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  • James De Bond


Time is with no doubt the scarcest resource and getting another year older reminds you that resources, especially your own, are finite. It is why birthdays are both a time of celebration and reflection, representing an opportunity to evaluate what you have achieved so far and what difference you would like to make over the next 12 months.

It’s not only people that get older though - brands do too. Over the last 12 months there has been an incredible change within marketing due to the increasing social consciousness of both people and brands around the world. Sustainability has moved from buzz word to a genuine action point.

And sustainability isn’t just about being greener; it’s about fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising on the needs of future generations. It’s about finding balance between innovation and consequence, as we collectively embrace responsibility for sustainability.

A little reflection

At 15 years of age, living in the UK, I recall going to a cinema and seeing what at the time I thought was the greatest beer ad of all time. The ad was for Fosters Ice, a bottled lager, and it contained an unexpected ‘swear’ word for humour! At the time it entertained, it played to the mood, and it gave two fingers to the world. Yes indeed, according to Fosters Ice, it was ok to say that “Global Warming” was indeed “Bollocks.”

Some 30 years later, (that’s right, I’m now 45) I watched a beer ad for another Australian beer. It also contained swearing. However, the message was very different; “Life’s good when you #GiveAXXXX”. Very simply, if we don’t act, if we don’t do something, then there won’t be any more beer!

I respect XXXX for acknowledging the issue and trying to motivate everyday Australians. It didn’t feel like lip service as many so-called sustainability initiatives do. It simply reminded us that together we need to make a difference, and that burying your head in the sand won’t make these problems go away.


There are several models around sustainability. My favourite places sustainability at the intersection of environment, society and economy, and the XXXX execution plays to all three. It’s a great step in the right direction. When it comes to sustainability beer ads are growing up. The humour remains (as it should), yet there is intent to make a meaningful difference.

There was just one issue in my opinion, the ad lacked a call to arms. Instead of directing viewers on what to do next, it simply acknowledges the greater issue. It’s only on visiting their web site - Environment - XXXX Beer - that you see the ways that XXXX now give a XXXX.

The addition of a simple text overlay on the end frame; ‘See how we #giveaXXXX’, or even better, ‘How can you #giveaXXX ?’ could have helped drive consumer action.

Before my next birthday

The desire to make a difference is one that our clients and our industry are embracing, from using media that has carbon offset plans in place, to using recycled materials in products, to literally planting millions of trees as we seek to help bring back ecological balance.

The next stage of sustainability is regeneration. My kids will be my legacy, and I want them to enjoy a world that lives in harmony. It’s why we have embraced solar power and why we honestly recycle everything we can. We’ve been renovating our house for a few years now and have reused and repurposed as much of the material as we can too, combined with the planting of many trees around our property.

This same care extends to beer. I embrace brewers such as Stomping Ground Brewery, and Moon Dog Brewing who installed solar systems atop their brewpubs. Moon Dog even used their savings to create a solar-powered IPA. In a similar vein, Sobah is a non-alcoholic beer company who encourage sustainable and healthy ways of living, firstly in regard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and secondly through partnerships to help communities heal by investing in programs of mindful drinking and sobriety.

If we are going to manage the harmonization of people, product and planet, we need to ask ourselves what we can do differently to make a difference, so that when we reflect on the past year’s actions, we can all say that we #GaveAXXX.

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