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Australian social enterprise Thank You launches in New Zealand and wants its customers to fly a logo from a crane

Australian social enterprise Thank You launches in New Zealand and wants its customers to fly a logo from a crane

Thankyou sells personal care products, bottled water, baby care and nappies, but it also sells a compelling narrative of social responsibility. It’s just launched in New Zealand and is set to shake up its competitors – while also asking its customers to take part in guerrilla marketing. 

Thankyou’s range of products have launched in New Zealand, and are available at Foodstuffs’ New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square outlets. So far, only part of its personal care range is launched, but its baby range will follow within a few months.
 

Thankyou was founded as a bottled water company in 2008 by Daniel and Justine Flynn and Jarryd Burns as teenagers. In Australia, Thankyou has over 50 products available in 5500 outlets. New Zealand is its first new market outside Australia.

The company is owned by the Thankyou Charitable Trust, which distributes 100 percent of the business’s profits to charity partners to fund sustainable development projects to help end global poverty. It has no private shareholders or investors. Its current global partners include World Vision, One Heart World-Wide, Care, Splash, Unicef and Oxfam, and it’s also been linked to faith-based groups like the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse.

It cut ties with Samaritan’s Purse in 2013 after it was revealed the controversial evangelical Christian organisation had been using 78 percent of its budget on religion-oriented activities in developing countries, allocating only 11 percent to aid and disaster recovery. Thankyou had given up to 30 percent of its profits to Samaritan’s Purse since 2010.

Its website says it’ll announce New Zealand project partners in 12 months’ time.

Thankyou’s launch in New Zealand was partially funded by sales of its book, Chapter One. The crowdfunded book was sold with a ‘pay-what-you-want’ structure, reporting that two New Zealanders paid $5,000 each for a book. Over a million dollars was raised for the launch within a month.



The company is known for its practice of using social media to directly lobby stockists, mobilising its Facebook followers to post on 7-Eleven Australia’s page to secure its first retailer in 2011. Thankyou repeated the tactic with Coles and Woolworths two years later with an online petition, even getting two fans to buzz Coles’ and Woolworths’ head offices with helicopters.

Thankyou is currently encouraging Kiwi shoppers to “take meaningful action” to boost its sales during its first 13 weeks in New Zealand. It’s gifted newsletter subscribers with a key on a necklace inscribed with the word ‘dream’, which, Daniel Flynn says, is a call to action:

“We’re asking you to dream for Thankyou. This is a little reminder, can you dream big about what you can do to raise awareness over these next 13 weeks and beyond in your school, in your workplace, online and in your platform, whatever influence you have, big or small.”

It also wants customers to literally go above and beyond to promote it.

Instead of committing funds to a traditional marketing campaign, Thankyou has instead mobilised its social media following to boost its sales in supermarkets over the next 13 weeks by purchasing its products; promoting the products; and gifting Thankyou products to a minimum of two people.

Other promotional activities Thankyou suggests include:

  • Create a song or skit about Thankyou and post on social media.
  • Fly a ‘Thankyou’ banner from a helicopter, crane or significant building in your closest capital city.
  • Get Thankyou into your local café and supermarket.
  • Put on your own Thankyou launch party.
  • Take Thankyou viral on social media.
  • Make Thankyou bumper stickers and hand them out to all your friends.
  • Add Thankyou to your email signature.
  • Find a way to share Thankyou with the All Blacks and get them on board.
  • Get iconic New Zealand businesses like Air NZ to promote Thankyou on their social channels.
  • Get your university café and stores on board.
  • Take a shelfie (a selfie at the supermarket shelf) with Thankyou products and share online.

Its website also offers a letter template for shoppers to download and send to retailers who don’t yet stock the Thankyou range.

First Retail chief executive Chris Wilkinson says he hadn’t previously heard of Thankyou, but praised it as a great concept. He notes that New Zealand brands have been much quicker than their Australian counterparts at developing hybrid business models where commercial and social success is balanced, saying that this means Thankyou may have less traction in the Kiwi market than across the ditch.

Retail X founder and retail strategy director Juanita Neville-Te Rito says she, for one, will switch “practically all” of her own shopping to Thankyou products in their categories.

“The product performs, and I get to help change the world buy buying the product. They cracked the perfect value equation of right price, right performance and a genuine drive to change the world.”

Neville-Te Rito says Thankyou competes effectively against national best FMCG products in Australia, and says the brand will impact both supermarket private label competitors and national brands such as Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark and Frucor.

“Who wouldn’t want to switch to a product that performs at a competitive price if you can helps support these global leaders of change?”

This story was originally published on The Register

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