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Brand charity begins at home

News, 04 October 2016

LONDON: Many brands looking to partner with an NGO or charity choose to ally themselves with an international cause that works across borders, but Britvic, the UK drinks business, is keeping it local with its new Lifting Spirits Foundation.

It described the initiative, due to launch this month, as an "in-outlet community support platform".

As a major supplier of soft drinks to bars, pubs and restaurants across the country, the brand will contribute to local initiatives and projects chosen by publicans and bar owners in proportion to the number of bottles of mixers and juices sold in participating outlets.

These outlets will be invited to join the Foundation and will receive fundraising kits to encourage their customers to donate to local causes, told Marketing Week.

"Bars and restaurants often sit at the heart of the community – it's where people reconnect with family and friends, and they have the power to lift people's spirits," explained Kevin McNair, GB marketing director at Britivic.

"That's where we started from a mission perspective, so as a result we want to give back to local community projects."

He contrasted this approach with that of one of his former employers, Unilever, where people would "talk about 'the world' around us, like rainforests in Brazil".

The FMCG giant has linked with partners such as the Rainforest Alliance and the UN as it aims to meet a number of 2020 sustainability goals. Coca-Cola has likewise embraced an international outlook with its 5by20 initiative, which seeks to empower five million women in developing markets within a similar timescale.

While laudable aims, Britvic believes they're too distant from consumers' everyday lives.

"We've been thinking about how we could help our [direct world around us] and our community instead of something that is international, where consumers can't really get a handle on how [an initiative] is having an impact," McNair said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff