Sarah Fenaughty|Aug 29, 2019

As integrated marketers, we should always strive to produce work that furthers our clients’ goals and ultimately improves their visibility and bottom line.

But what if you had the chance to do something bigger than that? Recently, I was presented with such an opportunity.

Our client, the All Suites brands by Hilton, took on a life-changing challenge, one that made huge strides with two initiatives that are personally important to me: combating climate change and making a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

The Challenge

Five Hilton brands—Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton—took up the challenge to collect enough discarded hotel soap to be donated to Clean the World and recycled into 1 million new bars of soap.

Beginning March 2019, their goal was to accomplish this feat by Global Handwashing Day on October 15, 2019. That’s a lot of soap and even more lives changed in under a year.

The Purpose

Lack of access to proper hygiene is a huge problem around the world. In fact, hygiene-related illnesses account for a shocking one out of every four child deaths worldwide.

If that’s not motivation to try to make a difference, I don’t know what is.

The Work

To say working on the Clean the World initiative temporarily took over my professional life would be a fair statement.

Launching a meaningful challenge across five brands, only three of which are clients, took a whole new level of coordination, organization, and patience. There were conference activities to plan, messaging to create, media to secure, events to produce, a second agency with whom to collaborate, and half a dozen client contacts to manage.

As with any multi-faceted campaign, it becomes easy to get drawn into the minutiae of, “What’s been reviewed? What is pending? Who do I need to call about this?”

Then BOOM—you’re faced with a statistic like the fact that Clean the World’s efforts have contributed to a 60 percent reduction in hygiene-related diseases.

You stop.

You process what that means.

You consider the fact that you, personally, even in some small way, are now a part of this incredible life-saving process.

You start again because there’s more work to do, and it’s worth doing.


The Update

With plenty of time to go before our deadline, we realized our ambitious goal wasn’t nearly ambitious enough. After only a handful of months, the number of bars of soap created from the Challenge’s donations was already breathing down 1 million’s neck.

Here is where we came to a crossroads.

On the one hand, we could declare early victory, grabbing headlines with how quickly we managed to meet our goal. On the other hand, we could use every last remaining moment before our deadline to continue to raise awareness and push for participation by setting an even bigger goal.

At rbb’s urging, it was decided to double down and shoot for 2 million, all by the same deadline of October 15, 2019.

So the next time you stay at an Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, or Home2 Suites by Hilton, make sure to leave your leftover soap, shampoo, and conditioner behind so it can be recycled and you too can be a part of this life changing, and saving, effort.

To keep track of the progress, check out the challenge counter.


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