The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Doing Good, And Wanting A Piece Of It

On my way home from work, I heard a piece on NPR about the Quaker Oats Company sponsoring a northwest adventure Sergeant Preston of the Yukon/CBS/1955-58 and gave away one-inch plots of Yukon land as an incentive to buy their cereals — 21 million tiny parcels in all.

The promotion worked, causing a mini “land rush.” It all began on January 27, 1954 when a nationwide newspaper advertisement read: “Get a real deed to one-square-inch of land in the Yukon gold rush country…You’ll actually own one-square-inch of Yukon land.” Becoming a land owner was as simple as buying a box of Quaker Oats Puffed Wheat, Puffed Rice or Shredded Wheat. Inside each box you’d find a “Deed of Land” from the “Klondike Big Inch Land Company.” 

To me, it doesn’t sound too much different than these more upscale programs:

The Original Vine Rental Club Your own row of vines in an award-winning vineyard! Become part of an exclusive club that offers fun, involvement, and quality wines at special prices. A present for a birthday, a colleague, or to say how much you love someone, renting a row of vines in France, Italy, or England makes a special present.Whatever the occasion, WineShare is the perfect gift for lovers of wine, who would like to be involved in its journey from vine to bottle.
St. Helena Winery The Adopt-a-Vine program turns the traditional winery on its head: wine lovers can’t buy St. Helena Winery’s wine, they adopt the vines on the couple’s Napa Valley estate.
Nudo Nudo is an olive grove. And part of it can be yours.Adopt one of its trees for a year and you’ll receive all the produce from your tree. Imagine dunking your bread in your own oil from your own tree 1,500 miles away on a hillside in Italy.
Hang the consequences. Adopt an olive tree.
Catch A Piece Of Maine At a time when local fishermen are struggling to make a living, Catch a Piece of Maine’s partnership program allows lobstermen to receive a premium for their product while also preserving their sustainable fishing methods, the company says. This also gives customers the feeling of indirect participation in an activity very few ever get to experience as well as a geographical connection and a story to tell about the source of their food.
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…and those are targetted at adults! Just goes to show you that the feeling of ownership, whether land, cattle, vineyards, trees or even your local highway – empowers people.

The stories these promotions generate is a large part of their success, because from a manufacturing and distribution standpoint, I can’t imagine it’s the most efficient approach. There is something sort of interesting about drizzle my salad or serving a wine from “my own tree or vine on an Italian hillside,” perhaps one day I might actually get to visit it.

Espresso Shot Insight (what’s this?)

Marketing concepts that create a win-win for both consumer, business and environment spread quickly.

In this case, consumers can connect to the source of their (organic) food (though it’s far from local); new, entrepreneurial farmers gain a steady income; and small scale, artisanal farming helps keep the countryside looking quintessentially bucolic.

What creative win-win programs have you come up with that benefit your business and/or your community?

 

About the Author: Christine Haskell

Christine is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft with several years experience in the .com industry. She recently started social venture labs, an idea incubator for those leading small mission-driven businesses or organizations looking to create relationships, share ideas and [...]

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