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Paper Icon Campaign at Whole Foods Helps Launch FoodCorps

On the heals of Joe Waters and Joanna MacDonald’s fine book Cause Marketing for Dummies…which dives deep into cause marketing at point of purchase… I came across this paper icon campaign from Whole Foods that benefits gardening in schools.

Called the Garden Grant Program, the goal is to raise $2,000,000 so as to be able to offer 1,000 schools a $2,000 grant to either create or expand an existing school garden. The nonprofit partner is New York City-based FoodCorps, a subset of AmeriCorps so new the ink on the logo isn’t yet dry.

FoodCorps is a service corps of young people…think early post-college age kids… who committed to a three-fold mission:
  • “Deliver hands-on nutrition education"
  • “Build and tend school gardens"
  • “Bring high-quality local food into public school cafeterias"
The first 50 fanned out across the USA early this month. You may have read Mark Bittman’s column on the rollout in the New York Times 23 August 2011. Bittman writes that the inaugural group of FoodCorpsmen and women are, “smart, well informed, and articulate; (co-founder Curt) Ellis told me there wasn’t a day last week that he didn’t tear up from something that one of them said.”

They couldn’t be much more passionate about the cause than the young hipster who sold me the icon. He was bagging groceries when I offered to buy the paper icon. He then went into a sustained speech about how important school gardening is to health and well-being and how the store is currently scouting for local schools to participate.

Successful paper icon campaigns frequently are an example of the Pareto Principle in action: 80% might be sold by people like this clerk/bagger.

There’s a number of other things to like about this campaign.
  • Full color front and back, including an illustrative photo.
  • The headline is clear and serves double-duty as a call to action.
  • Use of the back to help tell the story.
  • The option for donations of $1 or $5. Even though most people will choose the $1 option it’s well worth it offer the second option.
  • UPC codes to speed transaction time.
  • Placement on the little counter with the credit card machine.
  • Branding for Whole Foods and FoodCorps.
All in all a well thought-out and well-executed paper icon campaign.


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