There’s just something about a nice shower after a long day. Washing away your worries, inhaling the comforting scent of your favorite body wash or soap … it’s as much about emotional self-care as it is about hygiene. It’s also something most of us take for granted.
But when money is tight, difficult choices must be made. Do you pay your rent? Heat your home? Feed your children? Buying soap and other hygiene essentials can understandably be lower on the list of priorities.
When financial constraints make it impossible for a person to take care of their hygiene, it’s known as hygiene poverty – and it’s more widespread than most realize. Nearly one-third of people living in the UK – and likely millions more around the world – have had to go without hygiene essentials or cut down on them due to lack of funds. Hygiene poverty can affect personal esteem and self-confidence and is often dis-empowering to those affected. It also closes off opportunities for education, training or employment.
Enter Soap & Glory, one of WBA’s global brands of indulgent beauty, body and bath products. In December 2019, the brand launched the “Better Bathtime Initiative,” which aims to bring hygiene and beauty products to those in need, and support communities in countries where the brand has a presence. Shortly after, Soap & Glory partnered with The Hygiene Bank – a grassroots, community powered charity that operates a network of hygiene banks across the UK giving those of us that need support access to the basics – pledging to donate a full-sized bottle (equivalent to 50 washes) of its beloved Clean on Me shower gel to The Hygiene Bank for every 50 Soap & Glory products sold from March 1 to June 2.
“We chose to work with The Hygiene Bank as they are UK-based, have an incredible female founder, and we think our products are the perfect fit to help them to achieve their mission,” says Richelle Richards, UK assistant brand manager for Soap & Glory. “When we launched the partnership, we were so excited about the future of our brand’s relationship with them, and we hoped that we could use our platforms to raise awareness of the charity and hygiene poverty.”
Watch as the founder of The Hygiene Bank, Lizzy Hall, explains the effects of hygiene poverty and how the partnership with Soap & Glory can help:
The partnership was off to a successful start – within the first 10 days, Soap & Glory made 3,462 donations.
And the opportunity to do more happened sooner than anyone could have expected. Right after the program launched, the coronavirus pandemic hit. While the needs of those affected by hygiene poverty hadn’t changed, the rest of the world had – and the ripple effects made Soap & Glory’s efforts even more important. Because of contagion concerns, The Hygiene Bank couldn’t accept product donations from the community, and financial donations were lapsing as well.
The Soap & Glory team wanted to help keep hygiene poverty top of mind, but with less foot traffic in stores, they needed a new way to support the cause.
The answer came from an unexpected place: purposed-powered advertising.
Working with Good-Loop – an ethical ad platform that helps brands give back to their chosen charitable causes by “rewarding” viewers for their attention to digital advertising – the Soap & Glory team created a campaign that would engage potential customers while helping to end hygiene poverty. When viewers saw a Soap & Glory ad on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook stories, they could “swipe up” to unlock a free donation to The Hygiene Bank. Once that donation was unlocked, the viewer was taken directly to Soap & Glory’s website, where they could do even more good by participating in the original promotion that donated product to the charity for every 50 items sold.
“Like all brands, now more than ever, we have a unique responsibility to be deeply thoughtful about any ads or content we might produce,” says Katie Swift, marketing director for Soap & Glory. “By partnering with Good-Loop, we were able to continue the conversation around hygiene poverty in a sensitive manner, but now also with double the charitable impact.”
That impact added up to £17,526 (approximately $22,245) for The Hygiene Bank, thanks to 369,787 viewers of the Soap & Glory ad swiping up to unlock donations. Overall, the campaign resulted in more than 19,754 donations.
And the giving didn’t end there. Looking for more ways to give back while the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, Soap & Glory donated an additional 30,000 products, including body lotion, body wash and cleansing wipes, to front-line workers, the National Health Service (NHS) and charities supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.
“I think the dual impact of our work with The Hygiene Bank and the NHS is so powerful,” says Helen Garten, global senior marketing manager, Soap & Glory. “Soap & Glory is such an enjoyable brand. So I think the fact that we're helping people with their essential needs, as well as hopefully bringing a bit of that gloriousness to someone's day … we're all very energized by it.”