Earth Day 2021 Planted the Seeds for 2022: What brands should know ahead of this year’s Earth Day

April 20th, 2022 | Comperemedia News

After reviewing the 2021 Earth Day campaigns, the most successful ones considered consumer sentiments toward sustainability when crafting their campaigns. Earth Day advertising provides the opportunity for brands to convince consumers they support sustainability.

2021 Earth Day evaluation

As consumer attitudes toward sustainability evolve, brands are making efforts to form a meaningful dialogue in an increasingly demanding space. In 2021, some brands lacked authenticity, leaving room for improvement in 2022. 

With the overwhelming amount of information and ambiguity surrounding sustainability, consumers are feeling more lost than ever with regards to living a sustainable lifestyle. In 2021, some brands offered actionable recommendations on how to better serve the environment, leaving consumers feeling that they could make a difference.

Skepticism surrounding sustainability initiatives is a natural result of brands historically behaving in a non-sustainable fashion. Similar to the way that lesser-known brands outsource their legitimacy through celebrity partnerships, the most believable Earth Day advertisers partnered with established environmental organizations.

What consumers want and why and what that means for brands

The majority of consumers agreed that brands have a responsibility to put in place an initiative that combats harmful environmental impacts. In other words, consumers expect more from brands than a “Happy Earth Day” email campaign or a social media post. Instead of just posting about Earth Day in 2021, AAA encouraged consumers to go paperless through easy steps linked in its email. Additionally, the brand pledged to plant 20,000 trees in honor of its employees.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [04/1/2021-4/30/2021] as of 4/15/2022

Consumers turn to brands to navigate the unknowns and in today’s world, purchasing a product or engaging in a service means more than it once did. Consumers, now more than ever, are aware of the impact of their spending. Through providing educational resources and promoting oneself as a sustainable vehicle, brands can offer consumers an easy way to engage with sustainability through affiliation. Brands like Apple TV invited consumers to learn more about sustainability through a collection of educational programs focused on the environment.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [04/1/2021-4/30/2021] as of 4/15/2022

Part of the confusion for consumers surrounding Earth Day marketing material is the effectiveness of sustainable initiatives. Brands can combat this hesitancy by pulling the consumer into their Earth Day Campaigns. Verizon took implementation of sustainable initiatives to a new level by including an immediate incentive for customers. In April 2021, Verizon emailed consumers announcing a new deal on eco-friendly accessories. On top of the 25% discount, Verizon pledged to plant a tree for every eco-friendly accessory sold. The same email announced a plan that 50% of phone cases sold would be made from recycled plastic by 2025.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [04/1/2021-4/30/2021] as of 4/15/2022

Campaign predictions for Earth Day 2022

A successful Earth Day campaign in 2022 will have to include a large-scale initiative partnered with an incentive for the consumer.

  • Consumers will value brands that introduce initiatives that offer identifiable steps to improve the environment. Whether that includes cleaning up a specific area of a forest, introducing an eco-friendly product, or switching to less wasteful packaging, brands should consider focusing on a related niche where they can make an impact.
  • Brands should include a benefit for the consumer in their Earth Day 2022 campaigns. For example, offering discounts in tandem with Earth Day awareness efforts will incentivize consumer participation. A concession by the company on behalf of the consumer and the environment will show a brand’s commitment to sustainability.
  • Brands should position themselves as a sustainable choice through association and reassuring consumers of their validity. They could do so by clearly outlining their values and engaging in partnerships with established environmental organizations.

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Andy Colman is an Associate Research Analyst with Comperemedia, specializing in omni-channel marketing trends.
Bella Broccolo is an Associate Research Analyst with Comperemedia, specializing in omni-channel marketing trends.