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Basic Improvements To a Promising Paper Icon Campaign

Yesterday, December 22, 2010, I bought this paper icon at a local chain of 31 stores called Fresh Market, which is owned by a large grocery co-op headquartered in Utah, called Associated Foods. Sales of the icon benefits the hungry, women's shelters, military families, and community centers... based on what the individual store decides.

Paper icon campaigns and their new-age descendents have been with us for two decades now and it seems that everybody thinks they know how to do them. I see a lot of these kinds of campaigns (and buy every new one I see). The Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database now has dozens of examples.

My analysis of the paper icons in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database is that only those who have been doing paper icon campaigns for a long time are any good.

In the spirit of improving this campaign, which I think shows promise, here’s what I suggest:
  1. Scratch the other charity options and just go with food banks. Fresh Market is a store. It feeds people. The connection to food banks is clear and unmistakable. Stick with that. Then use the backside... which is currently blank...to explain the campaign in 25 words or less. That would have helped the clerk, too, when I asked her what the campaign was about. There were posters in the store where I bought it that explained the campaign. But curiously they were positioned so that only the people leaving the store could read them. That’s unhelpful. There wasn’t much presence at the cashier stands, either. Fresh Market also could have put a prerecorded announcement or two on it’s in-store ‘radio station.’
  2. So that the campaign requires less explanation, shape the icon not like a Christmas tree ornament, but like a plate of food or something similar that designates hungry people being fed. The ornament is designed well enough, but it’s apropos only of the holiday, not the benefit of buying it.
  3. The icons came in three price points: the white one above priced at $1; a pink one priced at $5; a green version priced at $10. For the $5 and $10 versions consider adding value with a bounce-back coupon extension. (The icon above is backed by green so that it would show up).
  4. At the point of purchase use the receipt to help capture names and contact info. Imagine getting a free download of a song or an app, some free or deeply discounted grocery item when people register on a site listed on the receipt. Obviously the data is yours to keep. No one, to my knowledge, is doing this.
  5. Incent the cashiers to sell the paper icon. Create contests. Track results. Pit cashier against cashier, manager against manager, store against store. Offer recognition and prizes to the top performers.
  6. Give it a social media aspect, especially on Facebook. Offer incentives for people who friend the campaign’s Facebook page. You could also have some fun with a QR code printed on the icon. I’ve never seen that either.
There you go; six ideas to take the campaign from ordinary to extraordinary.

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