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ITV CEO says purpose pays off as social impact campaigns drive real action

ITV has offered some insight into the value of purpose-driven marketing in its latest Social Purpose Impact report

ITV has offered some insight into the value of purpose-driven marketing, with its latest Social Purpose Impact report showing that 7.4 million people took action on their own mental and physical health last year as a direct consequence of the broadcaster's messaging.

The report comes as brands continue to spend big on purposeful and sustainable messaging in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Research from IBM recently found that 40% of consumers now only seek products and services that are aligned with their values, with a further 57% willing to change their consumption habits to reduce environmental impact.

Now, the British broadcaster is offering a glimpse into the merit of such investments, outlining how campaigns it has run across health and wellbeing, diversity, inclusion and climate action have performed over the past year.

‘We make a difference’

  • ITV has been positioning itself as a force for social good in the world as part of its 'More than TV' strategy, having identified these four key areas above as key to its audience.

  • The broadcaster has outlined a commitment to getting 10 million people to take control of their mental or physical health by 2023 through eating better, moving more and talking.

  • It's also has also set its sights on diversity and inclusion with a series of goals to boost representation on and off-screen, irrespective of anyone's disability, race or creed, by 2022.

  • ITV has also established itself as being on the forefront of climate action, pledging to minimise its carbon footprint by achieving net-zero carbon emissions and zero waste from productions by 2030.

  • In addition to serving as a role model for others to look up to ITV has also pledged to give time, support and cash to communities around the world, including a goal of increasing volunteering to 10% of all staff raising a minimum of £8m for Unicef's Soccer Aid.

  • Backing up these varied initiatives have been a regular drumbeat of purpose-driven content such as 'Britain Get Talking', which recently won big in of the Social Purpose category at The Drum Marketing Awards.

  • The commercial broadcaster has also been busy keeping the 'Stay at Home' messaging front and centre throughout the pandemic by custom bookend idents around ad breaks on ITV1.

  • Elsewhere the network recently celebrated Black History Month in the UK with a takeover of channel idents and trailers. This complemented newly-commissioned programmes drawing specifically from Black individuals, life and culture.

  • Marking the predicted impact of climate change ITV also produced an apocalyptic disaster advert titled 'The Shows We Never Want to Make' to reinforce its commitment to becoming a net-zero carbon business by 2030.

  • ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "Audiences today expect brands to have not just a point of view but to take action on issues they care about – so social purpose campaigns help ensure ITV is perceived as a modern, relevant brand. ITV is a creative force that does more than entertain; we make a difference to British culture in a way that global competitors don’t.”

  • Now, ITV is showcasing the impact of these pledges over the last 12 months.

  • It calculates that 7.4 million people have now altered their behaviour after viewing its health campaigns, including 890,000 children said to have begun eating more vegetables as a result of its ongoing 'Eat Them to Defeat Them' push.

  • The broadcaster also believes 6.4 million people connected with others as a consequence of the 'Britain Get Talking' campaign while the Shows We Never Want to Make campaign is believed to have convinced 1.3m viewers to reduce their carbon footprint.

  • In addition to this, 5.7 million UK adults were reached by its 'Stay At Home' messaging, with 24% motivated to stay indoors after viewing the flagship creative at the heart of the push.

  • As for 'The Shows We Don't Never to Make' ad, 1.3 million people said the work made them reconsider their carbon footprint

Why it matters

  • The results from ITV come as brands continue to double down on their purposeful messaging to showcase their value to customers in the pandemic.
  • 2020 data from Deloitte underscored brand purpose as one of the key areas of focus for chief marketing officers post-pandemic, with one in five consumers noting they would support a brand that took impactful action on issues. One in four, meanwhile, said they'd walk away if they didn't agree with brand viewpoints or decisions.
  • ​Looking ahead ITV has promised to build further momentum in each of its four target areas including a new mental health partnership between ITV2 and Calm, promotion of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow and rollout of a global environmental data platform.
  • Furthermore, the broadcaster will appoint a culture advisory council to guide approaches to diversity and inclusion with the broadcaster also chairing the Creative Diversity Network. A mentorship programme will also see ITV partner with the Media Trust and Creative Access to give emerging talent a leg up in the creative industries.

  • McCall concludes: "Being a purpose-driven business is more important than ever before. Business can and should play its part in driving positive change, and if anything I think 2020 increased the public’s expectation of that.

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