Procter & Gamble is trying to do what it needs to do to become a more environmentally sustainable company.
But it won’t make much of a difference unless people use their products more sustainably at home.
The CPG giant is out with a new campaign, “This is Our Home,” built around the insight that 72% of people want to be more environmentally conscious at home, but more than half (54%) don’t make sustainable choices as often as they’d like, citing barriers including not knowing how (30%) and feeling it’s too complicated or overwhelming to do so (24%).
The spot, developed with Saatchi & Saatchi, features a little girl named Louisa who teaches her family how to be more sustainable through small actions, such as washing laundry with cold water, turning off the lights and sink tap, closing the fridge door, taking shorter showers and recycling.
“Our products have a very large impact on the environment because of the water they use, the energy used to heat the water and the waste that is generated,” said Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard. “In order to help deal with the climate emergency and get to carbon neutrality, it is going to require activities in the home.”
P&G worked to hit a number of sustainability goals over the past decade by 2020, including eliminating manufacturing waste in landfills globally, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, reducing water usage per production unit by 27% and doubling the use of recycled resin in plastic packaging.
Now, it’s committed to hitting another set of more ambitious goals by 2030, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by another 50%, cutting down water usage in homes and getting to carbon neutral across its operations for the next decade.
But reaching these goals won’t be possible unless consumers get on board.
So, over the past few years, P&G has released more sustainable products that help people be more efficient at home, including Tide Cold Water, which reduces energy use while doing laundry; Dawn power wash, which dissolves grime more quickly when washing dishes; Cascade dishwasher soap, which can clean dishes without pre-washing; and refillable and recyclable products from brands such as Crest and Oral B.
The spot features these products in the context of consumers making more sustainable choices at home.
“These are innovations we're focusing on with our brands,” Pritchard said. “Then we’re communicating what you can do at home to get the best performance of the product, while also improving the environment.”
This type of messaging works. One P&G goal to encourage 70% of consumers to use energy efficient laundry cycles led to a reduction of 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, Pritchard said: “It demonstrates that when you innovate on a superior performing product that also reduces energy emissions, it can have a big impact.”
The campaign features Louisa as its spokesperson because 90% of parents say they are inspired by their children to be more environmentally sustainable, according to P&G research.
“That's why we chose creatively to have this come from the voice of the next generation,” Pritchard said. “If there's one thing that motivates people, it’s seeing their children and realizing they need to take action now to help.”
While P&G’s marketing generally comes from its individual brands, the company often creates larger brand platforms around big, societal issues. In addition to the sustainability push, P&G has done master brand work around the Olympics, and has put out creative taking a stand on gender equality and race.
“A vast majority of our communications are from the brands, because that's what consumers are familiar with,” Pritchard said. “P&G allows us to think about an overall platform for our brands to get behind.”
P&G is thinking more broadly about both sustainability and diversity as it heads into this year’s upfronts. The company released an initiative called “Widen the Screen” that aims to provide opportunities to Black creators and Black-owned media companies, and is planning to feature more sustainable products in its advertising this year.