Want to make a positive impact on the world with your PR? Before you start Googling local charities and pondering baked bean-filled bathtubs, get inspiration from brands making a real difference with show-stopping social impact campaigns.
Here are examples of public relations for the public good from brands including Pret, Persil, Hellmann’s, and Cats Protection…
1. The Pret Foundation offers enrichment
A mainstay of hungry office workers and commuters (many PRs among them), Pret prides itself on providing healthy options for people on the go. But it doesn’t stop there.
— The Pret Foundation (@PretFoundation) February 3, 2022
The Pret Foundation was launched to make a difference to people impacted by poverty, hunger, and homelessness. Food not snapped up in-store by the end of each day is donated, and the foundation also offers financial grants to grassroots charities, and training and employment within its own stores. Extra opportunities are also offered to those in need as part of the Rising Stars programme.
Alongside all this, the programme has gained Pret plenty of positive mentions in the press over the years, including write-ups of recent royal visits. Media coverage — not the main point of the programme, of course, but a bonus for the brand, no doubt.
2. Persil says Dirt Is Good
Persil has been cleaning up with its Dirt Is Good Project for over a decade now – aiming to make a ‘positive impact on young people’s wellbeing, their communities, and the planet’.
We're delighted to win GOLD in the Educational Excellence category of the #GlobalGoodAwards for the creation of the #DirtIsGoodProject in partnership with Global Action Plan. Shout out to our partner Future Fundations who is delivering this work in schools across the UK.💪 🌎 pic.twitter.com/aZ9bGlGkze
— Persil UK & Ireland (@persiluk) July 13, 2023
Children aged 7-to-14 can plan social impact tasks – finding out how soil is used around their school, discovering shared values with friends, and getting ready for Earth Day – as part of the Dirt Is Good Academy, logging their good work on the website, celebrating milestones, and the completion of their project.
The award-winning programme from Persil even contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – scrubbing up well for the brand’s purpose, and the future of the planet.
3. Hellmann’s fights food waste (with some help from Nintendo and Channel 4)
Spreading mayonnaise (other condiments are also available) on leftovers you weren’t particularly excited to finish off is a tried and tested way to fight personal food waste. But Hellmann’s wanted to go further back in August 2020.
Hellmann’s Island is coming soon to #ACNH to turn virtual food waste into real meals. For each spoiled turnip you drop off on #HellmannsIsland, we’ll donate a meal to @SecondHarvestCA to feed those in need. Our goal: 25,000 meals. pic.twitter.com/1h0pCFVecM
— Hellmann's Canada (@HellmannsCanada) August 12, 2020
Joining the bandwagon of brands hopping onto Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizon at the time, Hellmann’s logged on to do good, not just game. Creating its own digital island, Hellmann’s asked players to donate their spoiled turnips (this makes sense if you play Animal Crossing; trust us) and contribute to the real-world donation of 25,000 meals to food charity Second Harvest.
Visitors to Hellmann’s Island could learn more about fighting food waste with tips posted to information boards within the game, and download branded merch. As a bonus, Stephen Fry shared his own recipe for a vegetarian nut roast toastie to inspire people to make the most of their leftovers as part of the campaign fun. GBBO’s Prue Leith also joined the effort as part of Hellmann’s team up with Channel 4 on its ‘Cook Clever, Waste Less’ programme. Lots of easy-to-swallow ideas – no extra condiments required.
4. Cat’s Protection celebrates black cats
Did you celebrate National Black Cat Day this year? Launched by Cats Protection back in 2011, the 27 October event aims to ‘help celebrate the majesty of monochrome moggies and beautiful black cats’.
— Cats Protection (@CatsProtection) October 27, 2016
It’s not just about showing love and appreciation for our furry friends, however – statistics in 2011 showed that both black and black-and-white-furred felines took seven days longer to find homes, compared to their other-coloured compatriots.
As well as providing an excuse to share lots of pics of quality cats, Cat’s Protection has made a real difference with this ongoing campaign. Black and black-and-white kitties now spend less time in care – ‘resulting in thousands of happy cats and owners’. Lots of warm and fuzzy feels for this one.
Want more ideas for making a difference with your PR? Check out how charities Tiny Tickers and The Wildlife Trusts got cut-through with their campaigns on shoestring budgets here.