Timberland has initiated a massive stretch of innovative corporate social responsibility efforts and campaigns over the years, and the company has just announced its latest Earthkeepers product campaign, “Nature Needs Heroes.” With a microsite, online 3-D features, and in-store 3-D displays, the campaign appeals to customers who want to be immersed in the outdoors at all times, even inside a Timberland store.
Jim Davey, who came from Nickelodeon to the company in 2009 as Vice President of Global Marketing, is bringing a playful air to the campaign with in-your-face sensory-stimulating 3-D features, recycled 3-D glasses, recycled rubber in the products, extensive outdoor imagery used in the campaign, and the virtual forest application on Facebook. Davey tells Fast Company a little more about where this latest environmental marketing campaign fits in for the company’s do-good approach.
Timberland has engaged in a number of CSR initiatives over the years. How is this one different?
This campaign is one way we ‘re storytelling around our environmental platform. Nature Needs Heroes highlights the environmental attributes of our products and encourages our consumers to do what they can, big and small, to improve the environment. In this sense, we’re putting the consumer at the center of the story.
Have you found that men or women or a specific age group are more receptive to your environmental marketing efforts?
Our consumer is more about mindset than demographics. They love the outdoors. And because they love the outdoors, they want to do what they can to help protect it, so they and future generations can continue to enjoy it. But first they want product that performs and looks great—environmental features like recycled PET are the icing on the cake, that lets them feel good about their purchase and they are doing their bit for the environment. The key is that consumers don’t have to compromise–they can now [buy] more sustainable gear without sacrificing style, comfort, or performance.
Timberland has gone 3D and very multimedia-heavy for this campaign; what was the impetus for that and what’s the overarching vision for such choices?
Our core promise is that we equip people for all their outdoor experiences. With 3-D, people can feel like they are actually part of that experience. We’re also making a concerted effort to connect with the twenty-something crowd so being everywhere is a necessity.
What’s the next frontier for innovation in CSR–not just for Timberland, but for businesses in general?
One of the emerging spaces in CSR will be around companies empowering people to extend their awareness about environmental and social responsibility to their individual purchasing decisions. If consumers vote with their dollars to reward companies that are creating sustainable products, they’ll have incentive to create more products that respect the physical environment. The most innovative companies will take it even further—creating products that are built to last and then designed to be recycled and continually reused.