Disrupting the Win-Win of Box Tops for Education
General Mills has long been one of the most philanthropic companies in the world. In 1996, they were ahead of their time in developing the Box Tops for Education™ program. The idea was simple, General Mills wanted to develop a way to support education in conjunction with their brands.
How it Works
What General Mills came up with was a philanthropic coupon. This coupon, also known as a Box Top, is attached to their product’s packages in 10 cent units. Consumers cut out, collect and send to the school of their choice. The schools collect box tops, send them in and receive checks from General Mills twice a year. Box Tops have expanded beyond General Mills’ products and have earned schools over $800 million.
Box Tops provide a very low cost in advertising (10 cents to be exact) while creating a Give Back connection in the consumer’s mind. They equate purchasing General Mills (and other Box Tops participating brands) to supporting their schools. This drives loyalty. While perusing the grocery aisle, parents are much more likely to select box tops brands because of the added benefits. The additional revenue that the sales bring in far outweighs the cost to support the school. Box Tops drive incremental revenue and the brands participating can tell the world about their philanthropic education programs. All of this happens while increasing their bottom line.
Is it still Win-Win?
There are obvious benefits for the schools who receive box tops. Any money received through Box Tops for Education goes directly to improving the quality of their school. In turn, General Mills and other brands receive impactful pro-social marketing benefits paired with consumer loyalty.
We are all about ‘Give to Education’, but there are downsides to the Box Tops for Education™ programs. First of all, there’s some work involved. Cutting out these little pieces of cardboard, collecting them to a point where the money is meaningful and delivering them to school can be laborious for some. On the education end, each participating school needs a ‘coordinator’ who collects the box tops, sends them in for redemption and tracks to ensure that a check is received. Yes, there are online ways to earn box tops, but the majority are still cut outs of physical packaging (just like in the good old days).
We know what you’re thinking: There’s got to be a better way to do this, right? Ding, ding we have a winner! What Box Tops for Education™ has done is lay the foundation for PhilanthroMarketing™. PhilanthroMarketing™ is defined as marketing inspiring pro-social experiences to grow good in the world.
The need and benefit of these philanthropic models is growing by the day. Brands like Toms and Warby Parker utilize a Get One, Give One approach while companies such as Suburu reward customers with philanthropic gifts after they purchase or lease a car. This is the ultimate win-win for the business world: Drive sales AND make the world a better place.
At DoTopia, we drive the PhilanthroMarketing™ movement by inspiring individual acts of giving. We partner with brands to spark customer and employee loyalty by leveraging DoDollars. By utilizing DoDollars, brands reap the benefits of the Box Tops program while reducing work and increasing choice beyond education. This aligns perfectly with the new workplace/marketplace’s (Millennials and Gen Z) need for choice and social impact in all aspects of their lives.
Join the PhilanthroMarketing™ movement today!