Why Corona brought jarring environmental stats to life

The beer brand is backing up internal efforts to clean up shorelines with its largest marketing investment of the year.

corona-sustainableThe situation with ocean plastic is drastic, and Corona is matching its own efforts to clean up shorelines with a campaign that aims to make the severity of the situation instantly recognizable.

Mannequins made out of discarded plastic have begun popping up on the kinds of shorelines the material was collected from. For people who find the sculptures on the beaches of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, they can scan a QR code and sign up for local plastic cleanup efforts.

For the rest of the country, the plastic beachgoers are appearing across a “healthy mix” of TV, out-of-home, online video and social, according to Mike Bascom, senior marketing director for Corona Canada, who adds that this is the brand’s largest financial investment in marketing for the year.

“Awareness is a significant component in the success of this campaign,” he says.

Bascom says the idea is to take the “jarring statistic” that Canadians use over 125 kg of plastic per person every year – almost twice the average person’s body weight – and “actualize” it in a form that instantly communicates the issue. On a similar note, it has also released an AR app that visualizes what 125 kg of plastic would look like if it were to fill the room they are in, as well as provide tips to users on how to reduce their consumption.

While part of the goal is to educate Canadians on how lifestyle choices result in plastic waste, especially given the increase in single-use plastics brought on by COVID, Bascom says Corona recognizes “that change needs to start with our own production lines.”

To that end, the beer brand announced earlier this week that it had achieved a “net zero plastic footprint,” meaning it recovers more plastic than it releases into the environment. For every specially marked pack of Corona sold in Canada, one square metre of Canadian shoreline will be cleaned, in an effort to clean an incremental two million square metres by the end of 2021. The suds brand is also announcing a partnership with Ocean Wise, a Vancouver-based global conservation organization focused on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans.

But rather than simply collecting plastic, it is further reducing the waste it creates in the first place with what Bascom calls “revolutionary packaging” for six-pack beer bottles. Corona is the first global beverage brand to take surplus barley straw from its brewing process to create an innovative paper packaging solution. The achievement, Bascom says, is part of Corona’s global vision to be a sustainability leader in consumer packaged goods.

Committing to these internal initiatives while also finding ways to impactfully communicate about the issue of waste on a mass scale is an important approach for the brand. Bascom says campaigns like the plastic sculptures resonates with the typical Corona consumer, who is sustainability savvy and an outdoor lover who is mindful about what they do and buy, with a preference for brands and products that are socially and environmentally conscious.

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This isn’t the first time Corona has activated around ocean health. It brought its sustainability efforts to Canada in 2019, while in a global effort the same year, the beer brand also accepted plastic intercepted in cities and on the coast as payment for beer during the week of World Oceans Day. 

Corona worked with Anomaly on the campaign creative, Salt on experiential, Vizeum on media and Veritas for PR. Labatt’s internal DraftLine team is handling social.