Many marketers including Kraft Foods, MetLife, CVS and Dr Pepper/Snapple Group are seen contributing millions to a different kind of project involving building neighborhood playgrounds for kids.
The companies are taking up this project to make themselves more popular locally and to build their brand positively. They are also urging their employees to do voluntary service in their communities.
Presently food and beverage companies are under attack for high sugar snacks and drinks in kids drink holders. Also, as first lady Michelle Obama insists on regular exercise for kids to fight and control child obesity, offering play areas is a pleasing reason of these companies, for kids who use wheelchair accessories and those that don’t.
Last month, Dr Pepper/Snapple Group promised $15 million to construct or mend 2000 play areas in the coming three years. In October, for their annual company “Delicious Difference Week”, Kraft Foods, made their playground construction project a major focus. The chief executive Irene Rosenfeld and 1,300 employees built 13 playgrounds, which includes the South Chicago, Washington Park too. The total cost involved in this venture was above $1.4 million.
Companies like Kraft that offered funds for playground building claim that they have not researched if their charity work will boost the brand’s public awareness. Nichole Robinson, vice president of company’s charitable arm, the Kraft Foods Foundation says that playground ventures will add up to company’s standing and uplift its repute.
Some time ago, playgrounds were mostly part of schools or municipalities. However with tumbling local tax revenues, corporate backing is becoming necessary, something we hope to also contribute to, once our cup holder reaches those levels of sales.
Companies offering donations to playgrounds regularly operate in partnership with a Washington based nonprofit group called Kaboom. This group has a detailed proposal to incorporate the community and company volunteers in designing, building and preserving playgrounds. Lately they received applause from Mrs. Obama too for their work.
Kaboom comprises of about 300 corporate partners like Home Depot and Kimberly Clark and based on whether the playground floor is rubberized or not, companies require paying out $75,000 to $500,000 to build a public playground, said its chief executive, Darell Hammond.
Companies are persuading employees to volunteer as charitable funds are scarce. In the past three years, 20% more companies provided paid time on working days for employees to volunteer says the corporate philanthropy committee report.
Companies claim that while deciding on a playground, they choose and allocate resources that are from the area of the playground as they care for worker satisfaction and commitment.