CAMPAIGNS: Watch line yields timely results for lymphoma grant

PR Team: Presents for Purpose (New York) Campaign: Time to Cure Grant Time Frame: Spring 2002 - ongoing Budget: Approximately $2,500

PR Team: Presents for Purpose (New York) Campaign: Time to Cure Grant Time Frame: Spring 2002 - ongoing Budget: Approximately $2,500

After beating Hodgkin's disease, Alayna Kassan, 32, and Cynthia Warner, 35, wanted to give something back to the community that paved the way for their successful treatment, but without the constraints placed on a charitable organization. "Research grants are instrumental in advancing research and eradicating disease," Kassan says. "My partner and I were lucky to receive the outstanding medical care we did, and we wanted to help others benefit from the life-saving, cutting-edge medical research made possible by research grants." Strategy "We are essentially promoting dual causes," Kassan says. "We wanted to achieve national awareness for the causes we support, as well as for our fledgling company," Kassan says. "Unlike traditional awareness campaigns," she explains, "we are targeting both the population affected by the causes, as well as the population that's not as familiar." The hope was to reach that audience with a fun, fashionable product. Tactics Last spring, Warner and Kassan created Presents for Purpose, a gift company that donates 25% of proceeds to fund research grants. Their first project was developing a watch line to benefit the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) and fund a grant. They started by writing letters and contacting different consumer and fashion/accessory trade titles and TV shows. They also participated in shopping events and parties, including Shecky's shopping nights in New York City and Junior League events in New York, Florida, and Connecticut to increase visibility. "Recently, we broadened our reach by targeting teen media outlets, because demographics showed that teens liked one of the sporty watch designs," Kassan says. Presents for Purpose also partnered with Hollywood Connections, a firm that provides access to celebrities for support and endorsements. "We get a built-in marketing/ad base because we partner with groups that already have a large database of interested parties," Kassan explains. "We enable these companies to reach out to a larger population who'll feel good because they are buying something they'd have bought anyway, yet the proceeds go to a worthy cause. It's a win-win." Results A series of articles appeared in the LRF newsletter announcing the company's formation, goals, and product information. Kassan also appeared on NBC's Weekend Today to discuss the company. The watches themselves were featured in InStyle magazine and on ABC's The View. Other hits include the inaugural issue of Cachet magazine, Fashion Mannuscript (a fashion-industry trade publication), and an upcoming issue of Bauer Publishing's J-14. The watches and company information were also included as part of celebrity gift bags at the American Music Awards, and were spotlighted at the Bob Hope Celebrity Golf Classic. "After placement in the InStyle holiday issue, we saw a 30% jump in watch sales in the 90 days that the issue was on the stands," Kassan says. "Due to an article in Fashion Mannuscript, we were picked up by a retail outlet in Sanibel, FL, which purchased a bulk order of watches." Kassan says that a research grant starts at $40,000, and can go much higher depending on the timeframe, "so we need to sell another 1,000 watches to reach this goal," she says. "By year-end 2002, we were able to write a $10,000 check to the Lymphoma Research Foundation," and the plan was to write another $5,000 check at some point in early 2003. Future In coming months, the company will launch more "presents for purpose," including an antique-looking mirror and pill-box gift set for Cancercare (a nonprofit that provides free services to people with all cancers), as well as an embroidered baby gift set to help support the SIDS Alliance.

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