Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 2.24.08 PMFRESH IDEAS:  “Oh, why didn’t I think of THAT!  Now that’s nice!” is what my brain registered when I read today about Y&R Midwest’s Sandy Pinterest initiative: Helpin.it.  As an agency they’ve decided to help real-life families who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Given that this arm of Y&R is in Chicago makes it all the more “awww…” as you’d expect a NJ/NY metro shop to take measures to help local folks.  Here’s how it works:

Real families, real needs: Y&R’s team has chosen families as the subjects of Pinterest boards.  If you go to Helpin.it, you can link to the Pinterest page with all four families.  The boards for each family feature goods that are needed to rebuild their households.  It’s everything from plastic bags to pillows to gift cards.  All at an achievable $25 give or take price point.  And of course, there is a board with the family’s story.  

Click through to repin or to actually buy: Like a typical Pinterest board, you can click through a board to either repin the item to your own board and spread the word about the family in need and their specific items.  Or, you click through to amazon.com where that family’s wish list resides.  You can actually buy the items for the family, and since they’re “registered” on amazon’s wish list, they’ll receive it directly from amazon thanks to the donors.

Now, why did this awaken my “fresh ideas” senses today (other than it’s snowy and cloudy and gray out and it’s super heart warming)?  The power of Pinterest for good: all of the terrific things a brand would love about Pinterest make for a really nice cause-related experience, e.g., visuals, telling a story, repin and share opportunities, and purchase what you see opportunities.  Agency do-good effort: every agency I’ve worked for or know always does something to support a cause, it’s just good business.  But this showcases good thinking and innovation in a social space.  Nicely done, Y&R Midwest!  You’ve certainly brought a little sunshine to my cloudy day for a girl who thinks she’s “seen it all”…and then something like this comes along, love it!  #goodideas #socialmedia #pinterest #causemarketing

Giving Good

FRESH IDEAS:  Two days.  Two different articles.  Both talking about the Salvation Army’s usage of technology this holiday season to facilitate donation collections beyond the traditional cash in the kettle.  And both are mobile-based solutions — nice!  Let’s take a peek and chat about how they’re making giving good:

Swipe to give – According to the New York Times, 10 donation spots each in Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago and New York are using a service called Square. Bell Ringers will be equipped with Android smart phones donated by Sprint Nextel.  These phones carry Square’s a small card reader and two apps, one from Square and one from the Salvation Army. To donate money, the passerby simply swipes a credit card, signs, and the money goes into the Salvation Army’s account.  Fast, easy, and great for anyone lacking spare change or cash on-hand.  Nice!  The second option seems a bit more cumbersome…

Scan to give – According to the Boston Herald, the Massachusetts arm of the Salvation Army will have signs featuring QR codes.  Passersby who are short on cash can scan the code using their smart phones, and then complete the donation transaction via a secure, mobile web site.  Now…Unlike the Square execution, this option requires more time, more effort than a simple swipe.  It also, unfortunately, uses a technology that only 6% of smart phone subscribers use (per comScore) — which doesn’t facilitate the ease nor simplicity of the transaction. What may have helped is if they used a similar method as UNICEF whereby the code take the payment right from your bill — thus decreasing the steps involved. (Note: See 10/14 post about the UNICEF box code, we chatted about this, you remember.)

Mobile and giving = good.  Swipe convenience = good.  QR code = meh.  That’s my two cents for your brain’s red bucket.  Now stop ringing that bell.  TASTY TREND:  Here and Now; Go Mobile

ROGO Crunchy Nuggets

CRUNCHY NUGGETS:  Today’s post is a ROGO.  Read one, get one.  In other words: a two-pack of crunchy goodness.  So much to share, let’s jump right into it…

Do Good Model —The headline reads: “Hope is Delicious.”  Thanks to rocker and NJ native Jon Bon Jovi, an old mechanic shop has been converted into community restaurant — the JBJ Soul Kitchen — now open in Red Bank, NJ.  The idea of a “community restaurant” means that there are no prices on the menu items.  Rather, you can pay via donation — $20 is recommended per meal to cover your costs and the needs of others who cannot pay.  Or, you can put in volunteer work time towards your family’s meal.  The volunteer work comes in the form of working at the restaurant, e.g., busing tables, wait staff, preparing meals, and helping to dry dishes.  Now, we’ve talked about this model in prior posts, e.g, Panera has a similar shop set-up (see May 18, 2011 post).  And we’ve also talked about how this model can, indeed, be sustained with patrons typically “overpaying”; and how this do-good, community trend goes beyond food.  My pilates studio, for examples, hosts a community yoga class once a week.  Gotta love that a rocker is involved in his own town.  OK, onto the second topic…

Makin’ a List, Later — I am a planner by profession and by nature.  And Christmas is a deadline that comes every year, no surprises.  So needless to say, I’ve already gotten my cards and shopping well underway for this year.  Statistically, is my shopping pattern normal?  Absolutely not, according to Adology.  Typical holiday spending occurs:

  • Thanksgiving weekend sales as a part of the holiday total: 10%
  • Weekend before Christmas: 30% (Saturday before Christmas, in particular)
  • Week between Christmas and New Year’s: 10%

Wow, you buncha late last minute louies, geez!  Anyway…Feel free to continue to ignore the impending holiday deadline as I will continue to shop, wrap, and get it done before Thanksgiving.

