Case Study: Custom Mailer Promotes Ocean Preservation

20 Jul

{From ASI July 19, 2002}

Case Study: Custom Mailer Promotes Ocean Preservation

A clean beauty brand wanted to raise awareness of its partnership with a conservation group during World Ocean Month in June.

June was World Ocean Month, and clean skincare brand Biossance wanted to show its commitment to protecting the sea – through a giveback partnership with conservation nonprofit Oceana. So, naturally, the company turned to promotional products and custom kitting.

Biossance’s PR firm put together special sea-themed mailers to send to about 150 influencers. “They always want their influencer gifting to be super-interactional to get all that buzz and make people feel good,” says Devon Kaiser, an account manager at Top 40 distributor HALO (asi/356000). “They want something they can take with them and not just use once and throw in the trash.”

The limited-edition kit included a variety of creams and serums made with sugarcane-derived squalane. Historically, the substance was made from the livers of sharks, but Biossance created its version through sugarcane fermentation. The company says its vegan squalane saves 2 million sharks a year. Plus, the beauty brand has donated more than $300,000 to Oceana. The kit also included mineral sunscreen – a more ocean-friendly choice than sunblock that contains chemicals that harm coral reefs.

To help reinforce the shark-saving message, Kaiser sourced coolers from AAA Innovations (asi/30023), which included a custom digitally printed wrap featuring the Biossance logo and blue and white sharks. Kaiser also sourced reusable glass water bottles with bamboo lids from Top 40 supplier Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125). Biossance’s PR company also tucked a shark-fin ice cube tray into the kit.

The mailer was a success, Kaiser says, with a number of recipients unboxing their kits on social media.

Kaiser has noticed sustainability becoming a bigger part of the conversation with clients these days, but that conversation is often complicated when pricing comes into play. “I have clients that come in hot and heavy and say, ‘We need organic cotton totes and this and that,’” Kaiser adds. “Then when they find out the pricing they’ll usually fall back to a cotton or rPET tote. … I think it’s kind of like eating organic. You have to understand that it’s not the same as ordering off the dollar menu.”

What Can You Do?

If sustainability is front-and-center in a client’s brand message, it’s important that their promotional products reflect that message. Here are three tips to ensure they stay on brand.

  1. Start the discussion early. Kaiser had a client recently that wanted to use soy ink and recycled materials in a mailer, but didn’t bring it up until late in the development process. The earlier such requests happen, the more likely they can be accommodated.
  2. Supercharge giving. If your client is already reserving a certain portion of profits to a particular conservation effort, look for products that include a giveback element – whether it’s for the same nonprofit or something similar. Many suppliers offer retail brands with built-in giving or have their own giveback agreements through organizations like 1% for the Planet.
  3. Level up your packaging. Look for more sustainable packing options that minimize waste while still presenting your client’s brand in an attractive way – and keep items being shipped safe and secure. There are companies, for example, that offer recycled tissue paper that can be custom printed with a brand’s logo.

If you are interested in these products to promote your own business, or if you wish to see some samples, email for information and pricing.

And as always, if you really want to do something sustainable, do not buy promotional products. All products are consumption at one level or another. So if you must buy, 1) Buy local (i.e. made in USA), 2) Buy useful, long lasting items, 3) Buy sustainable/recycled/recyclable products if possible.

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