Last month, we blogged about Coca-Cola changing their packaging for the first time ever in a cause marketing effort to protect the Arctic home of polar bears. Check out the blog here.
Apparently that wasn’t such a great idea for Coke. In fact, they’re pulling the plug on the new white cans and changing them back to their original red. Why you ask? Customer uproar. That’s right, customers were getting the white cans confused with the silver Diet Coke cans. We all know how traumatic that can be to think you’re buying an ice cold can of refreshing Coke only to crack it open, take a sip, and taste that dreadful fake Diet Coke flavor. Ok, I’m being facetious.
Whether you think it’s ridiculous or not, you could argue that Coca-Cola should’ve thought this one through a bit more. Knowing your customers is rule number one when changing old traditions.
Why white cans? The company claimed it had intended a “disruptive” campaign to get its conservation message across. Within a few days, Coca-Cola started receiving complaints that the white cans were too easily confused with the silver Diet Coke cans, leading some weight-conscious and diabetic customers to accidentally purchase Coke instead of Diet Coke. Ok, point taken. I could see where that could get sketchy.
Coca-Cola was no stranger to polar bears and WWF – the company has supported WWF Arctic research and conservation efforts in the past and this campaign was supposed to take its commitment to a new level. Coca-Cola has pledged $2 million to help fund the creation of a safe refuge for polar bears and agreed to match up to $1 million of consumer donations made through Arctic Home by March 15, 2012.
Coca-Cola got the message and despite the fact it planned initially to have 1.4 billion white cans available until March, the company decided to halt further production of the cans. As we speak, Coca-cola is sending millions of red cans back into shops with polar bear images on them.
Fall has a new color and it no longer red, orange, and yellow. The month of October has transformed into the month of pink. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has made an impact on October and has evolved into more than just the familiar pink ribbon. Many companies have now been participating by using cause marketing and incorporating the color pink into their packaging.
Cause marketing involves cooperative efforts of a for profit and a non for profit company for a charitable cause. This gives corporations a chance to get involved in creating awareness and generating support for the cure. Also proceeds from the products using pink go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Creative initiatives such as raising awareness via Facebook and Twitter has also surfaced this month.
Pepperidge Farm is donating $0.50 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for every Milano moment that is shared on the Milano Facebook page.
Campbell’s Soup is donating $250,000 to the foundation which is roughly 3.5 cents per pink can.
M&M sales will also contribute to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
You only have a few seconds to catch the shopper’s attention, so what are you going to do with your packaging to not only catch their attention, but to get them to want to buy your product?
Jim George from Shelf Impact came up with 5 labeling ideas to solve marketing challenges:
- Highlighting innovative shape. Kids like products that feature fun colors and design in their packaging. Clear Beverage Corp. did just this with their “Kid Fuel” naturally flavored water. They also designed the shape of the bottle to resemble a sports bottle with curves for a child’s small hands to easily grip. They also made the packaging educational. Each bottle has a quiz question and Professor Smart’s answer is revealed after the beverage is consumed and the bottle is refilled with water.
- Sizzling as bacon’s main ‘touchpoint’. It is important for the packaging of a premium product to reflect the quality of the product. Tyson changed the packaging of their bacon by adding a label that featured a gold-outlined shield area with red, white, and gold on a blue background, while still leaving room to view the meat. The new design improved how easy it was to find and recognize the brand.
- Encouraging participation. Campbell’s made 7.5 million special-edition labels to show the quality ingredients that they use. Along with the new label, they started a program where you enter a code online from your can to receive a free pack of tomato seeds for yourself, as well as 100 seeds for urban communities and schools.
- Pulling double duty. Sometimes marketers have to create a package that both attracts attention, as well as protects against theft and counterfeits. Nutrex Research did this by creating a shrink-sleeve label that is both eye-appealing and protects the product from tampering.
- Signaling cause marketing. People like companies that help people and allow the customer to help by purchasing the product. Tide showed this with their packaging for the Loads of Hope campaign. They have special yellow caps that read, “You can help”, and it features pictures of Hurricane Katrina victims on the front.
