As the old idiom goes, bad news travels fast. And, in a world where the 'corporate fail' is prime social media—and, increasingly, mainstream media—fodder, spreading the good news is becoming increasingly difficult.
So, in an effort to balance the ledger somewhat, TVNZ and BrandWorld set up a new platform called The Extra Mile—almost like the commercial equivalent of One News' Good Sorts segment—to bring more attention to some of those positive tales. And the inaugural episode was broadcast last night on TV One.
Tim Wilson, TVNZ's business development manager, who now works full-time inside the media solutions team after returning to New Zealand after a stint as TVNZ's US correspondent, says it's been conceived as a good news mini-show to be played in commercial time and aims to give businesses and organisations a chance to tell consumers about how they’re making a difference in the community, innovating, showing a commitment to sustainability or simply succeeding.
"We prefer not to think of it as a masthead," he says. "The tone is quite different. It's just a way for companies to tell stories about what they're doing in quite a dynamic way. And there's not a lot of that about."
The new format features Wallace Chapman, an interviewer and broadcaster The Listener described as "fearless, but never mean"(he'll be showcasing this fearlessness once again in a new series of Back Benches, which was recently given a lifeline by Sky and NZ on Air). And in the first episode, he discusses Cadbury's use of Fairtrade products in its Dairy Milk chocolate with Fairtrade's chief executive Steve Knapp and Cadbury's managing director Alastair de Raadt.
The palm oil and pack size debacle was one of New Zealand's biggest social media flare ups. Despite an apology and a decision to go back to the old recipe, that stench still lingers. And, not surprisingly, Cadbury's use of Fairtrade chocolate was somewhat overshadowed.
Cadbury still uses palm oil in some of its products that don't have its dairy milk sub-brand attached (it says the palm oil is sustainable, however) and it doesn't use Fairtrade chocolate for all of its products either, but, by going through the two year process to get accreditation and using it in the country's best selling bar, Dairy Milk, Cadbury is now responsible for more than 80 percent of Fairtrade chocolate sales in New Zealand and it effectively doubled sales of Fairtrade chocolate.
BrandWorld director Mike O’Sullivan says research from across the world shows if consumers are confronted with two similar brands, at similar cost, they always buy the one they believe comes from the most ethical or trusted company. And it’s up to the company to build that reputation through success stories, good leadership, environmental and sustainable initiatives and being recognised as a great place to work, he says.
“The Extra Mile is about communicating that good news. The format allows companies to talk about these things through a third party and reach a wide audience through television.”
The broadcast offering will be matched with a longer-content version that will sit on tvnz.co.nz. And while Wilson was unable to mention the names of other interested parties, he says there are some briefs out there at the moment.
This story first appeared on StopPress.