Bota Box Mashes Up Cause Marketing and Rebates

Some $8 billion a year is returned to American households each year in the form of rebates, estimates Parago, a rebate promotion provider in Lewisville, Texas. That dwarfs the $1.7 billion that IEG predicts companies will spend on cause marketing efforts in 2012.

Surely there’s a way to mash-up these two different approaches to incentive promotions in a way that makes best advantage of both.

In fact, Bota Box, which sells California wines in a box is doing exactly that to benefit the Arbor Day Foundation. In time for National Picnic Month this month, Bota Box will either donate to the Arbor Day Foundation or offer customers a rebate when they meet the terms of the rebate.

Here’s how it works: When you send in the cash register receipts for three Bota boxes and the official mail-in rebate form, the company will make a $12 donation to the National Arbor Day Foundation. Or, you can take the rebate yourself.

The corresponding rebate amounts for 2 Bota Boxes is $7 and $3 for one Bota Box.

No word on any total donation limits to the Arbor Day Foundation, although each household is limited to one rebate, whatever the amount. Also, the rebate is open only those 21 years of age or older.

Bota Box has also done 'like' campaigns on Facebook for the Arbor Day Foundation and participated in tree-planting efforts. Bota Box debuted this mashup of cause marketing and rebates in 2011.

Since this kind of promotion requires the explicit permission of regulators in various states, I suspect that Bota Box will try this promotion several more times to take advantage of the costs sunk in getting regulatory approvals.

If you strap on your thinking cap you can imagine many other uses for this mashup; car companies could ape the success of Subaru’s Share the Love cause marketing, by sending rebate money to causes. Whirlpool could ask people to donate their rebate checks to Habitat for Humanity. Mobile service providers could ask customers to send rebate checks to charity. 

Parago, who provides the total market estimate of rebates, calculates that the average household garners $150 a year in rebates. That’s found money that many consumers might be willing to share.

Thanks to faithful reader Kate B. for spotting this.

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