8 April, 2022
Just when you thought the days of outdated and slapdash sustainability strategies were behind us… Sports Direct latest campaign ‘Save the Bees’ provides a sage reminder of how not to handle social marketing.
We’ve said it once and we will say it again. Plucking an issue out of the air isn’t the way to make a vehicle that can be really powerful for brands and the world work.
It’s not to say that protecting bees is a trivial matter. They are vital to UK and global ecosystems and contribute to the pollination of £690 million worth of UK crops annually. If you’re genuinely interested in learning more about how you can protect bees, we recommend you check out some of the resources developed by the WWF and Wildlife Trust.
Without wanting to come across as too cynical, it’s important to recognise why campaigns such as this fall short, in the hope that other brands will take note. After all, does anyone know the link between budget plastic football boots and bees? No? Well, nor do we, and apparently nor do Sports Direct.
Of course, as business, you can’t solve everything, so campaigning for a specific cause makes sense. But it’s so important to focus your efforts on issues that speak to your values as a business, your staff, and customers. Find the point of connection between what you do and what society needs and dig deep. In our experience, this is the only way that you can really drive change.
Also, we can’t help but wonder about the environmental impact of these limited-edition ‘Save the bees’ products – particularly the £1 mug – and the social conditions of the workers producing them. I think we can all agree the last thing we need is more bounty for landfill – I’m sure the bees would even agree with us on this one.
By Budd Nicholson