Brand activism: the trend that exploded in 2020


We can say it: 2020 was the year in which brand activism emerged decisively. Because?
Of course, this is not a novelty in the world of marketing, but the conditions in which we have experienced since last year, including a pandemic , have prompted several brands to give their contribution. This, taking advantage of the role they are recognized in society .

But let’s take a step back: what is brand activism?

One of the first books to deal with the subject, “Brand Activism. From purpose to action“(2018), by Philip Kotler and Christian Sarkar, identifies with this expression” the clear desire on the part of the company to assume social responsibility and to participate in the achievement of the common good “. Therefore, the commitment and involvement that companies, through communication campaigns or ad hoc initiatives, show towards one or more social, political or economic causes.

This is how these realities enter into conversation with very different subjects, from institutions to activists, aware of the impact they could have on public opinion. Practicing brand activism reverses the perspective with which one communicates, which from marketing-driven becomes society-driven , no longer limited to just economic profit.

The best examples of brand activism of 2020

But let’s get back to us. In the beginning, we said that brand activism was the trend that exploded in 2020. Not the only one, but certainly one of the most relevant. On the one hand, the conditions deriving from the pandemic, which we are still dragging ourselves into the new year, on the other hand the numerous events on other fronts, which have occurred over the months, have led many companies to “have their say”, in an attempt to contribute to dissemination of good practices. Let’s see together some examples in digital marketing.

Taffo Funeral Service

Famous for its irreverent , cynical and direct communication, the Taffo funeral home and funeral home did not stand aside during the lockdown period. And in no uncertain terms, it gave a stronger flavor to the classic ” stay at home “. Here, one of the posts published in that period.

brand activism, Taffo, lockdown, pandemic, social, 2020

Another area, the same commitment. Durex also took a stand during the quarantine. Always maintaining a coherence at the level of tone of voice, he used different nuances, a little lighter at times, a little more decisive at others, to convey a message of responsibility .

brand activism, Durex, pandemic, lockdown, social, 2020

Let’s change the social cause. Patagonia, a major clothing brand, has fought against waste and consumerism . In fact, he invited his customers to send their unused garments to the company by post for other people to wear. In return, the brand has distributed credits that can be spent on its e-commerce.


Let’s stay on the subject of waste, this time food. Loop is a company that has decided to create reusable packaging , drawing inspiration a little from the tradition of the “milk delivery man”. The customer uses the product and, once finished, calls Loop, which collects the package and prepares it for reuse. Among the brands that have joined it, there are Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

activism, loop, packaging, reuse, waste

The company, from Bolzano, specialized in alpine clothing and equipment products, has been dealing with environmental sustainability for some time now. To do this, it created an internal working group, called Corporate Social Responsibility. In particular, Oberalp has reduced the use of perfluorocarbons , not using them in 65% of production. In addition, it has implemented the policy of reuse, transforming waste materials into design objects, in collaboration with the University of Bologna.

activism, oberalp, environmental sustainability, consumption

The sports brand, on the other hand, has played with its own slogan to take sides against the differences due to racism , so as not to pretend that this scourge is non-existent. In particular, he changed his “Just Do It” to “For Once, Don’t Do It”: for once, don’t do it. Don’t ignore the problem . Simple, empathetic and effective.

brand activism, nike, racism, problems, marginalization, 2020


Not just Nike. UberEats has also been committed to the fight against racism by offering a discount to customers for passengers traveling to businesses run by people of color. An original way to take a stand, in a historical period in which delivery is one of the most used services.

brand activism, ubereats, delivery, marginalization, racism

These are some examples of brand activism that emerged most strongly during 2020. 2021 has only just begun, but we are already curious to see how brands will take a position, based on future events, and whether social engagement will reconfirm as a trend in digital marketing.

We at Sniper are also committed to social issues : thanks to our foundation , we donate part of the proceeds to WWF and Save the Children . Find out more about the Sniper Foundation !

And if you haven’t done so yet, visit our blog for other curiosities and follow us on our social networks, Facebook , Instagram and LinkedIn .

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