Since the beginning of June, The Soap Co. adverts have been on 200 London Black cabs through pro-bono advertising provided by Verifone Media. The Soap Co. team caught up with David Sore, Head of Marketing UK to discuss. David joined Verifone Media in January 2016 and has been in the Out of Home advertising industry for the majority of his career.
How did you first hear about the Soap Co.? What drew you to support The Soap Co.?
I worked for CLARITY for three years as Marketing Manager. Within that time I was exposed to a lot of other charitable causes and CSR policies. It became clear to me the more I saw that CLARITY/The Soap Co. had got things very right when it comes to charity giving. They are not asking for ‘donations’, but rather to buy products you need anyway and through doing so, support the employment and training of blind, disabled and disadvantaged people. The result of your ‘donation’ is very tangible, which is ideal for everyone involved. I believe there is always more that large companies can do when it comes to CSR and that supporting Social Enterprises such as CLARITY /The Soap Co. is definitely a way to integrate a hugely supportive charity element within an existing supply chain.
How have the Soap Co. adverts been received – by the taxi drivers, general public, your staff?
I was personally very impressed with the simple branding that The Soap Co. and Paul Belford have created (and won a prestigious D&AD award for). I thought the brand and the advert itself lends itself well to our DigitalTops product due to the clean (pun intended) design. My colleagues agreed that it was one of the best examples we’ve seen of advertising for our format; an eye catching advert without providing unnecessary information. Many commented that they’d seen it when out and about – although we are a biased team of taxi advertising spotters! I had the opportunity to explain The Soap Co. concept to a few taxi drivers whose cabs carried the advert and they even said they would pass on ‘The Knowledge’ of such a great organisation.
How does Verifone view corporate social responsibility? We’d be interested in hearing more about the ways in which you have supported charities/SocEnts more broadly?
Verifone is a large multinational payment systems company which often supports local charities with internal initiatives. Perhaps the best global CSR initiative Verifone has introduced is Pennies. For any company using Verifone payment terminals to take card payments, a simple opt-in function allows customers to donate to the company’s nominated registered charity whilst paying. Cancer Research UK is one such charity to benefit. It was introduced as the beneficiary of Pennies in Zizzi restaurants and £100,000 was raised in the first 8 months. Each donation is just 25p. The ease of use has ensured a steady stream of donations with an average of £3,500 being raised every week across the chain’s 136 restaurants with no impact on waiting staff's tips. I personally see Pennies as a great example of Verifone’s CSR; we are using systems intrinsic to our product to extend our potential charitable reach across multiple companies.
With regards to Verifone Media, the Out of Home advertising subdivision, we have chosen to support a number of charitable causes in different ways. With The Soap Co. we wanted to offer the ability to raise awareness of the brand across London, as we are also about to do with the Out of Home industry partner charity, Missing People, and we’re also rallying a team to participate in their Miles for Children run in September. We are also keen supporters of NABS, the National Advertising Benevolent Society.
This week has been interesting. For those who don’t know, due to a similarity in names with a company called Soap & Co. which has been investigated by BBC Newsnight, many people mistook our brand for theirs.
We have been made aware of a BBC investigation into a company called SOAP & CO. Our company THE SOAP CO. has absolutely no connection to SOAP & CO. We are a completely separate company. This is us: https://thesoapco.org.