We sat down with Gordon Young, the co-founder of The Drum, Europe’s largest website (and, in Gordon’s humble opinion, its best magazine), and talked to him about Do It Day. Do It Day is to be a global (well the UK and USA at least) movement in which marketers come together to solve some of the biggest issues facing businesses, communities and the world at large. Read on for the six things we learned from Gordon about what there is to learn in getting marketers to tackle social issues, and how to accomplish big projects.
Ad Council: Tell me about the goals behind Do It Day and how it came to be.
Gordon Young: The Drum believes Marketing Can Change the World. The idea was to prove that premise over the course of a single day! We persuaded some major brands to ‘do’ something. We got suppliers like media owners to give them the resource to make a difference. And we persuaded agencies to suggest what might be done.
AC: What were the challenges focused on this year?
GY: We planted a forest in a day–10,000 trees over 25 acres–helped kids understand the value of money, built an interface to bring companies with resource to offer together with causes that needed help, tackled the refugee crisis, helped musicians in Africa and persuaded kids in the US to appreciate the great outdoors. The list goes on! Our partners included Mashable, the UN, Unilever, The Ad Council, Visa and ClearChannel (who gave us access to their signs in Times Square). That list goes on too. Thanks to them all.
AC: What did you learn? Did anything surprise you?
GY: Marketers are motivated to tackle big social issues. And skills that have have been honed selling consumer goods can be harnessed to do real good. I really do believe those with marketing skills will play a fundamental role in helping to resolve some of the huge challenges the world faces.
AC: What was accomplished?
GY: A new indigenous English forest that will outlive us all is perhaps the most tangible outcome. But over 600 people were directly involved in doing projects as part of Do It Day. It generated over 30 million social media impressions throughout the day. Many put aside commercial objectives and commercial rivalries to get something good done. I hope we have planted an acorn that will grow into a mighty movement.
AC: What’s next for Do It Day?
GY: This year our events covered New York and London. Next year we will be in Singapore too. Having a presence in every time zone will extend the day–and should help us get more done! And right now we are actively looking for challenges–so if you have ideas send them in.
AC: What else is The Drum doing in the social good space?
GY: Diversity is a major focus. For example the lack of women in digital means a sector that is fundamental to the success of the economy is only accessing half the talent base. But as well as gender equality we are also looking at age. Look out for an issue of The Drum magazine that will be be produced entirely by those over the age of 65.
Gordon Young is co-founder of The Drum. Gordon and his team have picked up numerous accolades over the course of the last few years including PPA Editor of the Year, Editorial Team of the Year and Digital Brand of the Year. Gordon recently helped launch The Drum’s NYC office and is in the process of establishing a base in Singapore as it seeks to extend its global reach. Gordon lives in London with his wife Diane (who is also The Drum’s managing director) and his three kids. Away from publishing his passion is sailing and he recently ticked a major item off the bucket list when he sailed the Atlantic. You can find him on Twitter @thedrumchief.