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Tom’s of Maine appeals to gen Z’s demand for sustainability

A new national ad campaign from all-natural personal care brand Tom’s of Maine uplifts local movers and shakers and shines a light on the brand’s environmental initiatives. It aims to raise awareness of one of the original environmentally-conscious brands among young consumers.

Tom’s of Maine, the venerable personal care brand whose products tout only natural ingredients, is launching the first purpose-focused national campaign in its 51-year-old history.

‘Tom’s of ___’ is a multichannel campaign that includes three films championing local activism and showcasing the brand’s various green initiatives. This ranges from donating 10% of its profits each year to environmental and community-focused causes to debuting 100% plastic-free packaging for its deodorants.

The goal is to demonstrate support of on-the-ground sustainability efforts and raise awareness, among gen Z consumers in particular, of one of the first all-natural health and beauty brands. “Some of the biggest problems the world faces today are being tackled by everyday people working to do good in their own communities,” says Tom’s of Maine general manager Esi Seng. “One important way we’re making a social impact is by supporting those who are working for change in their own communities. We believe some of the best work is being done at a grassroots level, and we want to make sure these individuals have the support and resources they need to keep doing good for a brighter tomorrow.”

Created by Red Fuse Communications, a global agency under the WPP umbrella, the films emphasize sustainability as an integral brand value by playing with different iterations of the brand’s name itself. In one spot, a peppy voiceover offers: “We’re Tom’s of Maine. We’re Tom’s of joining you in the fight to save our planet. We’re Tom’s of donating 10% of our profits to changing the world.”

The framework is especially useful in helping to introduce the brand to newbies as well as deepening ties with existing consumers, says Sean Burns, Red Fuse Communications’s executive creative director. “The tricky bit was balancing the introduction of Tom’s of Maine to those who’ve never heard of it and reintroducing it to those who already are Tom-ophiles. It still has to feel like the Tom’s of Maine they love. But to those who’ve never heard of the brand, we needed to give them a reason to care and listen.”

The campaign will be activated across Hulu, YouTube and digital channels, with an aim to build brand awareness and spotlight what Tom’s of Maine views as a core part of its identity. “These channels allow us to specifically target viewers who can engage with our content to help us deepen connections and inspire collective action for real change,” says Seng.

Deloitte data released last month suggests that more than a quarter of millennials and gen Zers say that businesses’ environmental impact – whether good or bad – has influenced their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, a study by First Insight found that a whopping 62% of millennials and gen Zers prefer to buy from sustainable brands, compared to 54% of gen Xers and 39% of baby boomers.

And Seng believes that the cultural moment we’re living through represents an ideal opportunity to launch the new campaign. “The world has gone through a major reset in the past two years and people have developed a renewed sense of activism,” she tells The Drum. “For the last 50 years we have had a true commitment to do good for people and the planet and for the next 50 we want to work harder to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. However, with the urgency of today’s rallying cry to work together to affect real change ... this was a timely moment for our campaign to uplift and unite our communities to create positive change.”

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