North Thinking
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North Thinking


A monthly look at the marketing and advertising industry from NORTH’s point of view.

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Three Of My Favorite Sustainable Brands
Nicole Shockley, Media Director

Image Source: KNWA

I am not an influencer. This is not paid content (chuckles to self). I could easily write about all the brands that were performative on Earth Day. But, the world is a negative place and I would rather share some of my favorite sustainable brands that are actually making a positive impact on climate change.

  • Grove Collaborative: The first plastic neutral retailer in the world. Grove is a certified B-Corp and vows to be plastic-free by 2025. Grove is a membership service, and they curate sustainable household items (dish soap, pet treats, you name it) to be delivered to your home each month. How does it work? The annual membership fee is roughly $20, and then you pay for your items each month. Grove also has products available at Target!
  • Farm Rio: A sustainable fashion company. I realize not everyone likes to dress in bright and bold colors like me, but for every purchase Farm Rio plants a tree — and they are carbon neutral.
  • Keep your Cadence: Or simply, Cadence. A woman-founded and led company that makes ingenious travel size capsules. I never thought about all the single-use plastic in the travel/cosmetic industry, most of which pollutes our oceans. If you’re a frequent traveler, or just headed to the beach for a day — you need these ASAP. They’re small, TSA friendly, and made from recycled materials. Not to mention they come in fun colors, are leak-proof and have a magnetic lid for easy use.

Pushing Back on Plastic
Madelyn Brennecke, Sr. Performance Marketing Manager

California is investigating if fossil fuel companies have broken the law by misleading consumers by perpetuating myths about plastic and recycling. With Earth Day this month and constant concerns about climate change, this investigation is timely and looks to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for downplaying the harm their products inflict on the planet. While many consumers have been led to believe that their single-use plastics (like water bottles) will be recycled, the reality is that less than 10% of plastic is recycled. Even products “made from recycled plastic” are in truth perpetuating the plastic crisis. A product made with 20% recycled plastic, is usually reinforced with virgin plastic, as recycled plastic degrades in the recycling process. As such, an increase in products “made from recycled plastic” is increasing the amount of virgin plastic produced as well. The truth is that recycling can not solve the plastics crisis.

Plastic’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last couple decades. Since 1950, the world produces 200x more plastic today than it did in the 50’s. Consumers these days need to make a conscious effort to choose products with less or no plastic, shop locally and in bulk, eat less take-out etc. In general, we need to reuse more, and throw away less. Below are a couple of my favorite swaps to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Hydro Flask (reusable bottles, food jars and more)

Conscia (shampoo and conditioner bars)

Veijbag (​​reusable cotton product bags)

Stasher (reusable silicone bags)

Earth Day Advertising: All Talk and No Action
Stephen Lawrence, Media Planner

Over the past few years, it comes as no surprise that many individuals have become wary of claims from brands about ways that they are supporting the fight against climate change. We hear all the time about how brands are greenwashing their advertisements to make it seem that they are making a real change when it comes to the environment, while ultimately hiding the actual truth behind their commitments.

However, this Earth Day, there’s more discussion about whether or not users are tired of the “environmental, Earth Day, end climate change” messaging that we’re so used to seeing. Unfortunately for many brands, many users are truly tired of the false claims. For example, consumers are no longer trusting the claims they are seeing in ads, and want to see real action on the brand side. In an article on Campaign, Suzy Goulding, director at MullenLowe Sustainability, says “awareness doesn’t really become ‘stale’ but it needs to be backed up by real commitment and action: ‘To build trust and credibility today, brands must walk the talk — anything less appears hollow and inauthentic.’” As the fight to end climate change continues, it’s important for brands and advertisers to stay committed to their goals and not let the promise of a good Earth Day push deter them from making real, actionable change.

Image Source: Social Media Today

Keyword Targeting on TikTok
Nicole Shockley, Media Director

TikTok’s popularity continues to rise, and the tech company is looking for new, innovative advertising offerings within the platform. Currently, advertisers can tap into in-feed video placements and that’s about it — but that’s changing soon! TikTok is currently beta testing delivering ads based on keyword searches. As seen in the image above, there’s a “Sponsored” label above the organic search results. The timeline for this new offering is unknown, but once it’s fully rolled out it will be a game changer for advertisers on the platform. Not only will brands be able to build a database of popular keyword searches, they’ll be able to use top-performing keywords such as “sustainability” to help drive what kind of content they need to produce for the platform.

Source: SocialMediaToday

Snapchat’s New Releases from the Partner Summit
Madelyn Brennecke, Sr. Performance Marketing Manager

At its annual Partner Summit, Snapchat unveiled a range of new tools and features. The most buzzworthy is a pocket-sized drone called Pixy. Pixy retails for about $230, and will fly a few feet around and above you, following you as you move. It then uploads the video to your Snap Memories, which allows you to pick and choose what you download or post to the app. This ad shows Pixy’s capabilities and is clearly targeted to a Gen Z audience.

Snap also showcased the Lens Web Builder as it looks to evolve its commerce capabilities. With over 250 million users engaging with its AR shopping Lenses, this could be a huge opportunity, especially for clothing and beauty brands. These new AR shopping templates allow brands to transform their existing product photography into AR-ready assets for try-on Lens experiences. In these experiences, users take a selfie, and then are able to try on outfits digitally.

Netflix and Ad-Supported Plans
Stephen Lawrence, Media Planner

We all know Netflix as the first streaming service to make it big. With its original hit shows and stronghold on the reruns of the past 20 or so years, Netflix has always been a staple of the streaming service game. Additionally, Netflix has always been able to set themselves apart from others with one major feature — the platform is ad-free. However, this month, the co-CEO Reed Hastings announced that Netflix is now open to offering a lower-priced, tiered subscription with ads. Alongside discussions around loss of profit, this move is not super surprising, but with other big names (see Disney+) discussing an ad-supported opportunity, it is an interesting shift for advertisers — with the opportunity truly becoming more open when ad placements become available.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Is Video Game Advertising the Next Big Thing?
Stephen Lawrence, Media Planner

When thinking of video games, the first thing you typically think of isn’t necessarily advertisements (unless you’re used to playing a free video game app, such as Candy Crush). However, Nielsen states “more than 80% of U.S. gamers are over 18 years old, and 55% are over the age of 35” — a prime demographic for many advertisers. However, with the uncertainty of video game advertising and the typically violent nature of some games, it comes as no surprise that many advertisers stay clear of the opportunity. Looking forward, that might not always be the case, as “estimates in-game mobile advertising revenues increased 34% to $5.49 billion in 2021”, according to the Wall Street Journal. As advertisers continue to look for the next big thing, looking towards video games might be it.



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North is an independent advertising agency in beautiful Portland, Oregon that creates fans for brands and good companies who give a little more than they take.