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    'Box Tops for Education' Keeps Growing

    Land O’Lakes, Welch’s and Brita have joined the program.

    “Box Tops for Education” (BTFE), the General Mills fundraising program that benefits more than 70,000 of America’s K-8 schools, got three new corporate partners at the start of the 2010 school year, bringing the program’s total number of corporate partnerships to eight. Shoppers will now find Box Tops coupons on Land O’Lakes butter, cheese and eggs, Welch’s Jams and Jellies, and Brita water filters. The expanded initiative gives schools more opportunities to earn cash, and enables retailers to gain an advantage with moms, whom Minneapolis-based General Mills refers to as “a loyal and passionate audience.”

    Since 1996, when consumer packed goods giant introduced BTFE, schools have earned more than $340 million by clipping the coupons off groceries and school and office supplies. Last year, schools earned more than $49 million in cash towards such supplies as computers, books, art supplies and playground equipment.

    “This back-to-school season has been bigger and better than ever when it comes to Box Tops for Education, as our presence now spans across 30 categories and throughout the grocery store,” noted program director Zack Ruderman. “The scale of the program is expanding as we welcome several new partners and General Mills brands.”

    The three new partners join Avery, Nestlé Juicy Juice, Kimberly-Clark, Pactiv and SC Johnson in BTFE. Additional taking part in the program are General Mills products Totino’s Party Pizza, Progresso Soup, Betty Crocker Cake Mix, as well as recently introduced Yoplait Splitz Yogurt and Nature Valley Granola Thins snack bars.

    To enhance consumer engagement and build awareness, Progresso Soup, Pillsbury refrigerated baked goods and Totino’s Party Pizza and Pizza Rolls snacks separately rolled out dedicated TV advertising campaigns in the fall publicizing that that BTFE coupons are on their packaging. “The TV ads are a very fun way to share this exciting news with consumers,” explained Progresso marketing manager Chad Johnson. “While our deliciously hearty soups don’t actually come in a box, we want to establish common ground with Box Tops clippers and Progresso Soup fans. We hope this ad will have them searching their Progresso Soup can for the Box Tops coupon on the label.”

    According to Ruderman, one reason the program works so well is its simplicity. “General Mills and its partners feature Box Tops coupons that are readily visible on product packages and that are each worth 10 cents, which is a greater value than many loyalty programs,” he said. “Consumers clip the coupons, send them to school with their children; the school submits them to our Box Tops fulfillment house, which sends a check directly to the school twice a year. The coupons can also be dropped in collection boxes at grocers, or other collection points, such as local businesses and community organizations.”

    While schools can benefits from BTFE, brand partners that participate in the program are also winners. “Today’s consumers expect brands to stand for something meaningful, and Box Tops for Education definitely makes a difference for our kids,” observed BTFE brand manager Kimmra Hingher. “Those brands that highlight their partnership with Box Tops on the educational front are adding value in a very direct and emotional way. Consumers have an incentive to purchase products that have the Box Tops coupon, each worth 10 cents to their child’s school, and that cash adds up quickly.”

    Along with earning money by clipping program coupons, shoppers can earn even more for their chosen schools by purchasing items online at such major retailers as Target, Best Buy, JCPenney and Barnes & Noble through the Box Tops Marketplace and Reading Room. Qualifying purchases earn eBoxTops that are electronically credited and donated to the shopper’s preferred school.

    To learn more about the program, consumers can visit www.btfe.com.

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