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“We’re on a mission to change the world, to make a difference wherever we can.” – Pharrell Williams.


In April 2015 Woolworths formed a collaboration with award winning singer-song writer, rapper and record producer, Pharrell Williams. The socially responsible ‘Are you with us?’ campaign was launched focusing on sustainability and education.

Woolworths is a retail giant in South Africa that sells food, homeware and textiles including clothing and footwear

This campaign saw the retail giant and superstar align their shared values to strengthen education, create sustainable fashion and support sustainable food farming. This partnership was formed in order to  make a positive difference in the lives of the people, future generations as well as the planet.

Source: Woolworth’s Facebook page

The campaign consisted of four ways in which customers could get involved in and support:


This focused on raising R100 million for education. Pharrell and Woolworths encouraged customers to swipe their MyShool, MyVilliage and MyPlanet cards in order to raise funds for underprivileged schools in South Africa.


This consisted of a sustainable T-shirt competition in which design students were encouraged to submit designs for T-Shirts to be sold in Woolworths in order to highlight sustainability.


Singing groups from schools were given the opportunity to win a competition to share the stage with Pharrell at his MySchool concert tour in South Africa.


Woolworths WRewards members were given the opportunity to win a ticket to a private Pharrell Williams concert. It encouraged people to sign up for Woolworths WRewards and MySchool cards.


The target market for the ‘Are you with us?’ campaign includes open minded, younger people (20 to 35 years old) who care about the future of the planet and sustainability. They want to create a better future and make a difference in the world. They also care about the education in South Africa and want to help improve the education system by donating to schools in need. 

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Source: own


Woolworths used an excellent selection of promotional tools in the advertising of  ‘Are you with us?’ 

The biggest and most successful promotional tool that Woolworths used is celebrity marketing. Woolworths used Pharrell Williams, an international icon, to endorse the campaign and raise awareness for environmental and social issues. He is known globally for supporting sustainability. This association created a positive image for Woolworths, with Pharrell attracting awareness which resulted in Woolworth’s campaign reaching across Africa.

The campaign also made use of social media. Woolworths used platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to create widespread brand exposure and to inform customers about the campaign. Woolworth regularly posted videos of Pharrell addressing different aspects of the campaign on their Facebook page which has over 700 000 likes. Pictures and videos of the campaign were also posted on Woolworths Twitter and Instagram pages.

Source: Pharrell’s Twitter page

Woolworths also made use of traditional advertising through television advertisements. The television advertisements showed Pharrell Williams addressing the theme of the campaign and encouraging viewers to support and commit to the campaign. 

The ‘Are you with us?’ campaign does not promote a specific product or service but rather makes use of corporate advertising. Through the  campaign Woolworths has improved the image of their brand. Woolworths used cause- related advertising which promotes their affiliation in improving education and sustainability in South Africa. To further enhance their overall image, Woolworths employed green marketing by supporting the environment through partnering with Bionic Yarn to create sustainable fashion through using material from recycled plastic waste and to support sustainable farming to improve the environment for future generations.

Woolworth’s “Are you with us?’ campaign was hugely successful as it used a wide but integrated range of promotional tools, resulting in wide spread brand exposure. The campaign had positive results as it was socially responsible. The campaign plans to raise up to R100 million to be donated to schools in need across South Africa and has already raised over R40 million. In addition, the campaign raised awareness about sustainability and creating a better planet for present and future generations.

Source: Woolworth’s Facebook page

So South Africa, were you with them?