Last month, we talked about companies using social media networks for cause marketing. Now we are focusing on a company that actually redesigned their packaging for a cause.
Recently, Tide changed their packaging to go along with their Loads of Hope campaign. That is a pretty big deal for a brand that has not significantly changed their packaging in their sixty years of history. The Loads of Hope campaign raises funds for disaster relief support. The new design features photos of disaster victims that Tide has provided aid for, such as Hurricane Katrina victims. The newly designed bottle also says, “You can help” on the yellow cap to help draw attention to the charity and the company’s social responsibility efforts.
This change in Tide’s packaging design shows that they take social responsibility seriously. It is a program that they are continuing to support, and it enhances their brand image. Consumers are more likely to buy products from a socially responsible company, rather than the competition if the products are similar. So not only are they giving back to the community by helping disaster victims, but they are also boosting their brand image, which could increase sales and the traffic flow to their web site. The design and custom packaging that they are using helps inform and remind consumers what they are doing to help others. And most importantly, they are doing their part to give back to the community and those in need.
Cause marketing is nothing new, but it has been increasingly growing in popularity for companies to both give back to the community and to get their names out there. It is seen as a marketing campaign, but the money used is not just being spent on promotions, it is being used to help others. This makes cause marketing a truly great idea.
A new trend that we are starting to see is companies implementing cause marketing through popular social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. These social media networks connect millions of people across the world quickly and easily.
Just last month, Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign allowed Facebook users to go on Target’s Facebook page and vote for which charity (from a list of ten) that Target will donate $3 million. Users were allowed to vote once a day, and the amount of money each charity was given was determined by the percentage of votes that they received. Better yet, each time someone voted, it would show up in their newsfeed for all of their friends to see. This is a tremendous word-of-mouth tool for praising Target and their acts of social responsibility. Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign resulted in 167,000 Facebook users who came together to vote over 291,000 times. Now that’s getting their name out there.
Target is not the only company that uses social media networks, like Facebook, to broadcast their charitable efforts. Kraft also did well with their “Share a Little Comfort” campaign. They offered to donate up to one million boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to needy families, depending on the number of “statuses” or “tweets” shared by users on Facebook and Twitter.
Using popular social media networks for cause marketing can really help companies get their name out there and give back to the community, but they must be careful as to not come off as spam. If consumers think that you are just trying to sell more of your product and don’t actually care about the charities, your campaign will be a setback for your branding efforts. But if you follow in these companies footsteps in finding the perfect mix of social media promotions and charitable donations, you could gain a considerable amount of customer and brand loyalty, while still knowing that you are helping others.<–>
Social responsibility is becoming more and more popular, and there is no surprise why. It allows the company to feel good about themselves and donate to the charity of their choice. Not only that, but it is also a great marketing tool. Customers, stockholders, and employees embrace companies that give back to the community.
- Choose a charity that both your company and customers care about.
- Organize a marketing plan to get the word out. There is no need to be shy! Together, your company and your customers are helping others out. If it is widely known, More people may want to help support your company and the cause.
- Keep a record of the success of your campaign. This will help you figure out what strategies do and don’t work for the future.
- Follow up on the campaign. This will let your customers know they made a difference and remind them about your company.
It is so important that the public knows about your campaign and what it is for. One of the best ways to make your customers aware that you are involved with a cause is to display it through your packaging.
Some of the more popular campaigns have a certain color associated with their cause.
- Pink. There are numerous pink products supporting the Susan G. Kolmen for the Cure Foundation.
- Red. The (Product) Red campaign is partnered with many brands, such as Apple, GAP, Starbucks, Windows, American Express, Converse, Dell, Hallmark, and Emporio Armani to support the Aids Foundation. Another common color your packaging can convey a message that will keep your customers coming back.
- Green. Being environmentally-friendly is another huge part of social responsibility. Customers love the new “green” trend and it is important to display it through the packaging.
Social responsibility is both good for the community and your company. Customers love to help a company that is helping others. This allows you to give back, boost sales, and increase brand loyalty. Be sure to display the cause in your packaging so that your customers know what it is all about.