STRATHAM, NH: Lindt USA has added a Facebook game that prompts donations to Autism Speaks in its sixth consecutive year of partnership with the nonprofit.
The chocolatier is also lending its support through initiatives featuring its iconic gold bunny figure. Through Easter Sunday, Lindt will donate 10 cents to Autism Speaks for every gold bunny sold.
An auction is also featuring porcelain versions of the bunny, each signed by a celebrity supporting the cause. All of the proceeds of that element will go towards Autism Speaks. This year, more than 90 celebrities will sign bunnies.
"We depend on the celebrities," said Alec Elbert, chief strategy and development officer at Autism Speaks. "They start the conversation."
New elements this year include the "Build a Better Easter Basket with Lindt Gold Bunny" initiative, which is being hosted on Lindt’s Facebook page through April 15. Fans can help the character on a virtual Easter egg hunt to build "the ultimate Easter basket." The game features Autism Speaks puzzle pieces that, when found, trigger various levels of donations to the nonprofit. Players also have the chance to win one of 25 Lindt Easter baskets.
Also this month, select Lindt Chocolate Shops will host Autism Speaks Benefit Shopping Nights, from which 15% of proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit. Attendees will be treated to special discounts, goodie bags, complimentary chocolates, and the chance to win a Lindt chocolate-filled Easter basket.
In total, the company plans to donate more than $130,000 this Easter season to support the Autism cause. Tuesday was Autism Awareness Day.
Boston-based Cone Communications is Lindt USA’s AOR. While the firm has worked with Autism Speaks previously, it is not representing the group except by association with Lindt.
Elbert added that the choclatier can use its creativity, social network, and the power of its iconic brand to build awareness for Autism, which can be an otherwise difficult subject to start a conversation about.
Elbert noted that research and support for families are two areas in need of funding.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder. One in every 42 boys is diagnosed with ASD, nearly five times the rate of girls, for whom the rate is one in 189.
"We really depend on the social following that Lindt provides," said Elbert. "People know what Lindt is and know what they stand for." He added that most of the group’s PR is conducted in-house.
He added that Autism Speaks uses its social media platforms to describe the support from Lindt.