Inner Strength - Brawny Towels and Wounded Warrior Project
Brawny Towels faced the problems that many brands do: their sales were stagnant; their biggest competitor was out selling them six to one, making it challenging to get special display support at retail.
In blind product tests, consumers rated the Brawny Towel product better than or at parity with the other premium brands. However, with towel shoppers flying down the aisle on autopilot, this meant few shoppers were seeking out the Brawny brand. They were buying the one easiest to grab (Shelf-dominate) or the one on sale.
In January 2012, Brawny forged a partnership with nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). The organizations shared a brand spirit and value that embody strength. Together, they developed the Inner Strength cause marketing campaign.
Featuring stories of warrior’s inner strength, fifty million packages of custom-wrapped paper towels and bold, in-store displays raised awareness and asked supporters to “Like” the Brawny Facebook page unlocking a $1 donation to WWP with each “Like”. The call to action also asked supporters to write messages of thanks to Wounded Warriors and their families on Facebook for an additional donation. A QR code with a link to the Facebook “Wall of Thanks” appeared on all packaging and displays.
Banners and social media ads drove consumers to Facebook to garner “Likes” and messages on the “Wall of Thanks”. TV spots celebrated the everyday feats of inner strength demonstrated by Wounded Warriors and their families. Free-standing insert coupons were also circulated and national, trade and local media outreach was conducted. The brand engaged top-tier online influencers and bloggers before, during and after the group blogging conference for women – BlogHer – and hosted a kick-off event in Atlanta that engaged over 1,500 employees.
As a result, Brawny led volume growth in the paper towel category, reversing two years of declining share, as well as experienced a 36% increase in Brawny feature and display support at retail. The brand gained 400,000 new fans on Facebook and 21,000 new Twitter followers. 3,600 Facebook thank-you messages were generated and WWP received a $500,000 donation.