Children's Hospital Reels in a Winner

Yesterday I wrote about a new cause marketing partnership between Brigham's Ice Cream and Children's Hospital Boston that hopes to raise at least $50,000 for kids living with HIV/AIDS. This is the type of partnership that local cause marketers like me relish. It's also a good model for new cause marketers who want to develop local programs with area companies.

The program involves a Boston nonprofit (Children's Hospital), a neighborhood ice cream maker (Brigham's, which has 20+ restaurants in Mass and New Hampshire) and a New England celebrity (The Mad Fisherman). The partnership shows that a splashy, integrated and potentially lucrative cause marketing program is not just for big national chains.  There's opportunity for all nonprofits and for profits, regardless of size.  It's just a matter of desire, marketing savvy and scale.

The piece that really brings this program together is Charlie Moore, The Mad Fisherman. With a growing, loyal fan base here in New England, Charlie's involvement is a great selling point for Brigham's.  Brigham's customers will enjoy a new celebrity flavor and fans of Charlie will get their first taste of Brigham's ice cream. Brigham's also benefits from Charlie's local T.V. show, personal appearances and web site--all vehicles for promoting his new ice cream.  Nothing like free advertising.

Another great component of this campaign is the coupon sheet Brigham's is selling at its restaurants.  Customers can purchase a sheet of coupons for $5 and save up to $18 on 12 cones through the end of July.  Brigham's restaurants are busy during the summer months so they'll have plenty of foot traffic for selling the coupons.  My only concern is the ask: five bucks.  Ouch.  That's a lot to ask from a customer, especially at a chain like Brigham's where your average food tab is much lower than at other restaurants.  Someone who just spent four bucks on an ice cream isn't going to shell out five for a donation.  It's too disproportionate an ask to, say, spending $50 on a meal and then making for a five dollar donation.  And while the coupons are great, the savings is modest and you have to use them by July 31st.

Of course, I may be underestimating people's love for Brigham's ice cream (New Englanders do eat more ice cream than any other part of the country) and their generosity toward Children's Hospital Boston, which might be the program's greatest asset.  People love to help kids and Children's is a well known provider.  Children's is as well known for helping sick kids as Charlie is for fishing and Brigham's is for ice cream.  There are no minnows swimming in this program.  They are all keepers.