The story behind Lindt’s chocolate Gold Bunny begins with a real bunny. According to Lindt’s web site, many years ago, a Lindt master chocolatier watched his daughter gazing at a rabbit – only to see her burst into tears when the bunny hopped away. The chocolatier was inspired to give her a bunny that couldn’t hop away! That was the start of Lindt’s Gold Bunny.
Born from empathy and caring, the Gold Bunny continues to give. In 2009, Lindt launched a cause marketing campaign for Autism Speaks. Of course, the centerpiece of the campaign is Lindt’s famous chocolate bunny with its signature gold foil and red bow.
Six years later, Gold Bunny’s for Autism Speaks has raised over $700,000 and is going strong. Here’s how Lindt has kept the campaign interesting and multiplying dollars like rabbits!
THE CAUSE PRODUCT IS POPULAR AND ICONIC.
While Lindt adjusts its cause marketing program to keep it fresh, one constant is the Gold Bunny. Since 2009, ten cents from the sale of each Gold Bunny – up to $100,000 per year – has benefited Autism Speaks. For percentage-of-sales (also called purchase-triggered donations) programs to succeed, it’s important to choose a product or service that’s popular with consumers. The donation has to be linked to one of the businesses’ signature offerings. Every business knows what does and doesn’t sell. Nonprofits need to make sure they’re getting a percentage from what does. Lindt was smart and generous to link contributions to its most popular Easter product.
LINDT KEEPS THE CAMPAIGN INTERESTING WITH OTHER ELEMENTS.
Last year, Lindt tapped Pinterest for an additional campaign fundraiser. A Pin 2 Win Gold Bunny Challenge Pinterest effort asked users to create boards focused on Easter traditions that included at least one pin with Lindt Gold Bunny. Once 1,000 or more Pinterest users participated, Lindt donated an additional $10,000. As in past years, fans can go online this year through March 20th to and bid on celebrity-signed porcelain figures of the iconic Lindt Gold Bunny. All of the proceeds benefit Autism Speaks to help support people with autism and their families.
Other past social elements have included a Build a Better Easter Basket with Lindt Gold Bunny game on the Lindt Facebook page where fans could help build the ultimate Easter basket. Hidden in the game are Autism Speaks puzzle pieces and when found the pieces will trigger varying levels of donations to Autism Speaks.
While these additional elements are not the six-figure fundraisers the gold bunnies are, they nonetheless add interest and memorability to the campaign and raise incremental funds.
BEING ALIGNED WITH A HOLIDAY HELPS.
Some of the most successful cause marketing campaigns are connected with holidays. For example, Macy’s Believe fundraiser for Make-A-Wish happens over Christmas when the spirit of giving is peaking. Trick-or-Treat for Unicef has raise millions over several decades because the charity has turned Halloween trick-or-treaters into giving ambassadors. Lindt is riding the wave of another popular holiday, Easter.
The lesson for nonprofits is that that holidays are your fundraising friends. And while you may find the marketplace crowded with other charities, businesses and consumers will be more open to your appeals on days when giving is second only to buying. Which holiday will you make your celebration of giving?