TOMS, the shoe to coffee brand, is exploring new ways of getting across its ethical marketing message, having discovered “effective media buying with purpose attached”.

Speaking at Advertising Week Europe, Lisa Hogg, TOMS marketing director for EMEA, outlined the rise of belief-driven buyers – those consumers who will buy, or reject, a brand for what it stands for.

In an age of uncertainty, “people feel their wallets are their votes”, she said. That’s both challenging and a massive opportunity, as what a brand stands for is becoming more important than the product features that were previously the focus of marketing activity.

“The brand stand on things is not something you can shy away from any more,” she stated. (For more, read WARC’s report: TOMS marries brand activism with media effectiveness.)

TOMS has long taken a stand, being founded back in 2006 with the purpose of doing good: buy a pair of its shoes and it donates footwear to someone who needs it.

But the TOMS business model sees the social contributions it makes come out of the P&L rather than being conditional on success, meaning that the marketing budget tends to be a casualty.

“We have storytelling gold,” said Hogg, “but it does make it a little bit more difficult for us to drive upper funnel interest and brand awareness – which is one of our biggest challenges.”

A tie-up with Good-Loop is changing that: it takes existing video creative and wraps it in an ethical ad player which carries branding along the top and a choice of three charitable causes – chosen by the advertising brand to reinforce brand values.

Once a viewer has watched the ad for at least 15 seconds (a countdown clocks the time) they can decide which of the three charities they want to give their ‘free’ donation to. The money actually comes out of the media spend.

Good-Loop founder Amy Williams explained that not only is the user actively involved but “when you give people positive reason to engage, to get them to watch your ad for longer, 91% go from 15 seconds all the way through to 30. And that part isn't incentivised”.

Hogg concurred that she had been pleasantly surprised by view-through rates, “especially on our longer-form content”.

And when a campaign is finished, she added: “We could see how much we were able to additionally give to the three non-profits and that feels really good – really effective media buying but with purpose attached.”

Sourced from WARC