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Sony Pictures Television’s cross-cultural CSR campaign earns a Bulldog Silver

With the launch of its global Picture This campaign, which supports efforts around the world to protect and preserve the environment, Sony Pictures Television’s (SPT) networks aimed to use its resources—from on-air campaigns to community events—to bring attention to issues affecting their regions and collectively make a global impact. With 45 participating networks in 30 languages, reaching people in 177 countries, the brand established its objective of engaging the networks’ viewers in these efforts and together make a difference.

“While we have a global footprint, the interests and priorities of each individual market can vary significantly,” says Paula Askanas, SPT executive vice president, communications. “So creating a program that made sense on a global level but was actually initiated locally, from the bottom up rather than the top down, was very important to the campaign’s success.”

SPT’s networks leveraged their strengths as storytellers with myriad platforms to spread the “Picture This” message to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world. Throughout the campaign, the brand discovered its greatest resource—its own dedicated staffers. “One of the greatest findings in doing this project was that people throughout the company were so enthusiastic about participating in ‘Picture This,’” Maurizio Vitale, SPT senior vice president, marketing worldwide networks, adds. “They were more than willing to give their time and to contribute. That addressed one of our initial concerns in launching this campaign.”

Picture This Festival 2016

Picture This Festival 2016

Read on to find out how SPT strategized and executed this global effort—which earned the brand a Silver Award in the “Best Use of Social/Digital for Cause/Advocacy/Corporate Social Responsibility” category in Bulldog Reporter’s 2016 Digital/Social Awards.

The Strategy: SPT’s networks developed and produced a variety of creative content—from PSAs and interstitials to short profiles and music videos—to engage viewers around the important environmental issues impacting their regions and spreading the message via their on-air channels, digital platforms, as well as a social media. The networks also leveraged their broad pool of talent to help amplify the message, and also worked with local government agencies, NGOs and universities to bring added awareness and take the campaign into the community with a variety of fun and informative events, workshops and contests.

The campaign launched simultaneously around the globe on September 28, 2015—along with the official website, a global PSA and locally-produced spots—garnering hundreds of news stories. Since then, SPT’s networks have been engaging and activating their audiences with smart storytelling, entertaining events and contests, plus a new dynamic free app that empowers users to create and share their own images in support of the campaign.

“An important piece of the program was developing a way in which consumers could interact with the program on a day to day basis,” offers Askanas. “We were lucky enough to pair with an award winning digital application developer who wanted to join us and helped by creating a proprietary mobile app that incorporated both our imagery and one of our core strengths as a company—storytelling.”

A true global effort: Across Southeast Asia, SPT’s networks leveraged the season one winners of AXN Asia’s “Asia’s Got Talent” to create an on-air spot about the importance of reducing the use of plastic bags. In Italy, the team launched a contest showcasing how viewers are bringing new life to single-use household items. In Brazil, they launched a new contest for students to create short videos around the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. And in Poland, SPT launched a new program for school children about how to incorporate more eco-friendly habits into their daily routines.

“Each portion of Picture This had a promotional campaign surrounding it so each activity included a targeted media approach,” Vitale related. “As we had various events and components of the campaign launching all year long, each one grew upon the other.”

Many networks teamed with local government agencies, NGOs and universities to bring attention to issues impacting their regions:

  • In the U.S., SPT’s networks celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Parks System by organizing an event at a Southern California park to help restore hiking trails and preserve the surrounding wilderness.
  • In South Africa, they worked with the Rhino Action Group Effort by sponsoring a television series and introducing a smartphone app which allows Gautrain commuters to take pictures of themselves standing alongside virtual rhinos to bring awareness to the dwindling rhino population on the continent.
  • In Europe, the networks supported Deutsche Umwelthilfe in Germany to educate viewers on the benefits of using sustainable products; Greenpeace in Russia to highlight the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling; Ecovidrio in Spain to educate viewers on the effects of climate change, and the We Plant Good Deeds initiative in Romania to support national reforestation.
  • In Latin America, they worked closely with Plantarse in Argentina, the Environmental Ministry in Mexico and the Bogota Botanical Garden in Colombia to offer workshops dedicated to creating urban gardens in parks and public spaces.
  • And in Asia, SPT’s networks in Japan are supporting the government’s Team Minus 6 Percent campaign to help achieve the country’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Picture This also utilized SPT’s broad pool of talent, including Ken Jeong (“Dr. Ken”), Megan Boone (“The Blacklist”), Kate Bosworth (“The Art of More”) and Christian Cooke (“The Art of More”), to amplify its message across social media.

The Results: Since the start of the campaign, the Picture This PSA, plus several locally produced spots and featurettes, have reached more than 45 million unique viewers globally across SPT’s linear channels and digital platforms like Crackle. In addition, the campaign has generated more than 540,000 Twitter impressions around the globe and nearly two million on Facebook. The social conversation is particular strong in key markets like Mexico, where Picture This has amassed 360,000 Twitter impressions; Japan, where it has garnered 137,000 Facebook impressions; and Italy, where Picture This vignettes have generated 80,000 Facebook views.

Secrets of Success: The SPT team offers the following insights to help you achieve success with your next cause-related campaign—showcasing why the brand won a Silver in Bulldog’s 2016 Digital/Social Awards:

  • Do your research internally and choose a program that will resonate across the organization
  • Ensure that your program fits with the brand of your organization
  • Engage with the campaign in multiple ways on multiple platforms to reach the widest audience
  • Use the strengths that already exist within your organization to help grow the campaign
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