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Altruistic innovation pays off

News, 14 July 2016

LONDON: Altruistic innovation takes brands out of their comfort zone, but the payoff for the greater good is worth it, according to an analysis of the winning entries to this year's Warc Prize for Innovation.

The Innovation Casebook 2016 organises these campaigns into major themes. In addition to altruistic innovation, three others were highlighted: the power of products, data-driven innovation and innovation targeting a millennial audience.

Whether the idea of innovation should incorporate a sense of purpose that extends beyond a brand's core business remit was a subject for debate among the judges, but that was certainly the case for the winning entry.

Between Us, from Vodafone, created a secret alarm app to protect Turkish women at risk from domestic violence.

This offered a practical tool that helped address a social issue. From a purely marketing point of view, the judges felt there was a halo effect on Vodafone's brand that will help it build up long-term brand equity in Turkey, where it competes with local telcos like Turkcell and Turk Telekom.

Other examples of brands tackling social issues, included an Indian laundry detergent, Rin, and a Dubai NGO helping people's job prospects by improving their English, while Volvo counter-intuitively targeted car drivers via a safety measure for cyclists.

"What stood out for me among this year's entries was brands striving to do good," noted Lawrence Weber, one of the judges and managing partner at Karmarama.

"Most brands can roll out a campaign, but the bravery of doing something that's new and outside of your business model furthers your brand," added Lizzie Shupak, head of innovation at DigitasLBi.

Data sourced from Warc