Friday, June 27, 2014

Do you think supporting honey bees helps companies sell stuff?

Last week President Obama announced a task force to address the issue of rapidly diminishing honey bees and other pollinators. 

It's an important issue, and several companies have already adopted it as a pet cause.  Most notably Whole Foods, which this week  is sponsoring "Human Bee-In" events and "Give Bees A Chance" promotions. Participants include General Mills which will donate $1 for each box of Cascadian Farms Buzz Crunch Honey Almond sold, up to $100,000 to the Xerces Society, a leader in pollinator conservation.  Annie's, Barney Butter, Celestial Seasonings and Luna are also making donations. (Mahoney, 2014)

What effect do you think this promotion will have on sales?  Are your purchase decisions influenced by the charitable efforts of the brands you buy?  How?

Mahoney, S. (2014, June 23)  General Mills, Whole Foods Generate Buzz For Bees.  Retrieved June 23, 2014, from


  1. I think sales will increase with this promotion.

    For a consumer, socially responsible shopping offers a lot of feel-good factor for minimal effort. There's a certain appeal in it and I would occasionally opt to shop for brands like such if I'm aware about it. It is also in trend to be socially responsible hence the success of brands like TOMS and Warby Parker. Certain brands also play on the guilt factor, and makes consumers feel guilty for not going 'green' or purchasing sustainable products.

  2. I consider the promotion paid PR, which does influence brand awareness and probably sales, but the increase would likely be hard to measure. It's a great way to tie the brand to a positive connotation in the shoppers' mind. I would say that I am influenced by the charitable efforts of the brands I buy, but only when I have a personal connection to those efforts. I think many consumers are likely to have the same mentality.

  3. This promotion can certainly impact positively the sales of the company. For a lot of people this will impact their purchase decision as they connect the brand to a different and good appeal.
    For me this would certainly influence positively my purchase decision, it would be good to know that the brand care about appeals like this one.

    Rafaela Nissenbaum

  4. For starters, I agree with Erin #2's assertion that charitable endeavors on the part of commercial enterprises are, more or less, "paid PR." Being able to feel good about oneself after consuming a product has tremendous appeal and is part of what sets brands like Chipotle (whose meat is 100% organic and grass-fed) apart from brands like Taco Bell (a company with a history of animal abuse and utilizing low quality meat).

    Further, I believe that such charitable endeavors afford certain products with another means of brand recognition. This is particularly so for an endeavor as distinct as that which Whole Foods has undertaken. Before reading this post, I had no idea that such a Honey Bee crisis existed, nor did I have any idea that Whole Foods had taken such steps to address it. I imagine that whenever I think of Bees from now on, I will make a mental association not only with this crisis, but also with the efforts that Whole Foods has taken to address it and, therefore, with the brand name itself as well.

  5. Surely this promotion makes people think positively about the companies. If they have same positioning as their rivals, the promotion may give them an advantage. However, this promotion is not enough to be the main reason to increase sales. Most people do not buy a product because the producer of the product is protecting honey bees, instead of a better or a cheaper product. The effect exists but it's small.
    Orkun Altinoz