Coca Cola


Since the beginning of this column, tips and best practices examples taken from organizations have been given. Other media, even your favorite celebrities are giving some DO’s of how to live sustainably or acting more sustainably. Of course, the first common reaction is: “nice but this involves a budget! Not anyone can afford it”. True. Besides, the reality from which we cannot escape is that (1) we are living in a fast-moving consumption world (2) where greener products are more expensive (3) and old consuming (bad) habits are difficult to change. 2050 is coming soon and common efforts should be made by then. Therefore, shall brands lead us to live more sustainably? Actually, rather than wondering what we should expect from brands for this New Year, let’s wonder what is expected from them?

At Changi Airport, Singapore

At Changi Airport, Singapore

So far…

  • More and more actions are made to raise awareness among people but also within organizations.
  • Organizations are moving forward in engaging their employees, e.g. use of recycling garbage bins, internal training even in Turkey (!).
  • Standards for reporting are increasing; Sustainability Accounting Standards have recently started to be defined per sector.
  • A basic criteria in some brand campaigns, such as Unilever, BASF, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Levi’s, Marks & Spencer, H&M campaigns.

  • Thinking locally is more and more popular, this matters more to consumers. For example, Tropicana’s last campaign in Turkey showed the use of local fruits for the production of its famous fruit juice.
  • Public contribution is more and more required to ensure organization’s strategy is in line with its target audience.

1960’s = consumer society, 2010’s = caring-consumer society?

How to integrate more sustainability in our way of consuming daily? Going on raising people’s awareness and educate people in using better way of consuming. But time is passing and to reach a wide audience and have large impacts, leading brands may show us the way, since their investments in marketing and advertising are already quite significant. What better than campaigns to communicate sustainability values and best practices? Some leading brands already started to pave the way…

  • In 2010, Levi’s in collaboration with Procter & Gamble made a campaign to inform customers about how to take care of their jeans: the best way being not washing them! With cold water if necessary.
  • In 2012, Patagonia encouraged customers not to purchase more than necessary during the holiday season with its “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign.


  • In 2012, M&S started Shwopping, a program inviting people to donate their clothes of any brand each and every time they buy something new. Shwopped clothes are given to Oxfam.


  • H&M is not only the world’s largest buyer of organic cotton. In 2013, the second-largest clothing retailer in the world launched a quite similar operation: “Long live fashion!”. Customers are invited to give any clothe of any brand in any condition into an H&M store. In exchange, they receive a 15% discount voucher on their next item purchased per bag donated. The purpose of this operation is to reduce the amount of clothes ending up in landfill by being recycled by H&M’s partner: I:Collect.


  • In 2012, the World Bank highlighted in a report on municipal solid waste (MSW), that the world’s cities are generating around 1.3 billion tons of MSW a year, with nearly half of it generated by OECD countries. Therefore retailers and food companies have a big challenge: educate consumers to not buy excessively and create more waste. M&S took the challenge by: (1) educating customers on how to shop better and reduce waste at home using leftovers through animated games; (2) improving its packaging technology so that perishable food products can be kept longer; (3) diverting many foods from landfill; (4) decreasing prices of food products closed to be expired; (5) donating, composting or diverting not saleable food to anaerobic digesters for energy. Inspiring!


Agencies: a key role?

Communication is key, interacting and collaborating with its target audience and more generally with people, are essential to engage change towards sustainable lifestyle. Creativity is thus a ‘MUST’ required to attract people’s attention. So here enter major game players: agencies. Their main role is to translate the message of companies. And if these companies want to show their commitment to sustainability, then agencies have to find new creative ideas to communicate on this matter. They must create authentic content, create new challenges for people that turn sustainable actions into entertaining activities, and create new ideas to raise more and more awareness.

This year, hopefully, we will see more brands, more collaboration, more actions towards a common target: engaging people and make things (really) happen sustainably.


For its 1st edition, the Kristal Elma Yaratıcılık Festivali was full of amazing campaigns and speakers with sustainable messages! Here is a selection of very inspiring ones!

1- Promote a fair balance in today’s world Mercedes Erra, the President Executive of Havas worldwide and BETC founder, pointed out that balance between men and women help organizations to progress. She highlighted major facts of 2007 UNICEF Gender Equality study: “women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn 10% of the income and own 1% of the property”. To change such figures, people should go beyond the stereotypes; stereotypes that unfortunately everyone’s has. The big challenge to undertake is a cultural change embedded with the principle of sharing.


2- Small World Machines: a means to go beyond frontiers Jonathan Mildenhall, the Vice President of The Coca Cola Company, presented amazing campaigns. One of them was the initiative named “Small World Machines – Bringing India and Pakistan together”. Through this machine, Indian and Pakistanis people could interact, connect, play and share happiness with one another. Participants noticed that both sides had actually a lot in common. Such initiative shows how breaking down barriers and stereotypes could be actually easy – especially in today’s world networks! – and bring so much: new friends!

3- Raise awareness about child mortality in India As presented by Sonal Dabral, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of DDB Mudra, a great campaign has been made to raise awareness about child mortality due to water hygiene. The film aimed to show that with basic solutions, such as washing hands correctly, could save so many lives.

4- Engage people to create sustainable solutions François Petavy, CEO of eYeka, presented a great project launched by eYeka for Unilever.  eYeka’s community members – a potential of 250.500 creative individuals – can compete in a contest by designing an original and revolutionary shower system for the next generation of showers, that combines an enjoyable experience with preservation of the environment; in other word a sustainable shower for the future.

5- Innovation as a key word Christophe Cauvy, JWT European Head of Digital & Innovation, taught us that innovation is linked to creativity and that “Innovation is important because it is at the heart of our clients corporate and marketing strategy”. Innovation is also a team work in the sense that it is through the interaction with others, that one’s get inspired and innovates. He pointed out that the physicist Geoffrey West recently discovered that a larger city is more innovative. In other words, West’s Power Law suggests that a resident of a city with 5 million people is 3 times more creative than the inhabitant of a town with 100.000! Istanbul counts about 17 million people… so do the math!


And what innovation has brought us recently? Well, it brought a new Nike store made up with 100% trash in Shanghai! Because we learn from our mistake, major corporations, which counted some flaws in the past, are actually now walking more and more on the path of being more sustainable.  SMEs create sustainability solutions, as a rule of their core business; but the impact is more significant when big global corporations embrace them and engage their audience.

Hope to see the same casting and additional cast members next season!



Maurice Lévy (CEO of Publicis) was a keynote speaker at the 25th Crystal Apple Festival of Creativity


Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at the Coca-Cola Company at that time, was a keynote speaker at the 25th Crystal Apple Festival of Creativity. He is currently the CMO at Airbnb (since 2014).


The session I gave during the 25th Crystal Apple Festival of Creativity about Sustainable Communication