Loeries Special Section

Scrubbing the Ubuntu Loeries to a sparkle with Hope Soap

Here's how Y&R brought home a gold Ubuntu Loerie this year for the Hope Soap initiative.

Parents the world over struggle to instill the importance of washing your hands in children, that's what makes the Hope Soap initiative, launched by agency Y&R in 2013, such a genius one. You'll soon see the clear bars of soap with tiny toys like Hello Kitty, figurines and dinky cars embedded inside for sale at Pick n Pay. By adding a sense of fun expectation in letting children see the 'reward' they get for cleaning their hands, they're more likely to embrace good hygiene practice.

Hope Soap campaign
Hope Soap campaign

But more than this, the initiative touched our hearts for inspiring hope. By providing a sustainable business model for the aged and turning the typical 'youth help the elderly and not the other way around' mindset on its head. See, elderly entrepreneurs at NGO Neighbourhood Old Age Homes or Noah, were already making soap to generate income.

They simply added the Hope Soap to their existing production, with 80c from each soap bar bad going into their coffers. The see-through soap bars will be stocked at selected Pick n Pay stores in the Western Cape, with an additional bar donated to children in underprivileged communities for each bar sold, thereby turning empowerment into an educational goal.

It's sustainable, fun, entrepreneurial, inspiring and uplifting all in one, and with the worldwide attention gained, the initiative gained a further R150,000 in research funding from JPAL Poverty Action Lab, amongst others. Watch the video embedded below for a better idea of this initiative's true impact:

Now that you're inspired, Megan Hall: client service director at Y&R tells us more...

1. What does the Ubuntu Loerie mean to Y&R and client, the Safety Lab?

Hall: Y&R South Africa has long housed the view that brands are inextricably linked to society, and feels that work should be of value in the community, whilst also meeting the needs of consumers. The long-standing partnership with The Safety Lab has been a catalyst to a process of innovation-led thinking, and the Loerie for Hope Soap is just one testament to how we have successfully applied this mindset in practice. Unfortunately, The Safety Lab was defunded earlier in 2015, resulting in the closure of the NPO. Hope Soap and other projects, however, live on through Y&R South Africa and other established partnerships.

2. We're glad the campaign lives on. Tell us how it came about and the campaign result.

Hall: Hope Soap started as a pilot project in 2013, and consisted of community visits and soap drops in the Blikkiesdorp community in the Western Cape. Since then, the project has evolved to create partnerships with the interest of building sustainability into the project. The end result is a beautiful story of the elderly empowered by helping the young generation.

3. Definitely. Looking more at the creative process, how does work with an NPO client differ from paying client? What are the specific challenges faced in doing so?

Hall: Fundamentally, the process in the NPO environment is social innovation rather than outputs. Big thinking has to be applied to deliver tangible results with limited resources, which is the universal challenge when working on pro bono accounts. Some other challenges include:
  • The dynamic life span of NGOs, which are dependent on funding. This makes it difficult to build a unique and ongoing client-agency partnership on a pro bono account.
  • Trust: Community leaders often distrust initiatives that are one-off and not genuinely sustainable in the effort to improve their lives. Agencies must tread carefully to ensure they create creative solutions that are sustainable in the long-term, and must often deal with negative perceptions that other initiatives might have caused in the past.
  • Staff expertise: Although we were privileged to work with outstanding professional and creative personnel at The Safety Lab, it is often the case when working with NGOs that staff serve in a variety of roles and are spread very thin. That's why it's so crucial to work with an NGO as a close and collaborative partner - the agency must be willing to redefine the traditional client service/marketer roles in order to bring successful projects to life.
Bizcommunity4. The Ubuntu category is hugely important in promoting sustainable marketing and social responsibility/doing good business - would you say the uptake on 'sustainable marketing' is increasing?

Hall: Most definitely! The local and global social landscape warrants this, and marketers are increasingly grasping the incredible power they have at their disposal to leverage creativity for good. The prevalence of this category in creative award shows has legitimised sustainable marketing over the last decade or so and has contributed to it being as celebrated as it is today.

The opportunities for sustainable marketing are endless on our continent, but the challenges are harrowing. Although marketers and agencies are grasping the importance of it and the adoption of it is gaining momentum, they need to ensure that their marketing efforts actually empower, develop and educate the disadvantaged in the long term, and not simply because these efforts are rewarded at international award shows. Only then will the communication efforts prosper.

5. What's the next big aspect of sustainable marketing you foresee having a big impact on the global advertising market?

Hall: The influence of technology will most definitely have an impact, especially in terms of mobile. Spectacular advances in this field has already brought significant changes, but as the Internet of Things is refined and streamlined, advertisers will have more and more platforms and technologies to play with.

Time for everyone to get involved. If you're looking for further inspiration simply click here for more on how Havas Worldwide Tunisia gilded the 'Recycle to Learn' concept with a gold Ubuntu Loerie, and here for more on the concept behind the Lumkani Fire Initiative, which took home a silver Ubuntu Loerie.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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