General Mills, Mars Make It Easier To Gift Charities, Friends

General Mills and Mars are harnessing digital technology to make it as frictionless as possible for consumers to make charitable contributions to schools and to send sweet micro-gifts to friends and family.

For the past 23 years, buyers of General Mills products had to clip and mail box tops to contribute to the Box Tops for Education program, which has generated more than $913 million for some 70,000 schools.

With the company’s new mobile app, consumers scan their store receipts and earn 10 cents for schools of their choosing for each product purchased.

When a receipt is scanned, the funds are automatically added to the running total for a selected school. Supporters can track their contributions to see in real time how they are making an impact to fund things like supplies, field trips and playground equipment.



It’s one way to bring a new generation of supporters and brands into the school-aid program, according to Box Tops for Education Manager Erin Anderson.

There are hundreds of General Mills brands involved, including Annie’s, Old El Paso, Cheerios, Chex, Toast Crunch, Kix, Cascadian Farm, Nature Valley and Larabar.

Participating General Mills products will feature a Box Tops for Education label on their packaging.

Mars’ Snickers brand has just launched its first micro-gifting initiative with a program titled “Big Mood,” which features Oakland rapper and YouTube star Caleon Fox.

It’s aimed at countering what Mars sees as “the negativity displayed across thousands of mobile screens daily.”

Fox has created custom videos to reflect different comical moods, entitled things like “Lovey Dovey,” “Uh-Huh, Sure” and “Surprised Like Whoa.”

Until the end of September, users can send friends one of the videos along with a personalized message and a gift card to redeem for a Snickers bar at any Walmart store. They do so by texting BIG MOOD to 62770, scanning the QR code found on Big Mood displays in Walmart stores across the country, or by visiting

Another snack brand, Pepsico’s kids-oriented Imagine, this week embarked on a three-year partnership with No Kid Hungry, that will provide up to three million meals to U.S. kids in need. Pepsico says 12.5 million children live in a household without consistent access to enough food. Consumers can donate to a special Imagine website or that of the No Kid Hungry organization, with each dollar donated providing 10 meals.

Imagine is also  providing $50,000 in grants to summer meal sites across the country.

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