DuPont, which provides products and services for agriculture, building, manufacturing and other industries, has immersed itself in a green project that goes way beyond eco-friendly marketing messages.
Through a partnership with its advertising agency Ogilvy, New York, and the Discovery Channel, DuPont is providing building products and expertise to help rebuild the town of Greensburg, Kan., which was wiped out by a tornado in May 2007. The rebuilding effort is being featured in a documentary-style TV show called “Greensburg,” which is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and is running on Discovery's Planet Green cable network.
“They are rebuilding the town in a safer way and a sustainable way,” said David Bills, CMO at DuPont. “Safety and sustainability are two of our core pillars, so this is a perfect fit for our strategy and mission.”
Bills said providing green products and services is a core component of DuPont's overall strategy. “No. 1, it's the right thing to do. No. 2, our customers are demanding it. And No. 3, we are a science-based company, and we are developing new and better products leveraging our science,” he said.
As part of the partnership, DuPont has donated more than 30 different products—from energy- efficient insulation to tornado- resistant glass—valued at more than $750,000. It has also partnered with Kansas Habitat for Humanity, to help people reclaim their homes, and with the town of Greensburg, to help restore commercial properties.
Bills said that in addition to demonstrating corporate responsibility, the project provides a showcase for DuPont's sustainable products. The target audience includes architects, builders, specifiers for building products, business influencers and policymakers.
To promote the partnership, DuPont and Ogilvy developed a 30-second TV spot called “Salute” that is a tribute to the people of Greensburg and their commitment to reviving the town as a sustainable community.
“When we thought about what we really wanted to communicate, it was less about traditional advertising and more about how DuPont is actually involved in rebuilding the town,” said Seth Farbman, senior partner-managing director of Ogilvy, New York. That spot, as well as DuPont's existing “Sustainability” commercial, is running during broadcasts of “Greensburg” and across the Discovery Channel network.
“Just as important [as the TV spots] are the many assets we have through participating in the rebuild,” Farbman said. “We are able to take film [shot during the rebuilding] and create four-to-five-minute case studies.”
The case studies are being used in e-mail campaigns aimed at existing DuPont customers and prospects, on its Web site and at events.
“There is always a search for content,” Farbman said. “You always recommend multiple touch points. Once [the videos] are loaded on the Web site, you can point specifically to something terribly interesting that will engage the prospect.”
Farbman added, “One of the objectives is to get someone who is already a purchaser of Tyvek [home wrap] to also consider SentryGlas [safety glass]. There are some real upsell and cross-sell opportunities.”
DuPont was also able to leverage its existing partnership with NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon to promote the Greensburg project.
Gordon, who supports the environmental movement, attended the June groundbreaking ceremony in Greensburg and has committed to help with the rebuilding.
DuPont is already receiving widespread attention for its activities in Greensburg. During its coverage of a NASCAR race, cable network TNT featured a segment on DuPont's involvement with the rebuilding. Also, the White House contacted DuPont for a full briefing to be shared with President George Bush.
DuPont is also seeing an increase in brand metrics related to its sustainability effort.
Since the partnership began, DuPont has seen a 390% increase in positive awareness of the company as a leader in sustainability and sustainable products, Bills said. M