender’s plant-based products have a leg up on those of competitors.
  • Agency and martech readers: Get in touch sooner rather than later to see what partnerships are possible under BeautyBlender’s new CMO. The company works with MissJ (project management, campaigns and activations, content creation, and influencer and social media management) and has also received project-based assistance from JumpCrew. BeautyBlender handles most creative in-house.

3)  Vans

The shoe brand welcomed Kristin Harrer as its first CMO in April 2021. Previously the CMO at Dollar Shave Club, Harrer will focus on driving deeper, more authentic consumer relationships and brand experiences. She will also spearhead the brand’s ongoing digital transformation.

Vans recently promised to make its shoes’ core materials 100% regenerative, responsibly sourced, renewable, or recycled by 2030. The company also tends to partner with pop culture icons on limited-time shoe products. For example, Vans teamed up with Foo Fighters earlier in April 2021 for a merch line.

  • Sellers: Vans primarily targets Gen-Z and millennials, so it may make forays into additional digital channels such as OTT and/or podcast under its new CMO. According to Kantar, the brand also invests significantly in print media via magazines.
  • Agency and martech readers: Since Harrer is Vans’s first-ever CMO, she’s especially likely to seek new agency partners for it. Right now, the brand has an in-house media team and also receives media planning assistance from Starcom IL. You’ll have the best luck offering PR, creative, digital analytics, and/or social media management services.

4)  Gelo Brands

The maker of refillable hand soap just appointed Mischief as its creative AOR. Gelo’s D2C business has understandably benefited from consumers’ move toward eCommerce and environmentally-friendly purchases. Gelo reported a 43% increase in the number of people buying soap refills in 2020. It also noted in-store to online purchases grew by 16% within the same timeframe.

According to Adbeat, the company started utilizing digital display ads in mid-July 2020. However, spend in this channel experienced a surge that began in November 2020 and has not yet slowed down.

  • Sellers: Gelo’s focuses on digital display ads and sustainability signal a millennial target demographic, particularly mothers. It may utilize paid social, OTT, and/or podcast channels in the future. In order to more accurately offer localized ad space, view partnered retail locations here.
  • Agency and martech readers: Since reviews often follow one another, especially under relatively new leadership, reach out soon. There’s potential PR, media, digital analytics, and/or social media management work.

5)  Skittles

Mars Wrigley recently announced that it will roll out biodegradable wrapping for its Skittles candy thanks to a two-year partnership with Danimer Scientific, a sustainable goods manufacturer. The brand experienced a surge in sales due to COVID-related grocery store impulse buys. This initiative is one of Wrigley’s first steps toward the pursuit of its promise of 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025.

So far this year, iSpot reports Skittles has spent approximately $2M on national TV commercials, less than half of the approximately $6.5M it had spent by this point last year. The brand spent $20M on this channel in 2020. This year’s Skittles commercials have targeted millennials (male skew) viewing programs such as NFL FootballFamily GuyThe King of QueensWWE Monday Night RAW, and The Big Bang Theory.

  • Sellers: Skittles’s heavy reliance on Instagram advertising shows that the brand is particularly targeting Gen-Z. The biodegradable packaging roll-out will especially appeal to this audience. Per Kantar data, it also invests in print (magazines) and local broadcast. Skittles holds planning conversations in Q2 and buying conversations in Q1.
  • Agency and martech readers: No word of any roster shifts since last summer, so reach out for potential work if you haven’t yet. DDB Chicago and Energy BBDO are currently the company’s creative AORs’. It also works with media buying and planning AOR MediaCom NY and PR AOR ICF Next MN.

(And, if you want to know how much these brands and their competitors are spending, WinmoEdge subscribers get a daily briefing email with opportunities just like these. Plus information about who, when, and how to get in touch with decision-makers inside the brands. Winmo subscribers – click through to see decision makers’ contact information for each brand.)

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If you liked this blog post, check out:

    1. Selling Emotion: How Brands Make Customers Feel (Then Buy)
    2. The State of eSports Sponsorships and Opportunities: Q3 2021
    3. Thanks In Advance: The Do’s and Don’ts of Sales Email Etiquette

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