Alrighty, that’s it for today.  Hope you enjoyed the ROGO!  TASTY TRENDS: Feeling Good About Doing Good; Spend Trends

All That and…

FRESH IDEA:  …a bag of chips for charity!  You know me, I’ve seen my fair share of promotions and offers and marketing messages.  So when something new and fresh comes my way, it’s a good day!  Food Should Taste Good is the brand I can thank for making my day today, with a really cool twist on trial-advocacy-cause-social-sweeps.  Give this great idea a crunch…

Save. Snack. Support.  Not only has Food Should Taste Good turned their chip packaging pink in support of breast cancer organizations, but they’re raising $100k, too.  Here’s how:

Go to their Facebook page and click on the “Fight Breast Cancer” tab.  Accept an app to send your friends bags of chips for $2.50 each — $2.00 each if you buy 10+ (nice, low price point).  Decide how you wish to divide up the crunchy free goodness:  number of coupons/bags, and through a mailing address or through a Facebook post to the recipient’s wall.  (Yes, you can, and are encouraged to buy/send a coupon for a bag to yourself, too).  Share your information, including purchase details (credit card number, etc.).  Opt in (or not) to hear more from Food Should Taste Good.  And in 4-6 weeks — if you mailed it, your recipient will get a coupon good for a free bag of Food Should Taste Good chips.  Plus, you the giver are entered into a sweeps to win a year’s worth of free chips. too.

Now…some folks may say “But no one wants to give out their friends’ info.”  Here, I think they would  because 1. the friend is getting a “gift”, and 2. 100% — yes, 100% — of the $2.50 (or $2) goes toward a $100k being raised for breast cancer.  Wow…that’s good.  You gotta love a win-win-win-win (consumer, friend, cause, brand) all-round.  This program takes a feel-good and uses it to get passionates/fans to share the love and drive trial among potential new users.  My only complaint comes from the user experience when you’re done buying and sending and entering:  you’re stuck at a dead end.  No link back to Facebook.  No link to the Food Should Taste Good website.

Here’s the URL if you want to send someone a lil’ chip lovin’ and do something good: https://store.foodshouldtastegood.com/facebook

Feel free to send one my way on Facebook!  TASTY TREND:  Feeling Good About Doing Good; Experiential Traditional

Java for Jobs

CRUNCHY NUGGETS:  I read about a Starbucks cause-related effort that’s so different from what you usually see in cause-marketing.  It’s in support of creating jobs across the country.  Starting now in Starbucks locations, and on November 1st online, when you donate $5 to the cause Create Jobs for USA, you’ll receive an “indivisible,” red, white, and blue wrist band.  And your 100% of the $5 will help support $35 worth of financing toward under served communities lacking the funds to back small businesses.  So the thought is to ignite small businesses in communities across the country, and, therefore, create jobs in the US, with small businesses employing over half of American, private-sector workers.

So why is this crunchy?  Because we’re used to seeing health/wellness/disease prevention related programs, and kids in need, and families needing food and clothing and housing.  But jobs?  Jobs is a HUGE topic of politics and concern for Americans.  And here’s Starbucks — who’s not only supporting a cause that drives job-creation — but they’re also seeding $5 million dollars toward this issue.  Wow, that’s all together timely and cool and look…if you have enough to spend that much on a latte, you have that much to help someone who needs a job, right?! Me, I like it.  Really unique, yet relatable among the masses.  Kudos to “the Bux!”  TASTY TREND:  Feeling Good About Doing Good; Recession Returns

Nuggety Friday

CRUNCHY NUGGETS:  Today is one of those days where I want to share a bunch of nuggets with you.  Sort of a “did you hear about…” conversation where I fill you in on new ideas and insights that I’ve read about or heard about this week.  And you take them and use them as you need to (e.g., weekend chit chat, real world example, etc.).  That said, get your nugget net out ’cause here they come, fast and bite-sized.

