1. How does your city encourage and drive sustainability initiatives in terms of lifestyle? Are these practices carried forward into your agency?
In Barcelona, two opposite forces work together as central pillars of creativity and sustainability: tradition and innovation. On the one hand, Barcelona is still a “big village” where time seems to pass slowly, elderlies can still spend time together on a bench, children play football in the streets, and your neighbors say hello in the morning. This culture helped preserve many sustainable habits of the past: collaboration, more collective consciousness, and less consumeristic behaviors.
On the other hand, Barcelona is also the city in Europe with the highest number of start-ups; it has entrepreneurship programs and great universities that attract people worldwide. So, innovation blooms, preserving the positive elements of the past. And it happens in almost all aspects of life: from food to mobility. Many city districts are closed to cars during the weekend to host local ecological food markets and let people walk or cycle around the many bike-lane that have been built in the last years. Public transport is quite efficient, and you can also find a lot of different mobility services such as electric-moto or bike-sharing, but the local government is changing the city to make it a walking-friendly city. Life at the agency reflects all these changes, even if we don’t have any particular sustainability policy.
2. How does living in a sustainability-supportive environment help inform your work?
Culture and business are becoming more focused on environmental and social sustainability, and the creative industry plays a vital role in this change. We are asked to provide innovative solutions and make them more accessible and attractive for most of the population. In this sense, our work is becoming more complex and more meaningful than ever. Advertisers want to feel part of the solution and not the problem and create groups such as Publicitarios Implicados (Involved advertisers) to work pro-bono for social campaigns.
3. Which brands have been helping consumers to make eco-conscious decisions in your country and what kind of messaging do they use in their campaigns?
Sustainability spread through almost all aspects of culture and life, so brands in every field are involved in this revolution, adopting more sustainable processes, preferring local providers, or creating new habits. Start-ups are also playing a significant role in this sense, not just taking advantage of new behaviors but boosting them. Barcelona is the home city of many new companies leading environmental change and expanding.
Wallapop, for instance, is a second-hand marketplace, and they achieved radically changing local culture, making second-hand purchases something normal among people motivated by a conscious choice and not a price-focused one. Heura is a local company in the market of vegetable-based meat alternatives. In a traditionally meat-lover country, they are pushing people to consider their diet's environmental effect and embrace a vegetarian or vegan revolution.
4. How do your city’s arts and culture inspire creativity and assist in brand communications?
A new form of democratic activism pervades the culture, and creatives feel responsible for reaching the masses and not just the elites. Creatives want to break boundaries between fields, disciplines, and media to convey powerful messages and promote social change.Brands are active parts of the culture. Sponsorship, participation in cultural events, and co-creation with artists are more and more an essential part of the marketing mix and media spending. Media platforms such as Freeda work with local artists to create branded content related to gender equality issues. Switchers and gamers make new formats with brands to celebrate the new year, reaching more people than traditional ones. Rosalia reinvents the “Espardeñas,” classical Spanish shoes, for Nike.
What is marketing? What is art? What is culture? In the era of collaboration, arts, culture, and creative industry are probably more connected than ever, so connected that you can’t say what is what.
5. Do you think that the marketing industry can and should be a force for good, doing more to advance sustainability locally and globally?
Companies must assume responsibility in this complicated era, but this is not about writing a purpose in a ppt presentation or supporting a cause in an advertising campaign. It’s more about following the rules, sharing new models, and providing innovative solutions to help people to adopt more sustainable behaviors. It’s much more about doing than just telling. But it is not precisely what marketing is supposed to do?