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Special Project

Special Project
From the 1st Annual Shorty Social Good Awards


Finalist in Fashion, Beauty & Luxury

About this entry

Honeybees are disappearing around the world. And if that isn't scary enough, they're responsible for 1/3 of all the food we consume. So when they're in trouble, we're in trouble too. Big-sized trouble. To bring awareness to the mass disappearing honeybee problem—and raise money to plant habitat that will help sustain them—we imagined a world without bees. Or, in this case, b's.

How? By disappearing something everyone noticed from our communications: the letter "b" itself.

Overnight, we became Urt's Ees, and introduced #BringBackTheBees. Our goal? Turn lip balm sales and social media postings into flower-planting, bee-saving forces for good.

With the #BringBackTheBees campaign, we hoped to:

- Raise awareness for the plight of the disappearing honeybee, which is vitally important to the world's ecosystem and food production

- Engage our audience in the cause to show how simple actions can have immediate, real-world effects on the world

- Activate our most popular product- Burt's Bees Lip Balm- to support the cause

- Plant 1 billion wildflowers, reestablishing much needed honeybee habitat

Why does this entry deserve to win?

To introduce the campaign, starting on March 8, 2016, Burt's Bees became Urt's Ees, dropping the letter b from the labels of the world-famous beeswax lip balm in three select flavors pollinated by bees, of course, that are sold both online and at major retail locations.

Next, the concept was taken digital as Burt's Bees also dropped the "b" from its' entire digital presence- profile pictures, logos, website headers, email blasts, etc. Every Tweet, Facebook and Instagram post from the brand for the following six weeks was posted without the letter "b" included in any word. Even the brand URL changed from to

In the following days #BringBackTheBees was activated online through social posts asking consumers to purchase the b-less balms or post without the letter "b" and tag their posts with the campaign hashtag. For every single purchase or post, Burt's Bees pledged to plant 1,000 wildflowers to bring back much needed bee habitat.

The goal to plant one billion wildflowers by Earth Day, April 22, 2016, overall meant one million actions- both balm purchases and hashtag uses- needed to be taken in a short 6 week timeframe.

With such a lofty goal, considerable reach to amplify the message was needed. Enter Lea Michele. Working with the nature-loving actress and singer, we recorded a video PSA promoting the cause. The twist? Most of her script was missing the letter "b". It may have sounded odd, but that was the point. To draw attention, and show how even a small change can help make a big difference. Or rather, an "ig" difference. This partnership with Lea also included exclusive earned teaser announcements about the campaign with People Magazine, as well as long lead, short lead and televised features, such as the Late Late Show with James Corden, People Stylewatch, InStyle Online, Extra!, and many more.

Lea Michele's social following was leveraged, along with nine other celebrities through an influencer amplification program. The celebrities created their own unique b-less posts which not only engaged their audiences and drove our PSA video but also further educated fans about the plight of the honeybee. The paid celebrity support and organic influencer outreach helped engage a much broader audience looking for fun and meaningful ways to be involved with causes for social good.

Further support through a promoted trend on Twitter on March 14, 2016 and auto-response gifs from the brand thanking all those retweeting a variety of posts helped send #BringBackTheBees to the top of the trending list multiple times during the campaign window. And an Instagram takeover day with Lea Michele on Burt's Bees account drove further hashtag use and a significant increase in followers for the brand.


The overall goal of 1 billion flowers planted was not only reached, but surpassed by 50%.


- Over 150 million social media impressions and 480,000 uses of #BringBackTheBees

- Burt's most engaged Tweet ever with over 50,000 retweets and 20,000 favorites

- Over 180 million PR impressions across online, print, celebrity/influencer and broadcast

- Over 5.5 million video views across all channels

- 23 non-paid celebrities, musicians and influencers engaged organically across the program through relationship management and organic outreach tactics, such as Jason Mraz, Pete Yorn and Rosario Dawson


Video for #BringBackTheBees

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Baldwin&, Tractenberg & Co., AKQA, Burt's Bees


Entry Credits