Plan It Day briefs: Here's how you can help prove marketing can change the world this Thursday

Plan It Day

Every big change needs a big plan, and The Drum is looking to effect real change as it gears up for its second annual Plan It Day and Do It Day events.

Marketing has often, perhaps unfairly, attracted unsavoury labels like ‘cynical’ and ‘self-serving’. But The Drum has always believed that marketing has the power to change the world, and we’re not just saying it – we’re proving it.

At Plan It Day on 29 September, The Drum will play host to some of the world’s biggest brands, charities and change makers as we seek to prove that the power of creativity can be harnessed to make the world a better place.

From Airbnb and Coca-Cola to Amnesty International and the NSPCC, the challenges may be varied but they have one thing in common: they’re tapping into the creativity and fresh thinking of the marketing industry to tackle societal challenges.

In the following article, we introduce the brands taking part, detailing the briefs they want our assembled team of marketers to tackle on Plan It Day. Thereafter, the best strategies to emerge from the event will be implemented on Do It Day on 10 November.

Last year we saw 10,000 trees being planted, an app launched to link charities with volunteers, and raised awareness of the refugee crisis with an ad campaign in Times Square. All in 24 hours. What can you do in a day? Find out more at

Health and wellbeing

Eating Better Alliance: tackling meat consumption

The cultural associations between meat and masculinity are strong and run deep, and this is something that is often reinforced through food advertising and promotions.

While the health benefits of eating less meat, and red meat in particular, are fairly well documented, it is the impact on the environment caused by meat production that is less well-known.

To raise awareness and encourage men to cut down on their meat consumption, the Eating Better Alliance is hoping the marketing industry can make eating less meat seem ‘appealing, aspirational and sexy’, in a creative and non-reprimanding way.

IBM: tackling how missing persons cases could be aided by cognitive tech

When someone goes missing in the UK, the first thing police forces do is reach for their print-out of ‘the Grampian Document’. Using historical anonymised data, it categorises ‘personas’ and provides key insights into the most common scenarios around missing people.

It has limitations however, such as it is predominantly accessed in hard-copy format and, more significantly, it doesn’t include additional sources of relevant data from other agencies, such as ‘vulnerability’ data.

IBM is exploring how its cognitive tech can provide a new solution where this is automated and other data sources pulled in to deliver accurate information faster.

This will be wholly dependent on police forces engaging with it however, which requires a creative approach to drive adoption – which is where teams at Plan It Day come in.

NSPCC: helping Childline keep children safe

On 30 October, Childline will celebrate 30 years of helping children across the UK deal with their problems. Yet the world today is very different from when the service launched – 70 per cent of Childline’s contacts now come through online channels, creating challenges around recruiting and training volunteers to work 24/7.

But the charity has tapped into one opportunity which could potentially open it to a host of new donors – better aligning the NSPCC and Childline brands. It has found that people who know the relationship are much more likely to support the NSPCC.

And so at Plan It Day, the charity is looking for creatives – be they individuals or with the might of an agency behind them – to come up with ideas for how it can drive that awareness among adults in the coming months and years.

xAd: tackling food wastage

Europe throws away 89m tonnes of food each year, and yet more people in the UK are using food banks than ever before.

At Plan It Day, location marketing business xAd will set a challenge for delegates to help devise a system which will use its geo-location technology to help deliver leftover food from partnering brands to local food charities.

The challenge will be for delegates to devise how to engage and celebrate the involvement of brand partners and how that potential food waste can be delivered to local food charities within a short period of time.

Diversity and education

Digital Futures: tackling the digital skills gap

Digital Futures is on a mission to make the industry more diverse and inclusive with its ambitious target of placing 100 18-24 year-olds who are not in employment, education or training into a digital work placement on Do It Day.

By offering opportunities to young adults from all social backgrounds, this brief also aims to tackle another growing pain point for agencies and brands – the digital skills gap.

Digital Futures’ goal for Plan It Day is to create an outreach campaign encouraging 100 business leaders to pledge to take on an intern for between three months and a year. The marketing industry should feel a vested interest in making this happen.

