Older Americans should have no problem remembering Paul Newman, the iconic star of classics movies like Cool Hand Luke and The Sting. And while younger people might not know his Hollywood credits, they’re likely to recognize the actor’s trademark grin from browsing the supermarket. Since 1982 Newman’s Own has placed Paul’s face on everything from salad dressing to snacks, but not in the name of making a buck. The brand donates all of its profits to charity, amounting to more than $485 million since its founding.
But like knowledge of Newman’s film career among the youth, many people have no idea that the company acts so generously. For years Newman’s Own has tried to get the message across by putting “All Profits Go to Charity” on its packaging. However, most consumers seem to pay attention to Newman’s face on the label rather than the message. “They might see it the first time, but the second or third time they only see Paul’s face,” said Bruce Bruemmer, vice president of marketing at Newman’s Own. “The ‘All Profits to Charity’ is lost.” As a result, only a third of the company’s customers know about its altruistic mission.
Newman’s Own executives discovered that while older patrons tended to know about the brand and its history, millennials were largely left in the dark. After all, the company has kept a tight budget over the years by spending very little on advertising and instead depending on Newman’s fame to get the word out. With this strategy now outdated, the company has launched a new marketing plan focused on winning over millennials. Along with a social media blitz focused on a series of professionally produced videos, Newman’s Own has also emblazoned the phrase “100% Profits to Charity” in large print at the top of all its packaging. The company hopes these efforts will connect the brand to a younger generation that prefers to support businesses with strong philanthropic missions.
- What are other cost-effective ways for Newman’s Own to let customers know about its charitable giving?
- Why do you think millennials tend to favor companies with philanthropic missions?
Source: Zach Schonbrun, “Paul Newman Who? Salad Dressing Company Adjusts to Reach Millennials,” The New York Times, November 13, 2016. Photo by Newman’s Own.