American Marketer


Luxury brands show generous hearts through long-term St. Jude collaborations

September 28, 2015

Lancôme #LancomeGivesBack post Lancôme #LancomeGivesBack post


During September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a number of brands are doing their part to put a spotlight on the cause through partnerships with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

From fundraising campaigns to social initiatives and displays of solidarity, brands such as Lancôme, Brizo and the Trump Hotel Collection are leveraging their marketing skills to boost the profile of the medical center. Pairing up with a well-known organization and cause is often an effective way of making a larger impact.

"St. Jude means something different to each of us – especially anyone whose lives have been touched by childhood cancer or another catastrophic disease," said Brian Nobbe, Brizo brand director.

"As a national sponsor for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, Brizo actively works to raise awareness for the St. Jude initiative throughout the year, through marketing and media efforts, additional fundraising activities and of course, through our social media channels," he said. "We relish the opportunity to help amplify St. Jude’s message and further their cause."

Helping hands

St. Jude, opened in 1962, focuses on changing how childhood diseases such as cancer are understood, treated and overcome. When breakthroughs are discovered, they are shared with the entire medical community, extending the impact of support beyond the one medical center.

Unlike other hospitals, the facility in Memphis, TN does not take any money from its patients or their families for its work, relying heavily on donations to stay open. About 75 percent of the operating budget for St. Jude comes from public donations. jude kids

Promotional image for Trump St. Jude campaign

Because of this business model, St. Jude is consistently in need of support, and a number of brands have joined them in their fundraising efforts.

Trump International Hotel has been a longstanding partner of St. Jude. Eric Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for The Trump Organization, created a foundation in 2006 specifically to raise funds for St. Jude. To-date, it has donated almost $28 million to the hospital.

This September, the chain’s Trump International Hotel & Tower New York is getting guests and passersby involved. As shared on social media, ribbons can be purchased for $5 each and then tied around the globe out front, with all proceeds going to St. Jude.

Trump Ribbons St Jude 2015

Instagram image from Trump New York

The property is also hosting an auction of celebrity memorabilia, such as a Mark Wahlberg autographed photo, as a benefit.

"At Trump Central Park, we have executed several initiatives to help raise money and awareness for St. Jude in conjunction with the Eric Trump Foundation," said Suzie Mills, general manager of Trump International Hotel and Tower, New York.

"Through October, we are continuing our 'Ribbon on Columbus Circle' program, where guests or the public may purchase a burgundy ribbon for $5 and tie it to the area below the iconic globe on Columbus Circle," she said. "Additionally, we have bikes available for rent and ride in Central Park, where a portion of the proceeds to St. Jude's.

"We've been fortunate to have many celebrities donate auction items, including Jane Lynch's 'Sue Sylvester' track suit from the TV show 'Glee'; Wendie Malick’s 'Victoria Chase' dress from the TV show 'Hot in Cleveland' and script cover signed by Jane Leeves; Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick, Betty White and Mark Wahlberg autographed photos; Tom Petty signed guitar; Seth Green autographed DVD’s and John McEnroe signed tennis ball.

"We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests and we're happy to provide them with an opportunity to donate to such an amazing cause."

Beauty marketer Lancôme is asking consumers to show their hearts for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in a user-generated content campaign.

Starting Sept. 22, the brand prompted its followers to share images of themselves making a heart out of their hands to Twitter or Instagram, with each photo tagged #LancomeGivesBack sending $1 to the pediatric healthcare provider. Simple fundraising efforts that have low barriers of entry for consumers can help brands make a larger impact through widespread participation (see story).

This is part of a multi-year partnership with Lancôme, which also includes a donation made to St. Jude with each purchase of Genifique on a certain day.

Lancome Genefique email

Screenshot of Lancome email newsletter about Genifique Day 2014

Brizo used its own social channels to promote St. Jude’s #ShowYourGold social campaign, which asks for user-generated content. Consumers can snap a picture and add golden warrior garb to help join the fight and then post it to social media as their profile picture.

Brizo St. Jude

Facebook post from Brizo

Brizo donates fixtures accessories for the kitchen and bath to St. Jude’s Dream Home Giveaway. Raffle tickets are sold for the houses, with the proceeds raising money for the organization.

"As a brand, Brizo is committed to being a good citizen of our community, which means we are dedicated to making our purpose not just about the products we make but rather, the mark we make on the world," Mr. Nobbe said. "It’s this belief that unites Brizo with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St Jude New Orleans Dream Home

Rendering of Dream Home in New Orleans

"The dedication, work and progress St. Jude has made in the fight against childhood cancer is inspiring and spoke to us on a very personal level," he said. "The St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway program is one of the largest single-event fundraisers for St. Jude nationwide, and we have been proud to be a national sponsor of the program since 2010.

"Through this relationship, Brizo has contributed product to each of the homes built, including kitchen faucets with SmartTouch technology and showers featuring H2Okinetic technology."

Teaming up
During the month of October, a bevy of luxury brands take up the cause of breast cancer awareness, but are these campaigns truly effective?

From donating portions of sales to getting the word out through social campaigns, brands actively promote their part in the initiative. However, with so many different campaigns going on, it may be difficult for the participating brands to get noticed in a sea of pink (see story).

Unlike October, September's awareness campaign is less cluttered, which may leave consumers more open to giving.

These partnerships have lives outside of a specific awareness month.

For instance, last year the Trump Hotel Collection furthered its holiday partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the annual Thanks and Giving campaign with additional incentives for guests to get involved.

To complement its strong social media presence, the hotel chain offered guests a variety of offers that had built-in donations. Trump Hotel’s commitment to the Thanks and Giving campaign conveyed an integrity that likely appealed to consumers who were moved the previous year (see story).

"For Brizo, this partnership isn’t about benefitting our brand image," Mr. Nobbe said. "We have had the opportunity to work with members of the builder community across the country to help make dreams come true for countless families.

"It’s an honor to be affiliated with such a meaningful organization that makes such great strides to give countless children and their families more hope for tomorrow."

Final Take
Sarah Jones, staff reporter on Luxury Daily, New York