CHIEF FUTURE OFFICER

TitleCHIEF FUTURE OFFICER
BrandEUGLENA CO.,LTD.
Product / ServiceEUGLENA CO.,LTD.
CategoryG07. Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility
EntrantDENTSU INC. Tokyo, JAPAN
Idea Creation DENTSU INC. Tokyo, JAPAN
PR INITIAL Tokyo, JAPAN
Production ENGINE FILM Tokyo, JAPAN
Production 2 J.C. SPARK Tokyo, JAPAN

Credits

Name Company Position
Takato Akiyama DENTSU INC. Creative Director
Yuto Ogawa DENTSU INC. Planner / Copy Writer
Kenta Tanaka DENTSU INC. Planner
Munehiro Hagiwara DENTSU INC. Planner / Copy Writer
Jyunta Yoshikawa DENTSU INC. Planner
Ryuto Furukubo DENTSU INC. Art Director
Hiromi Sugawara J.C.SPARK INC. Designer
Mayu Kawachi J.C.SPARK INC. Designer
Taishi Iwaki OffSIDE INC. PR Planner
Yu Horii INITIAL INC. PR Planner
Takuma Sone INITIAL INC. PR Planner
Yuto Fujinami DENTSU INC. Account Executive
Kengo Nogami DENTSU INC. Account Executive
Aiko Kurikawa DENTSU CREATIVE FORCE INC. Creative Producer
Taiki Shibahara ENGINE FILM INC. Producer
Yurika Ozawa ENGINE FILM INC. Production Manager
Akari Usui ENGINE FILM INC. Production Manager
Fuga Akizawa ENGINE FILM INC. Production Manager
Makoto Kubota Freelance Director
Tomohiko Takeno Freelance Videographer

Why is this work relevant for PR?

By hiring a team of executives aged 18 or younger and having them attend executive meetings and government-level discussions, Euglena created an environment that facilitated the adoption of sustainability ideas that reflected the thoughts and concerns of those who stand to be affected the most by climate change--our youth. Meanwhile, the company's vice president actively promoted Euglena's reasoning for hiring these young executives, resulting in great media exposure for and social media interest in the initiative. This allowed Euglena's philosophy on sustainability and corporate responsibility to be spread far and wide, triggering positive discussions on the topics throughout Japan.

Background

Euglena's main business is using microalgae to help achieve a sustainable society. The company specializes in products such as biofuel and healthcare products that require regular use that are not suited for short-term needs. They are investments--items designed to help ensure the health of one's family or the conservation of Earth's nature 10 years down the line. Because these are lines of business that are difficult to expand and do not create instant value, it was important for Euglena to generate enthusiasm for their corporate purpose: to achieve a sustainable society. This was why we decided to become the first company traded on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange to hire a team of executives aged 18 or younger--the very people who will be affected the most by climate change. We hoped this unprecedented initiative would create an impact and help spread our philosophy throughout society.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We put out a full-page ad in a major newspaper for "a CFO aged 18 or younger." However, we redefined the common acronym for "Chief Financial Officer" to mean "Chief Future Officer," enhancing the ad's impact. This ad allowed people all over Japan to learn about the project and our thinking behind it. We also strategically placed the ad during summer vacation when our target audience wouldn't be busy attending school. As a result, despite requiring a 3-page essay from each candidate, we received submissions from over 500 children. Following interviews, we selected our first CFO and eight summit members to join her team.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

Our key goal was to turn the idea of companies as places for adults on its head, and to promote a new status quo, one where children have a role in how a business is run to give them a say in their own future. The intent was not to point a finger at adults and promote an adults-versus-children mentality; it was to encourage both sides to talk to each other and together work to achieve a better future. By promoting this framework, we hoped to garner support for Euglena's philosophies and corporate stance not just from the children who are our future, but also from today's adults.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

We published the newspaper ad on Aug. 9, 2019. To properly convey the details that we could not fit on the ad, we organized press conferences the same day with children, teachers, and members of the press across Japan. The project enjoyed widespread media exposure, helping us receive submissions from over 500 children. In October, we selected the company's first CFO and eight summit members to join her team. Over the following year, the team remained constantly active, attending meetings with other company executives, shareholders, and even government ministers. Following discussions led by the CFO, Euglena announced in June 2020 that the company had committed itself to two new actions related to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. In August 2020, Euglena opened submissions for the next CFO, who has chosen in October.

List the results (30% of vote)

The CFO ad was covered by over 100 media outlets, including in a featured segment on a major news program. The project remained on the list of trending topics on Yahoo! News for 10 hours. After we chose our CFO, the media continued covering her activities in the company, providing Euglena with an entire year of continuous earned media. A survey conducted online revealed that 12.86 million people had learned about Euglena through this project and wanted to support the company's activities. Meanwhile, the CFO ad itself led to 512 submissions from candidates aged 18 or younger. Following discussions initiated by the CFO, Euglena announced two concrete actions: to abolish the use of plastic bottles in their products, and to offer some products packaged without plastic straws to give customers a more environmentally friendly option. This decision is expected to help Euglena cut the volume of petroleum-based plastic used in their products by 50% in 2021. Consumers were overwhelmingly positive about these decisions.

Please tell us how the brand purpose inspired the work

Euglena's brand purpose is "Sustainability First." The idea is that the company's growth should lead to a reduction in social and environmental problems. The company focuses not on short-term projects, but on businesses that can help ensure our planet has a future. During one company discussion on sustainability, we concluded that corporate management was one of the least sustainable things in the world. It felt wrong for children who would have to shoulder the burden of our choices to not have a say in the companies that decide their future. This was what led us to decide to incorporate a framework that would allow younger generations to have a say in our management.

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