October 21, 2011
Italian label Gucci is continuing its participation in the United Nations Children's Fund’s holiday Gifts That Give Back program through a $250,000 donation and a specially-designed bag.
The program’s mission is reducing the number of daily, preventable deaths of children under 5 from 21,000 to zero. Gucci, Disney, IKEA, Delta Air Lines, K.I.N.D. and Threadless Good Shirts collection are this year’s participants.
“UNICEF’s partnerships with major brands like Gucci not only help raise critical funds for UNICEF’s lifesaving work, but also help us reach important new audiences through our partners’ marketing efforts,” said Deanna Helmig, managing director of corporate partnerships of U.S. Fund for UNICEF, New York.
“As UNICEF is the leading global children’s organization, UNICEF has strong brand recognition and affinity among consumers,” she said. “When companies conduct gifts that give activities benefiting UNICEF, it not only raises critical funds for UNICEF’s life-saving programs, but also positions the company or brand as one that cares about children, a cause that is important to consumers.
“Partnering with UNICEF provides an opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves during the holiday season.”
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF allows consumers to donate money towards buying life-saving supplies that make a difference in the lives of children in need.
Money from the programs supplies therapeutic milk, medical supplies, polio and measles vaccines, mosquito nets, nutritional supplements, notebooks and pencils for schools, hand pumps for drinking water and winter child survival packs and tents.
Consumers can find more information at http://www.inspiredgifts.org.
Other ways to give back include holiday cards, ornaments, bangles, calendars and picture atlases. A portion of sales will be donated to UNICEF and more information can be found at www.shopcardsandgifts.unicefusa.org.
Gucci has been a partner with UNICEF for four years.
The brand donated $250,000 to UNICEF’s Schools for Africa initiative in honor of the partnership.
This program aims to increase access to quality schooling with a special emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged, including children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and children living in extreme poverty, according to UNICEF.
Gucci will also be releasing, “Gucci: The Making Of…” which is a book celebrating the brand’s 90th anniversary and displays the label’s tribute to heritage and its influence. The book is bound and slip-cased in bonded leather and is $85.
Courtesy of Gucci
Gucci will also be updating its “Gucci for UNICEF” Sukey bag. Approximately 25 percent of the retail price for each bag -- $1,430 -- will be donated to UNICEF. The Sukey bag features the Diamante motif in deep chocolate.
Gucci's Sukey for UNICEF bag
Both the Sukey bag and the book are available in Gucci boutiques and on the ecommerce site at http://www.gucci.com.
To add to the charity, Gucci has also pledged a $1 million donation from the Gucci Children’s Collection.
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In addition to its efforts with UNICEF, Gucci boasts a variety of charity work.
The brand’s social responsibility outline on its Web site includes work for Mainly I Love Kids, PPR Foundation, Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now and China Children and Teenagers Fund.
Gucci's philanthropy work outlined on the Web site
“I think that there are executives out there that believe in helping,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, New York. “I believe in brands getting credit for real, genuine help because it’s what they believe in and because they are good human beings.
“It is good for business and I think that everyone believes that they can do well by doing good,” he said.
Luxury brands do like to be affiliated with charities that help people, especially children, because it creates a halo effect to which consumers can relate (see story).
For instance, Four Seasons hotels worldwide are collecting new and gently-used school supplies for local students, and enlisting guests who stay at their properties to help (see story).
Also, hotel chain Ritz-Carlton is reaffirming its role as community supporter for underprivileged children with its Succeed Through Service campaign (see story).
“There's no question that people are much more oriented toward brands that serve a larger purpose than just big bucks, especially in luxury where you don’t sell necessities,” Mr. Pedraza said.
“Positive, self-enforcing brands that benefit the children enables the connection between children and the brand to become stronger,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s just a marketing approach.
“There are executives who want to have meaningful lives too, and believe in helping good causes.”
Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York