Your weekly helping of five interesting ideas to take you into the weekend. Curated by Good Business and delivered straight to your inbox first thing on a Friday, if you subscribe here.
(1) Doctor Do-lots
A Lancashire GP is overseeing a year-long initiative that aims to reframe the way residents in his town approach their health. After realising that his advice to stop smoking, drinking and eating unhealthily kept falling on deaf ears, Dr. Mark Spencer launched ‘Healthier Fleetwood’ to shift the focus from preventing habits that make people ill, to developing behaviours that will keep them well. Examples include gardening, as an alternative to exercise in a gym that has the added benefits of increasing social interaction and improving the local environment, or cooking, which would make a move away from ready-meals and high-calorie processed food more feasible. This programme puts great emphasis on one of the enduring principles behind our work for the Gates Foundation that is – think person not issue. In all our tobacco-prevention campaigns we focus on what motivates the person and work our message into that, rather than beating them over the head with the specific behaviour (smoking) that we want them to give up. We’ve found that this approach has worked in both Uganda and Botswana and look forward to seeing how it delivers a little closer to home, in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
(2) Give Them Five
A campaign for people in the UK to donate their first plastic £5 notes to charity has gone viral. After the new polymer fivers went into circulation last week, fundraiser John Thompson came up with the idea to encourage people to donate their first one to charity and kicked off the initiative with a Twitter poll that asked: "I'll donate the first new five pound note I get to a charity. Will you?" Since then, charities have used the hashtags to appeal for donations, while social media users have shared which charity they are donating to, as well as photos of their banknotes. The new £5 note – which The Bank of England says is cleaner, safer and stronger than its paper predecessor – features Sir Winston Churchill and can survive a spin in the washing machine. What will you do with your first fiver?
(3) Cup of Content
Starbucks has diversified to become a media company. Earlier this month it debuted its first-ever, original content series called "Upstanders". The show aims to inspire Americans with stories of compassion, citizenship and civility which it believes is missing from so much of today's national dialogue. There are ten episodes in the series, which was written and produced by Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. Despite the fact that the brand boasts a captive audience for its new offering with most visitors to its shops jumping on free WiFi, it's unusual for a retailer to jump into original content in this way. After all, the series isn't a coffee ad but rather a collection of the stories Starbucks feels people need to hear aside from the doom and gloom served up by traditional news organisations.This is an unexpected but interesting example of a brand communicating its values to its customers in a new and engaging way.
(4) Rubbish Brick Roads
In India, environmentally-friendly roads made from shredded plastic are proving a popular solution to tackling waste and extreme weather. Polymer roads – made of tar held together by a cheap glue made from shredded waste plastic – were developed in India around 15 years ago in response to the growing problem of plastic litter, and essentially serve as a useful landfill for single-use items like shopping bags and foam packaging. They have proven to be surprisingly durable, and today there are more than 21,000 miles of plastic road in the country. Most plastic shredders are women who buy subsidized shredding machines and sell their finished product for a small profit, making job creation for them as well as the waste pickers an added benefit of the roads. The polymer roads are an invention of necessity – every kilometer uses the equivalent of 1m plastic bags, saving around one tonne of the asphalt traditionally used and so costing roughly 8% less than a conventional road – and serve as a good reminder that innovation doesn’t always require complicated frameworks or massive financial investment but rather looking at the problem in a new way.
(5) Battle of the Brands
American brands are linking campaigns to the upcoming US Presidential election, tapping into a current focal point of global interest as the first presidential debate took place this week. Audi put out a nonpartisan suggestion that the debate might get heated with a spot featuring a stunning fight scene (that has no winner) littered with political Easter eggs like the protagonists’ color-coded accessories. Heineken-owned Tecate, on the other hand, did not shy away from taking a side, mocking Republican candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border with an ad that makes a case for unity (over beer, of course) with the country’s neighbours. With an election as polarising as this one, brands must tread carefully, so we applaud both Audi and Tectate for making the most of this opportunity to contribute to the discussion in a playful yet meaningful way. In ten or twenty years ads like these will provide as much of a glimpse into today’s political and social climate as traditional news reports and headlines will.