Cause-Marketing For Food Packaging Builds Image and Sales

Labels, bottles and cans put cause-marketing messages in the hands of the consumer.

By Kate Bertrand Connolly, Packaging Editor

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"We think packaging's very important, because it's a tangible item that consumers take home from the store with them. If it sits on their shelves or in their freezers or in their refrigerators, it's a constant reminder to participate in this campaign," says Dan Skinner, public relations and social media manager with ConAgra Foods. "It's more than a one-moment thing. It continues to impact the consumers" and also drives them to the website to enter the code.

ConAgra's specially marked packages were available from March through May of this year, but consumers can continue to redeem the codes through August.

Mango Tango builds hope

Hunger and nutrition are not the only causes that processors champion. Last year, following the massive earthquake in Haiti, Coca-Cola Co. launched the Haiti Hope Project. Through this program, sales of the company's Odwalla juices and smoothies contribute to Haiti's reconstruction.

Last year, 100 percent of the profits from Odwalla Mango Lime-Aid, a limited-time flavor, went to the project to help 25,000 local mango farmers develop what Coca-Cola characterizes as a sustainable mango industry. The front label of Mango Lime-Aid prominently displayed the Haiti Hope Project logo and called out the 100 percent contribution.

This year, Odwalla Inc. (, Half Moon Bay, Calif., announced that its popular Mango Tango fruit smoothie would be the product tie-in for the Haiti program.

For each bottle of Mango Tango sold, the company has pledged to donate 10 cents to the project, with a cap of $500,000 per year through 2015 (when the project concludes). Once again, the Haiti Hope Project logo and pledge are incorporated into the package graphics.

Miller High Life Bottle Cap
Miller High Life beer wants to give veterans a "High Life" experience by sending them to a baseball game or concert.

"With profits from each Odwalla Mango Tango bottle purchased going toward the Haiti Hope Project, packaging is a key point-of-sale communications tool," says Irma Shrivastava, vice president of marketing for Odwalla. "Consumers generally review the packaging before deciding to buy it, so it's important for us to use the packaging to inform them of the project's mission."

Consumers get a taste of the 'high life'

Packaging also plays a special part in the "Give a Veteran a Piece of the High Life" initiative from MillerCoors LLC (, Chicago. Miller High Life regular and Light cans, multipack carriers and bottle tops all sport a yellow-ribbon graphic to flag the products as part of the campaign.

Through the program, MillerCoors donates money to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), giving 10 cents for each bottle cap and can tab returned by consumers. IAVA, in turn, provides veterans with experiences like NASCAR races, concerts, baseball and football games and even a fishing trip to Alaska.

Consumers can return the caps and tabs by mail or at participating stores, restaurants and bars through Sept. 30. Miller High Life plans to contribute up to $1 million in cash and experiences via the campaign this year.

"We wanted to give veterans a positive, memorable experience and raise awareness of the unique issues facing those who have served," says Miller High Life brand manager Brendan Noonan, noting that the campaign is in its second year. "Through this program, veterans will get a 'piece of the High Life' and create a network of peers and ongoing support through IAVA."

He adds, "Writing a check is great, but we wanted to really give vets a piece of the 'High Life,' something that civilians often take for granted — a simple show of gratitude like a baseball game or a chance to go to a concert."

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