The idea of urban revival and renewal is not new but the entry of big brands into this space is. Most of the initiatives, however, that have euphemistically been called urban commitments bend heavily towards consumer engagement and creative marketing and not towards improving city and community life.
Here are some examples culled from sundry sources:
Guinness: ‘Bring it Life Awards’ invited people aged between 25 and 35 to send ideas for a chance to win funding for community improvement projects. http://www.unltd.org.uk/arthur-guinness-fund-awards/index.html
BMW: Asked students of the European Institute of Design in Barcelona majoring in automotive design and fashion to think on the future of transportation. The twist was to make sure that these modes of transport were ‘wearable’ by the person. The best ideas were on display this January in Barcelona. See the results here: http://www.bmwblog.com/2011/01/26/bmw-envisions-a-future-of-wearable-transportation/
Frito-Lay: Created a “Lay’s Mobile Farm,” a 70-foot long, 10-foot wide and 14-foot high traveling greenhouse, to educate local people about gardening and give them an opportunity to interact with plants. The initiative was to roll out in NYC, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.http://popsop.com/36954
Heinz: Did something similar as part of the promotion for its Salad Cream, created a ‘crop-up’ plot in Soho Square London and invited passers-by to pick a mix of vegetables (tomatoes, lettuce, celery, carrots and many more) just from the patches and several minutes later try them in a salad or sandwich, which was dressed with Heinz Salad Cream at the special on-site cooking facilities.http://popsop.com/37378
Kraft Foods’ brand Triscuit is supporting the movement to grow your own foods in a big way with their website dedicated to home farming. The site focuses on interaction, education, and support to get consumers involved with all across the United States.http://www.kraftbrands.com/homefarming/Pages/default.aspx