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Brand Conducts Live Research on Families and Food
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As the world shifts its attention to how its people can live together in more populated areas, certain issues are pushed to the forefront. Brands and ad folks have to think about how the message of sustainability and conservation will reach the masses. How will people be convinced that changing their consumption habits will be the way to go?

Advertising, as it is right now, doesn't support that notion either.

We have been covering tidbits of "goodvertising" and social responsibility in advertising for several weeks now. Some of the thought leaders of the industry have also mentioned and advocated that now is the time for brands to start doing good for the people, to ensure both "social and financial profit."

The question is, which major brand will be the first sucker?

Enter Unilever.

Unilever is certainly taking the smart approach to this quasi-new concept. The brand is launching what it is calling the six-month "The Sustain Ability Challenge," which is a marketing initiative that will document how families can change their habits to procure a healthier, sustainable lifestyle.

The initiative will follow 12 families that have the goal to reduce their monthly food bills by 15%, and their household waste by 25%. The families will document their results in daily dairies and videos, and Unilever will compile the findings in a report due out in 2013. 

Food waste is considered a major issue in the UK. According to a report released, 60% of its citizens believe food waste is an issue that needs solving, and 53% said they would waste less food if it saves them money.

An Unilever executive quoted a report that suggest the average UK family throws out £680 of food a year (roughly $1000 USD).

Compare that to $600 of wasted food annually per family in the U.S. 

Unilever is tackling this issue because they want to disprove common sentiment about sustainable foods: that those foods are more expensive. Hopefully this "social experiment" disproves it.

Kudos to Unilever for addressing this problem in an interesting way. We look forward to seeing what happens. Let's hope brands in the U.S. will follow their lead.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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