O2 Business Marketing and Greengrass Consulting: tackling gender inequality

In a joint Do It Day challenge (sponsored by Bing), O2 Business and Greengrass Consulting are teaming up to address gender inequality in the workplace… by targeting men.

While women are disproportionately affected by unconscious bias, they believe men also lose out in terms of paternity leave and lack of flexible working contracts. And for change to happen, the entire workforce needs to do something about inequality. Ultimately, O2 and Greengrass realise the gender gap is bad for business overall, so are challenging the industry to rally more men and close it for good.

Commerce and economy

Airbnb: boosting local tourism

The accommodation sharing startup wants to use Do It Day as a catalyst to boost long-term local tourism, and in turn develop local economies, in the locations where it has listings.

As Airbnb makes it possible for any home to be turned into accommodation, it has a footprint in many locations traditionally considered off the beaten track. Its 300,000 listings in France, for instance, are spread across 17,000 towns, which it says is double the number of towns compared to traditional hotels.

So at Do It Day it will call on the marketing industry’s brightest minds to develop a toolkit which it can distribute to its hosts to help them build their local travel destination ‘in an authentic way v cruise ship tourism’.

Amnesty International: tackling negative perceptions of refugees

Despite emotive images such as that of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis, the dominant discourse around refugees in the West remains one of fear and xenophobia.

Amnesty International wants to change that. The charity is calling on participants at Do It Day to come up with an idea that will change negative perceptions of refugees – highlighting their positive contributions to society.

Read more on Amnesty International’s aims in an interview with communications director Osama Saeed Bhutta on page 17.

Business in the Community: tackling the high street’s decline

In recent years, Britain’s high streets have struggled to deal with a steady decline in footfall as more people turn to online shopping and eating out as a means for spending their money.

Business-led charity Business in the Community is focused on mobilising businesses such as Marks & Spencer, Boots and Greggs to work together across a range of issues which can help the communities they operate in and, in turn, secure their future.

On Do It Day, the charity will attempt to inspire and empower 100 businesses across the UK with the tools to become local leaders in all the high streets they operate in.

On Plan It Day, it will ask marketers to create the campaign that will encourage these businesses to collaborate on projects to become more involved in their local high streets.


ClientEarth: tackling air pollution

ClientEarth, a collective of activist lawyers harnessing environmental law across the world to secure a healthy planet, is on the hunt for creative ideas to help put a stop to the annual 10,000 early deaths attributed to air pollution in London.

Although the group receives substantial media coverage with its substantial legal victories across the EU, it is intent on mobilising Londoners to the cause by showing them, using visual and innovative means, just how polluted the city is.

Do It Day gives the group the chance to design and initiate a grassroots PR campaign.

Coca-Cola: tackling litter

Coca-Cola wants creatives to help devise a behaviour-changing campaign to encourage people to litter less and recycle more. The drinks giant will be looking to come up with an execution which is engaging, fun and avoids being finger-wagging in order to help tidy up the UK’s streets.

Litter has many well-publicised environmental, economic and social costs, and Coca-Cola has noted that some estimates place the cost of clearing it up at around £750m a year to taxpayers. Often, soft drinks packaging can be found among the rubbish, blighting the landscape, and Coke wants to do its part to fix the issue by inspiring positive behaviour change among consumers.

Dennis Publishing: tackling sustainability

In an increasingly urbanised country, Britain’s native woodland is under threat. In fact, Britain has one of the lowest percentages of tree cover in Europe. This is taking a toll on the environment, people and wildlife.

Dennis Publishing’s Plan It Day brief builds upon the success of 2015’s #treesfortrees Do It Day challenge – to create a real forest from a virtual version. This year it hopes to plant an ambitious 15,000 trees in 24 hours.

While the challenge hinges on activity that will take place on Do It Day, the publisher hopes to utilise the physical planting of a forest in a day to help generate long-term awareness of the Heart of England Forest and its mission to combat deforestation in the UK.

To be part of Do It Day 2016 head to

This article was originally published in 29 September issue of The Drum.

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