During the month of March, Nissan Lebanon launched a campaign entitled “Suggest an Arrest” aimed at raising awareness against drunk driving. In this post, I will be reviewing Nissan’s campaign from a CSR perpective, highlighting the pros and cons of their initiative. I’ll start off by defining what the objective of corporate social responsibility is and then I’ll identify the key elements that make up a great CSR initiative, this way, we can measure the success of Nissan’s “Suggest an Arrest” campaign.
But before I do so, let me run you through Nissan’s “Suggest an Arrest” campaign designed and executed by MEMAC Ogilvy, just in case you missed it:
Now that you know more about the campaign, let get’s back to our post. According to investopedia.com, CSR is a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare. Corporate social responsibility can involve incurring short-term costs that do not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company, but instead promote positive social and environmental change.
So, how does Nissan’s “Suggest An Arrest” campaign measure up?
Strategic Fit. The best CSR campaigns are intuitive to the companies or groups who underwrite them. In this case, Nissan trying to promote safe driving makes perfect sense. (Score: 10)
Make it horizontal. Any corporate social responsibility campaign will be longer lived and more powerful if it transcends corporate communications. In my opinion, Nissan erred when it diverted away from their CSR objective (promoting safe driving), when it tried to up-sell their cars in the process. (Score: 0)
Sustainable. A CSR initiative should be a long term commitment and not a short-lived campaign. Nissan’s launch of the “Suggest an Arrest” campaign was an excellent kick-starter, but they stopped there! If Nissan wants to be perceived as a socially responsible corporation that is truly interested in the safety of the citizens, they should make this campaign part of their strategy. One way is to develop a mobile application that allows real time interaction. Users can suggest an arrest in real time. Nissan can lease a couple of their cars to one or two cab operators that will in turn be connected to the mobile app interface. The cab fair could be covered by the friend who suggested the arrest. (Score: 5)
Engagement. It is not enough to give back to the community; for a CSR initiative to standout, the company should create a virtuous circle whereby the aim becomes the game. The “Suggest an Arrest” campaign successfully engaged the community and made them ambassadors of the cause, in this case, “safe driving”. (Score: 10)
So, overall, I think Nissan did OK in the launch of their CSR initiative scoring a 25 points out of 40. The remaining points can be easily attainable. All that Nissan needs to do is:
- … lay off on the heavy branding. In a CSR initiative, branding is inferred and hence should be very subtle.
- … be in it for the long haul. As mentioned earlier, a CSR initiative is not the flavor-of-the-month campaign, it’s a long-term strategy. It typically takes years for a social commitment to fully penetrate key constituencies and become linked with your brand. Let it happen naturally and organically with some help from PR.
What do you think?
- What are some suggestions you might have for Nissan to make it better?
- Have you come across some great CSR initiatives? What do you think makes them standout?