The Body Shop remains the paradigm buster.
Its 1994 campaign, Stop violence in the home, wasn’t based on the usual passion drivers. Instead, it addressed the taboo of domestic violence, a subject which at the time even western governments would barely acknowledge. And from that counter-intuitive platform, it launched a campaign which by 2008 was running in 56 markets. Now we know from personal experience that most brands working with international properties – including the Champions League, the World Cup, F1, the Olympics even – can only dream of 56 participating markets.
The UK petition alone collected 2 million signatures, a figure which today would trigger automatic Cannes Lion application frenzy. And let’s not forget, we’re talking about old world, real time, analogue engagement – not page hits, tweets or likes. For nearly two decades, The Body Shop communicated its brand, engaged with consumers, and shifted product exclusively through activity which would traditionally be classified as CR. It proved beyond any shadow of doubt the potential of social issues to provide brand platforms every bit as powerful as sport or entertainment.