In conversation with

Guy Jones

Co-Founder at The GoodNet



In an era where technology and purpose converge, creating meaningful connections and fostering positive change has become a pivotal pursuit. We sat down with Guy Jones, co-founder at The GoodNet, the ethical media and intelligence company that helps deliver brands great results from their digital advertising campaigns, whilst also doing Good, to learn more about his journey, his vision for the future, and the evolving role of technology in shaping a better future. 

Question and Answer

Can you tell us about your journey and what inspired you to co-found The GoodNet? And what prompted you to set up an ethical media company?

Advertising and media’s relationship with sustainability can be tricky. You could argue that it encourages over-consumption, and is too often used for greenwashing. But it also plays a uniquely powerful role in influencing people’s lifestyles, behaviours and choices – for better as well as worse!

My co-founder and I wanted to create a business that would help brands successfully market products and services that represent a more ethical choice. We also wanted to help funnel more advertising dollars towards digital publishers whose content educates and inspires people to live more sustainably.

You’ve worked with a variety of well-known brands, such as Trainline, Holland & Barrett, and Premier Inn. Ethics or sustainability don’t immediately come to mind when you think of these brands, so what did you do with them to help their teams make more ethically minded media decisions?

Brands use The GoodNet for two main reasons. The first is to reach Ethical Consumers. For example, Trainline were aiming to highlight the fact that swapping your car for a train can hugely reduce emissions, and they worked with us because we can get that message out to people who are more likely to respond and take action.

Premier Inn on the other hand were interested in delivering across Ethical Media. Even though their ads aren’t about sustainability, our tools help them ensure that their campaign delivers their KPIs, whilst achieving lower CO2 emissions, helping to fund websites whose content encourages sustainable behaviours and, supporting publishers who operate their businesses ethically.

As a business focused on media for positive impact, what's the most positive story you've been a part of? How did it showcase the potential of advertising to contribute to meaningful change?

The most positive thing from my perspective is that we have been able to prove that running more ethical and sustainable ad campaigns doesn’t need to come at the expense of delivering business performance.

The reality is that, particularly in tough economic times, most companies will prioritise the core KPIs of their ad campaigns above all else. So in the 18 months since we launched The GoodNet, it’s been gratifying to demonstrate – across a whole range of different clients and sectors – that ethical media and campaign performance don’t need to be a trade-off.

“Advertising and media’s relationship with sustainability can be tricky... But it also plays a uniquely powerful role in influencing people’s lifestyles, behaviours and choices - for better as well as worse.”

What’s your favourite success story from The GoodNet helping a brand achieve a positive social or environmental goal? And what contributed to that success?

I’m personally incredibly saddened by the issue of plastic pollution, so I loved a campaign we ran highlighting the partnership between Kia and Ocean Cleanup aimed at removing thousands of tonnes of plastic from our seas. We delivered an interactive advert that highlighted the issues in an attention-grabbing way, and that then gave people a chance to see some of the action being taken by Ocean Cleanup to solve it. We had over 50,000 people engage with the campaign in just three weeks, which was incredibly gratifying.

In the ever-evolving world of advertising, what trends or strategies do you believe will be key in driving positive change in the coming years?

The industry now understands that delivering ads to websites and apps requires immense energy consumption and therefore results in huge GHG emissions. Reducing that direct climate impact is a vital first step, but we must also grapple with the fact that carbon is only one piece of the puzzle.

Advertising ultimately funds much of the open web. So, from thinking about the ways media and advertising influence consumer behaviour to its role in serving and supporting under-represented groups, our industry will need to explore how to deliver the results that brands need, whilst doing more good with those ad dollars.

The GoodNet's approach is founded on the belief that advertising can make a positive impact. What are some of the goals you have set moving forward?

A lot of brands are nervous about sustainability. They are afraid of greenwashing and often feel under-educated in this area. Our focus is on getting brands to take the first (often small) steps towards being more sustainable with their advertising. Helping them understand that perfection should not get in the way of progress.

We see a huge gap for products that help brands really understand what ethical media means and that give them actionable data that they can use in their media planning and buying. We believe The GoodNet can play a critical role in that.

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