Barnum's Animals Crackers Go Designer For A Cause

by , Apr 22, 2010, 2:23 PM
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Kraft Foods' Barnum's Animals Crackers are benefiting endangered Asian tigers -- as well as the brand's sales and image -- via a limited-edition, Lilly Pulitzer-designed package and a $100,000 contribution toward protecting the animals.

Consumer awareness of the cause-related promotion has been driven primarily by social media, along with some special exposure through Pulitzer retail outlets and events.

Pulitzer's company, a long supporter of environmental organizations through its "Lilly Loves Green" program, this year invited Barnum's Animals to be its exclusive retail partner in assisting one of those organizations, the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), reports Barnum's Animals associate brand manager Kalshelia Lloyd.

Given Kraft Foods' contributions to a WWF-managed tiger conservation program in Sumatra since 2007, and the cracker brand's iconic red box-with-string packaging featuring wild animal images, Pulitzer viewed Barnum's as a natural partner choice, says Lloyd. Pulitzer's spring collection is inspired by endangered species, and 2010 is also the Chinese "Year of the Tiger" -- two more synergistic reasons behind the partnership, she notes.

The Lilly box design features animals drawn in her fanciful style and a pastel color palette -- a major departure from the nearly 100-year-old brand's realistic animal images and primary colors. The design incorporates a call-out for the brand's donation to WWF and WWF's panda logo.

One million packages of the special Barnum's boxes hit retail shelves nationwide in late March.

Aside from the package itself, the only visibility drivers have been social media and sampling exposure for the brand at Pulitzer events -- including a recent Annual Spring Safari at NYC's American Museum of Natural History -- and in Pulitzer retail locations. (In addition to 75 Lilly Pulitzer Signature Stores and several company-owned retail stores, Pulitzer has branded areas within major, upscale department store chains.)

Obviously, animal crackers are not normally featured in specialty retail locations, making this a valuable new-audience exposure opportunity for Barnum's, stresses Lloyd.

The social media elements -- primarily Pulitzer's Facebook and Twitter presences, supported by promotion of the Barnum's effort on Kraft's Facebook/Twitter pages -- have generated "tremendous" online buzz about the cracker boxes and their tiger support, Lloyd says. (The effort also had some exposure on the Pulitzer and Nabisco World sites.)

Moreover, the cause-related effort has created "great business results" for Barnum's -- including a healthy sales lift, according to Lloyd, who declined to specify the magnitude. The designer box has also benefited the brand by giving it a "fresher, fashionable" look and an updated, environmentally conscious image with existing brand fans, as well building awareness among prospective buyers, Lloyd adds. "It's helped contemporize the brand with people who love it by associating it with a relevant, timely issue," she sums up.

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