I See The Sizzle, But Where’s The Steak?: The ‘Meat’ Behind This Summer’s CSR Videos

by Joel Spielberger

876041_352757This past summer, a lot of companies have been drawing attention to themselves through socially minded viral video campaigns. These videos bring up a lot of important issues like youth self-esteem, healthy environments and the importance of nature. But, after watching these videos, I was left wondering, is there any real social impact behind these video sensations?

Here are a few sizzling videos from summer 2015 and a look behind the curtain at what the companies are doing to support the causes they are raising awareness for:


1. Nature Valley- 3 Generations #RediscoverNature


Nature Valley youtube

The granola bar company, Nature Valley, put out this heart wrenching video about three generations of people sharing what they did/do for fun growing up. When viewed together, the stories contrast a modern generation of kids that have become overly attached to electronics and social media with their elders, who instead spent their youth playing outdoors and experiencing the wonders of nature.

Beyond illustrating this trend in culture through video, Nature Valley provides a host of resources for consumers to support rediscovering nature (view their manifesto here) and protecting our national parks.  Their website includes:

A local park finding app

-A list of ten activities you can do to have fun with your kids outside

A virtual exploration of hiking trails in national parks

-A social sharing campaign to #GetOutThere

A blog full of tips, tricks, and inspiration to spend time outside

Additionally, Nature Valley has partnered with the National Parks Conservation Association in order to help restore different parks across the United States, and local Boys and Girls Clubs to inspire kids’ love of nature through surprise field trips in the outdoors.


2. DOVE- Choose Beautiful

#choosebeautiful youtube

This year, Dove came out with a follow up to their “Real Beauty” campaign by expanding on their message with “Choose Beautiful.” The video, which shows women from all over the world deciding on whether they would walk through the “Average” or “Beautiful” door, caused a worldwide conversation on female self-perception and garnered over 6.8 million views.

Behind this media campaign is a substantive signature cause program out CSR strategy, the Dove Self-Esteem Project, based on Dove’s overarching vision “of a world where beauty is a source of confidence, and not anxiety.” From engaging consumers through volunteerism to supporting self-esteem research as well as providing activity guides for teachers and youth leaders on how to instill self-esteem in young girls, Dove has created a truly integrated multi-channel engagement strategy. To help further their reach and impact, Dove has partnered with various NGO’s like the Girl Scouts, Girls Inc., the Boys & Girls Club and more.


3. AT&T- It Can Wait

It can wait youtube

For the 5th anniversary of AT&T’s #ItCanWait campaign, they produced a video that shows two cars colliding after a woman looks at her cell phone. It is a frightening and sobering look at the dangers of cell phone usage and driving. But what is AT&T doing to help reduce phone related accidents besides these dramatic, heart-stopping videos?

Well, at the end of the ad there is a website you can visit, www.itcanwait.com.  Here, you can take the #ItCanWait pledge (already taken by over 7 million people), download an app that silences all message alerts and autoreplies to texts letting contacts know you’re driving. You can also try driving in a virtual reality distracted driving experiences. The It Can Wait Toolkit also has fast facts on cell phone related car accidents and tips on how to avoid them.

Through this multi-year commitment, AT&T has rallied support from over 1,500 organizations, including USAA, Goodyear, the FCC, National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), National Safety Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

After taking a deeper look at these exciting video campaigns, I was impressed by the “meat” or the impact-driven CSR strategies behind them. Now as you watch these powerful videos you can feel assured that these select companies are just as interested in helping create actual change as they are in creating awareness.