Volcom’s “Give Jeans a Chance” Recycling Program Aims to Get Youth “Stoked” About Helping Homeless

Volcom, a company that makes designer jeans, surfwear, and other apparel for the youth market, is taking steps toward corporate social responsibility with the announcement of its second year of its “Give Jeans a Chance” program.  Customers can bring a good condition, used pair of jeans to one of 300 retail locations and donate them to homeless shelters through the program, which last year collected 5,000 pairs of good quality used jeans.  The company aims to collect 10,000 pairs this year. As part of the brand strategy for Volcom, customers donating used jeans will receive a Volcom-branded hat, T-shirt or sticker with the “Give Jeans a Chance” tagline.  The program is being conducted in partnership with the National Coalition for the Homeless.  As Volcom’s target market is largely skating, surfing youth, this effort at corporate philanthropy engages a constituent group that may otherwise not be exposed to much socially responsible business entities (this is not the Whole Foods demographic).  So what can other companies learn about the effort at engaging target markets that are not necessarily deep green?   First off, the company communicates on the level of its clientele:  “Last year’s drive proved to be rewarding to all involved,” said Derek Sabori, Volcom’s Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. “You see the photos and people are just stoked… Stoked to give back.” There are tangible rewards for the jeans recycler, too.  Besides the branded T, sticker or (presumably flat-brimmed) hat, donors are entered into a raffle with potential to win a year supply of Volcom Brand Jeans, a $1,000 Volcom prize pack or one of the 50 runner up prize packages being offered.  And they may be just as stoked about that as the actual program itself, showing that tangible rewards, even branded ones that improve customer loyalty and are part of a company’s broader specialty advertising campaign, can engender positive goodwill among customer groups.

Scott Cooney is a Volcom jeans-wearer, surfs the fantastic waves of San Francisco, and uses the words “rad” and “stoked” regularly in conversation, clearly indicating that it’s not just youth that can be influenced by corporate cause marketing strategies such as the one above.

Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.

2 responses

  1. Last year’s drive proved to be rewarding to all involved,” said Derek Sabori, Volcom’s Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

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