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PEEPS at the White House Easter Egg Roll

Campaign: PEEPS at the White House Easter Egg Roll
Company: PEEPS
Nonprofit Partner: National Park Foundation
Launch Date: April 16, 2014


PEEPS Brand announced that it will "contribute to the National Park Foundation to support the 2014 White House Easter Egg Roll". The marshmallow candy will be provided as an in-kind donation for all attendees of the event, which supports the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative. This year's theme is "Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape," and all of the activities encourage children to lead healthy and active lives. The official wooden White House Easter Eggs, sold by the National Park Foundation and benefiting America's national parks, are available online.

Our Take:

PEEPS are synonymous with Easter but this particular 'partnership' is a bit of a stretch, even for die-hard marshmallow fans. While we don't fault the brand for aligning its iconic candy with the White House event, publicly promoting its involvement in association with a healthy-lifestyle-themed event benefitting the National Park Foundation is a sticky proposition for a candy brand.

Turning Unwanted Clothing Into Donations, More Business: Marks & Spencer's Shwopping Movement

Adam Elman

Adam Elman

In 2007, UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer launched an aggressive social responsibility initiative called Plan A (because there’s no Plan B for the planet). They set 100 huge targets without much of a plan about how to reach them.

One of those audacious goals was to send zero waste to landfills. When they accomplished that goal on the operations side in 2012, Marks & Spencer turned their focus to the consumer's role in their clothing's product lifecycle. Once people were done wearing a Marks & Spencer clothing item, what happened to it? The answer was that, all too often, it ended up in a landfill. Marks & Spencer's Head of Global Delivery for Plan A, Adam Elman, shared what they decided to do about this challenge in this month's Cause Marketing Masters webinar. Here's a brief overview of this inspirational program.

Without the internal capacity to address this issue head-on, M&S enlisted the help of the charity Oxfam which had 750 charity stores throughout England. Via this partnership, customers could bring unwanted M&S clothing to an Oxfam store and, in return for their donation, they received a 5 pound coupon off a purchase at M&S. The feedback was positive: customers wanted to do the right thing but appreciated the effort from M&S as well as their coupon. This arrangement also worked well for M&S with customers making return store visits.

Wanting to take the clothing donation effort to the next level and based on customer feedback that it was sometimes difficult to get to Oxfam stores within designated hours and find parking, M&S next launched a One-Day Wardrobe Clear-Out. Customers were invited to bring their unwanted M&S-brand garments into any M&S store. The response was overwhelming with 400,000 garments donated in one day. M&S also reaped huge amounts of publicity from this event.

Still eager to push this clothing donation movement forward and truly embed it into everyday consumer behavior, M&S evolved the program into a new concept: Shwopping. To make this campaign fun, splashy and vibrant, M&S enlisted British actress Joanna Lumly as a celebrity spokesperson and, for the first time, turned to a national television ad buy to spread the word. To launch the program, M&S took over a street in East London and displayed 10,000 items of clothing (the amount going to landfills every 10 minutes in the UK) to show the potential impact. The story was picked up widely both in the UK and across the globe.

Still eager to push the envelope and the desire to have consumers change everyday behavior, M&S extended the program to include any clothing item, not simply the M&S brand. Not surprisingly, there were associated logistical challenges in becoming a clothing donation collection facility in addition to a retail outlet.

To hear the rest of the Shwopping story, why M&S has now removed the majority of its related couponing efforts (and how that’s working out so far), why they’re placing more emphasis on mobile technology, and even creating new clothing lines from recycled clothes, tune into the recorded version of this webinar

It's THAT Worth It

Campaign: It's THAT Worth It
Company: L’Oréal Paris
Nonprofit Partner: Melanoma Research Alliance
Launch Date: April 8, 2014


A new campaign called It’s THAT Worth It partners beauty brand L’Oréal Paris and the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) in a public health call-to-action effort that urges women to prevent melanoma by using sunscreen. Celebrity broadcast and print PSAs are the first phase and drive the public to join Thunderclap (a crowdsourcing tool that amplifies a collective message). As a thank you, L‘Oréal Paris will make a donation to MRA of $1 for each supporter who signs up for the Thunderclap and $1 for each L’Oréal Paris Advanced Suncare product sold in the U.S. up to $250,000 in 2014. As part of the three-year partnership, L’Oréal Paris is donating $750,000 to MRA to fund research.

Our Take:

Typically companies treat PSAs very differently than consumer-facing cause marketing efforts. This campaign, however, attacks the partnership's mission and message from all angles, from a substantive research donation to a wide-reaching PSA. Importantly, consumers are invited not only to learn from the PSA but to take a tangible action via Thunderclap, a step often missed in message-focused campaigns. What other well-integrated cause efforts have you seen? What's your impression of this particular one? Weigh in below with you comments.

Chili's Give Back

Campaign: Chili's Give Back
Company: Chili's
Nonprofit Partner: National Autism Association
Launch Date: April 7, 2014


A year after a young girl with autism was served a "broken cheeseburger" at Chili's, the restaurant chain is launching a national Give Back Event on April 7th, donating 10 percent of qualifying guest checks to the National Autism Association. 

Here's what happened: a Chili's server in Midvale, Utah brought a little girl her kid's cheeseburger, cut in half. Unbeknownst to the server, however, Chili's standard presentation of a sliced cheeseburger signified the burger was "broken" to the little girl. The server quickly had a new burger made to the delight of the little girl, who kissed the "fixed" cheeseburger, captured in a photo by the little girl's sister. This photo and the story was shared on Chili's Facebook page with a sincere 'thank you" by the little girl's sister. The post spread like wildfire with 876,496 "likes" and 207,220 "shares". Since then, the server and young girl's friendship has continued and inspired the brand's recent efforts to support the autism community. 

Our Take:

This simple story demonstrates a powerful humanizing of a large corporate brand. The story itself might have gone unnoticed to anyone except the server, the little girl and her family but for the authentic sharing via social media which struck a nerve of those who read it. Here's the powerful piece: Chili's was smart enough to pick up on this story and create an easy way for others to take a simple action via their Give Back Event for the autism cause. What other ways have you seen corporate or charity brands humanized effectively? Share in the comments below.

Kmart/March of Dimes 31 Year Partnership


Campaign: Kmart/March of Dimes Partnership
Company: Kmart
Nonprofit Partner: March of Dimes
Launch Date: March 31, 2014


As its top corporate supporter, Kmart has launched its 31st year of partnership with the March of Dimes Foundation. Over that time, the company has raised $114 million for the cause. Through late June, customers can donate at the register or online. New this year, Shop Your Way members who donate in-store earn a coupon for 5% back in reward points on their next qualifying purchase. Also new to the effort is the sale of a $5 puppy figurine with $1 donated to the cause (minimum donation of $30,000).

Our Take:

We bring this campaign to your attention because of Kmart's massive and ongoing commitment to its cause partners. You'll recall that Kmart raised $21.9 million for St. Jude during the 2013 holiday season. That's serious cash and puts Kmart right up at the tippy top of consumer donation campaigns. In response to questions about the success of the St. Jude campaign, a spokesperson for Kmart shared that in addition to cause resonance and employee commitment, Kmart "upgraded our check-out technology to make it even easier and faster for customers to make a donation at the register". Rewarding their loyalty members with additional incentives in this latest iteration of the March of Dimes campaign will also be reason to watch this year's March of Dimes effort closely. What other ways have you seen long-standing partnerships iterate and evolve for maximum benefit? Add your comments or insights below!