Timberland rallies around Arbor Day

Timberland and corporate communications AOR Cone launched an Arbor Day campaign this year to reinforce the company's environmental leadership.

Client: Timberland (Stratham, NH)
Agency: Cone (Boston, MA)
Campaign: Arbor Day
Duration: April 26 - April 29
Budget: under $100,000

Timberland and corporate communications AOR Cone launched an Arbor Day (April 29) campaign this year to reinforce the company's environmental leadership.

“We've planted about 1 million trees, and we made a commitment to plant 5 million more,” explains Timberland's VP of global marketing Jim Davey. “Arbor Day got a little usurped by Earth Day. Rallying around it was an interesting way to meet our strategic goals of talking about our earth-keeping message…[and highlight] the importance of the environment in a way that's strongly connected to our brand.”

The team primarily engaged consumers on Timberland's Facebook and Twitter pages. A virtual tree-planting application, introduced in 2009, was relaunched on Facebook in April. It allows visitors to enter a virtual forest, choose the type of tree they want to plant, and Timberland follows through by planting a real tree. Other content included a survey, a quiz and a video.

The survey reinforced the team's hypothesis that people know about Arbor Day, but few people know when it takes place or how to get involved. Results were posted on Facebook and Twitter and used to pitch general consumer media, green bloggers, and what Cone's VP of brand marketing Marc Berliner refers to as “lighter” green trades.

A funny “man on the street” video, in which people answer questions about trees and Arbor Day, was posted on Facebook and YouTube.

A hortiscope quiz that links personality traits to tree species was also posted on Facebook.

Additional Facebook and Twitter posts included highlights of Timberland employee quiz results and reminders to visit the virtual forest.

Timberland's homepage was taken over on Arbor Day, with messaging encouraging visitors to celebrate and visit the virtual forest.

April 26 to May 3, virtual forest application installs increased 138% compared to the previous week, and 6,430 trees were planted, up 35% from the previous week.

Traditional, online, and social media impressions combined totaled more than 91 million. Outlets covering the story included AP, Forbes.com, CNBC.com, and USAToday.com.

Davey is very pleased, noting that a spring 2010 environmentally focused campaign resulted in between 20 million and 30 million total impressions.

The quiz and video garnered 36,310 and 211,606 impressions, respectively.

The team is preparing for the launch of fall Earthkeepers products and touting a new CSR portal.

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