Proud Pride – Now, a retailer selling tee shirts for a good cause isn’t a terribly new idea.  But this one is stirring up buzz from two sides.  Let me explain: starting this week, Old Navy is offering Pride tees with 10% of the sales going to the It Gets Better Project — a cause that supports LGBT youths to understand that it’s OK to be who you are, sharing real-life stories.  Now…on the one side, ON is doing a fantastic thing by showing support for self-expression, equal rights, and a good cause.  On the other side, ON is being a little corporate-lukewarm as the shirt is only available in 26 select stores (keep in mind they have 1,000+ locations; nor is the shirt sold online).  Now, they say that you can go to any store and ask  the clerk to call and have a shirt shipped to your home.  But again, it’s got different views on the offer.  You can find out the exact stores on their FB event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175353212521535

Funky Flavors – I had to share this one…A USA Today article talks about the crazy flavor trend in ice cream.  Now, the article states that 7 out of 10 consumers stick with the basics: choosing vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.  But the remaining three adventurous types can now choose from funky flavors at national ice cream retailers and brands such as: Buttered Popcorn (MaggieMoo’s), Strawberry Basil (Cold Stone), Mojito Sorbet (Cold Stone), Firehouse 31 (Baskin-Robbins; has Atomic Fireballs crushed inside), Creole Cream Cheese (Baskin-Robbins; creamy with a spicy kick); Maple Bacon Sundae (Denny’s), French Toast (Baskin-Robbins), or Ben and Jerry’s Late Night Snack (made in collaboration with Jimmy Fallon; has chocolate covered potato chips inside).  Sounds…yummy, right?!  Here’s the article (the scoop!): http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2011-06-02-new-ice-cream-flavors_n.htm OK, moving on…

Me me me – If you haven’t tried this already, do so…Intel and their Core i5 processors are sponsoring a Facebook application that takes the user’s data (friends, photos, likes, words used most often, etc.), and turns it into a “Museum of Me.”  Set to music, your info is presented like a museum tour.  What’s so crunchy about this application is that it’s sponsored.  So sure, we’ve seen the “year in Facebook” apps where it shares similar info. But this one is branded.  Nice!  It’s a worthwhile try for FB users:  http://www.intel.com/museumofme/r/index.htm

Alrighty..phew!  Hope you got all that — there will be a quiz on it on Monday.  Just kidding.  Again, feel free to use as you wish for inspiration or inspired BBQ weekend small talk.  Have a good one!  TASTY TRENDS:  Socially Acceptable; Feeling Good About Doing Good; Retailer Rules; Food & Flavor Fun

Today’s Special

CRUNCHY NUGGETS:  Three times this week I’ve read about a pay-what-you-want model at restaurants.  One is being conducted by a national chain and impacts the full service menu; the other is a local effort for just one particular dish. It’s a trend around what’s called community kitchens.  Hey, these nuggets are always free and satisfying, so go ahead and take a big brain-full…

Panera Bread Cafe – In 2010, Panera Bread converted their Clayton, Missouri restaurant into a nonprofit, pay-what-you-want restaurant.  The idea was to help to feed the needy and raise money for charitable work.  One year later, the program has been deemed a success.  So successful that they’ve opened other locations in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, and in Portland, Oregon. And Panera Bread plans to add a new cafe every three months or so, moving forward.  The cafes offer a full menu with “suggested funding levels,” with payments going into a donation box, and cashiers on-hand to provide change and handle credit card payments.  So far it seems that patrons have been fair with roughly 60% leaving the suggested amount, 20% leaving more, and the remaining 20% paying less than suggested.  But the give-take is to accommodate patrons who otherwise cannot pay for a full meal.  And speaking of meal, our second example is about a specific menu item…

The “I Am Grateful Bowl” – At California vegan restaurant chain Cafe Gratitude, there is a specific dish featuring shredded kale, quinoa, black beans and garlic tahini sauce.  This specific menu item is a pay-what-you-can-afford dish that was created to engender good will among customers.  Again, it’s the give what you can-take what you need concept.  No results have been shared, but it seems to be a popular chain and a PR-worthy idea.

Now, being a curious sort, I did a lil’ homework about this “community kitchen” trend and found that: 1. It’s not just food, but it’s also being offered for other things/services such as music (e.g., Radiohead offers this option); and 2. It seems to work well as proven in a non-food experiment.  Specifically, a marketing professor at the University of California-San Diego, conducted a field experiment at a theme park.  The sample size represented over 113,000 consumers. Park patrons were presented with four different pricing options for souvenir photos: a flat fee of $12.95; a flat fee of $12.95 with half going to charity; pay-what-you-wish; and pay-what-you-wish with half going to charity. The results were interesting with very few people opting to simply buy the photos, as well as the flat fee with a charity attached.  And although most patrons chose the pay-what-you-wish, the average contributions (i.e., profits) were at a horribly low price point (less than $1!).  And the pay-what-you-wish with a charitable overlay, although seeing half as many patrons selecting this option as the non-charity-pay-what-you-wish, the payments were significantly higher, averaging $5.33 (much, much higher than the meager buck!).  This concept would be an interesting idea to attach to a sampling effort — so get a “free” sample – OR – contribute what you wish with the contribution going to a charity.  Hey, had to toss in a lil’ marketing idea, it’s my job.

No worries…again, this post is free and just interesting.  It’s kinda nice to know that people, in general, are very giving.  TASTY TREND:  Feeling Good About Doing Good