Real Purpose or Woke Washing?

Recent brand campaigns focus on a narrative that “we’re all in this together” – but how long will we remember that for?

Going into Covid-19, public confidence in brands was at a low – with only 1 in 3 consumers saying they trusted brands that they buy or would consider buying. People were increasingly questioning brand messaging and challenging disparities between actions and words – accusations of green washing, woke washing, purpose washing were seeding on social media and breaking out into the mainstream.

But the 2020 Edelman Trust Special Report suggests the pendulum has now swung the other way – with a massive 62% of consumers saying that they didn’t think their country would make it through the crisis without brands playing a critical role in the fight against the Coronavirus. Has Covid-19 helped provide brands and marketing with a new crucible moment? 

What can we learn from organisations and companies that both got it right and got it wrong this year? How will we define marketing success in the 2020s?


UN Global Goals   (9) Industry, innovation and infrastructure   (12) Responsible consumption and production   (13) Climate action