A Honey of a Cause-Related Marketing Campaign

Try as I might I can’t imagine the focus group that suggested Haagen-Dazs’ fun and creative campaign cause-related marketing to save the American honey bee.

You’ve probably seen it. The super-premium ice cream maker is doing an old-fashioned cause-related marketing campaign to save the stressed and overstretched honey bee in America. Over the last several years 25 percent of Western honey bee population has disappeared, which is being attributed to the poorly-understood threat called Colony Collapse Disorder.

But let's put a little meat on that bone: 1/3 of our food supply relies on honey bee pollination.

When you buy any of the 11 varieties of Haagen-Dazs ice cream whose ingredients require honey bee pollination, the company makes a donation to apian research at University of California at Davis and Penn State University. Haagen-Dazs is also selling a limited-edition flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee.

The campaign features promotional packaging, a website rich with content that explains the issues and offers suggestions for what you can do, campaign branded t-shirts, an outreach campaign, lesson plans, computer wallpaper and screensavers, a bee advisory board and more. I’ve also seen at least one FSI for the campaign.

The website is cute, although it has a few silly hiccups.

The wonder of all this is the pairing of Haagen-Dazs, which is owned by General Mills, and bee research. General Mills is rightly well-known for its cause marketing. A cursory glance suggests that perhaps 50 percent of its brands actively utilize the practice.

But odd as it seems at first glance, if you go beneath the surface it makes sense.
  1. The bee crisis is real and has gotten a fair amount of media attention in the United States.
  2. With their astonishingly complex culture that has been studied since before the time of the Ancient Greeks along their many beneficial activities, bees are the mostly cuddly insect around.
  3. Haagen-Dazs has genuine self interest in a future of healthy apiaries.
I like it.

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