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Comeback Clothes

Campaign: Comeback Clothes
Company: H&M
Nonprofit Partner: DoSomething.org
Launch Date: April 17, 2014


Youth-focused DoSomething.org, and fashion retailer H&M are teaming up with Olivia Wilde to get young people across the country excited about clothing recycling and sustainable fashion through a cause marketing campaign called Comeback Clothes. From April 17 to June 20, young people can collect old and worn-out clothing in their schools and communities and drop them off in garment recycling bins at any H&M store, all brands and conditions accepted. H&M will send these clothes to a recycling facility, where they will be given a new life. The vast majority of fabric can be recycled, yet 11.1 million tons end up in landfills each year. All participants that send a photo of themselves dropping off their unwanted clothing to DoSomething.org will automatically be entered to win a $10,000 scholarship, and receive a 15% discount off their entire next purchase.

Our Take:

Clothing donation at retail has become far more mainstream, thanks to cause campaigns like this one. DoSomething.org is no stranger to these donation programs. Their hugely popular jeans donation program (Teens for Jeans) with retailer Aéropostale has donated 4.3 million pairs of jeans to homeless teens since 2008 with Aéropostale benefitting from the increased foot traffic to stores. This cause effort with H&M casts an even wider net by supporting H&M's sustainability commitment to reducing waste while driving store traffic by the desirable youth market - DoSomething.org's prime demographic. Linking a double incentive in the form of a coupon and a scholarship entry in exchange for a do-gooder selfie is a savvy way to collect user-generated content.



Campaign: #WeRunTogether
Company: John Hancock
Nonprofit Partner: One Fund Boston
Launch Date: April 3, 2014


Boston Marathon sponsor John Hancock is promoting a high profile cause marketing effort in association with today's 2014 Boston Marathon, a year after the tragic finish line bombing incident. The company is encouraging individuals to tweet a photo or message (or upload it online) with the hashtag #WeRunTogether (the race theme) to unlock a $1 donation to the One Fund Boston, up to $26.2k (the company had already pledged to make a flat $26.2k donation the fund). In addition, the company is offering bracelets made from 2013 marathon street banners and 100% of the proceeds donated to the One Fund.

Our Take:

Disaster giving can be a particularly sensitive undertaking for a company of any size. This effort from John Hancock offers a strong example of best practice in this challenging space. With the announcement of the formation of the One Fund Boston last year, longtime sponsor John Hancock made a cornerstone commitment of $1 million, setting the stage for an outpouring of corporate and private donations. Within the first 90 days, the One Fund had collected $61 million in donations. This one-year cause marketing effort from Hancock is a simple yet tasteful encouragement to rally additional support for the broad Boston Marathon community, both financially and through individual messages of support. Offering up a flat $26.2k donation and then asking individuals to unlock an additional $26.2k is a smart and strategic way to invite the wider community to participate.

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.