Pencils of Promise (PoP) partnered with Stuart Weitzman to launch a campaign to build three schools, one in each of our partner countries (Ghana, Guatemala and Laos). Stuart Weitzman designed a limited edition yellow sandal that served as a focal point for the Shoes for Schools campaign. Our overall goals were to elevate both brands by (1) demonstrating Stuart Weitzman's CSR commitment, (2) showcasing PoP's ability to align itself with a luxury fashion company that might not be accessible to our entire audience, and (3) raising enough money through sales of the shoe to fund the three school builds. Additionally, we wanted to exemplify the way in which NGOs and corporate partners can work together to create social impact while also maintaining their design ethics and company priorities.
As an NGO, we partnered with a luxury shoe brand in a way that was elegant and tasteful, particularly given that the work we are doing is in the developing world where many would not be able to afford the product. We created a legitimate connection between the retail space and the non-profit world, and highlighted the way in which a major fashion brand can make enormous impact for those in need. We also introduced an entirely new audience (Stuart Weitzman's followers and consumers) to PoP in a way that was organic and meaningful.
The campaign centered around a limited-edition yellow sandal that Stuart Weitzman designed; the yellow color was inspired by PoP's logo. 100% of the proceeds from the shoe went toward funding the three school builds in each one of PoP's partner countries: Ghana, Guatemala and Laos.
To kick off the campaign, we hosted a co-branded PoP and Stuart Weitzman dinner at Sadelle's in New York City. We tapped into celebrities and influencers from each organization, including Gigi and Bella Hadid, Solange Knowles, Olivia Culpo, Emmy Rossum, Joan Smalls, Gary Vaynerchuk, Finn Harries and Mishattan, to help spread the word of the campaign and drive sales of the co-branded shoe. Many of them wore the shoe to the event, which received coverage in Vogue, Women's Wear Daily and DuJour, among many other highly read sources.
We also created a motion graphic video to coincide with the launch of the sandal and Shoes for Schools campaign, which we debuted on PoP's Instagram account. Following the dinner launch event, Stuart Weitzman held in-store events throughout the country that same week, with 20% of all sales from the events (including the yellow sandal) going to PoP. In all NYC store events, PoP staff brought Oculus Headsets to showcase our award-winning Virtual Reality film in order to increase customer awareness of PoP's work and encourage consumers to learn more about the impact of a PoP school build.
In May, as a continuation of the campaign, members of the Stuart Weitzman team travelled to Guatemala with Pencils of Promise to get a firsthand look at the impact of their donations. These in-person visits to the field are a unique experience that PoP offers for certain corporate partners in order for them to engage with the non-profit's programmatic work, and create even greater affinity and brand alignment toward the organization. On the trip, the Stuart Weitzman team broke ground on the actual school that their donations are funding and travelled to numerous communities to meet some of the students, teachers and communities impacted by the campaign.
The success of the Shoes for Schools campaign was measured through funds raised, social media engagement, earned media support and overall awareness of the campaign. Through 100% of sales of the yellow sandal going to PoP, plus events held at Stuart Weitzman stores around the country, we raised enough money to fund three school builds.
Stuart Weitzman's PoP Field Trip to Guatemala gained coverage in Elle, InStyle Magazine and The Daily Front Row. The campaign received more than 260 million PR impressions and reached over 25 million people on social media (Instagram/Facebook/Twitter).
Stuart Weitzman not only branded itself as a company committed to social good, but also saw a dramatic increase in retail sales – the yellow PoP sandal completely sold out. Additionally, post-trip, Stuart Weitzman committed to building more schools with PoP in 2017, another testament to the campaign's success. For PoP, this campaign was successful, as the non-profit collaborated with a high-fashion brand that elevated its own image, while at the same time remaining true to its mission of educating children around the world. Further, after attending the PoP Field Trip, former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo was so excited about PoP's work that she sought deeper involvement with the organization; she was named the second-ever PoP Global Ambassador in July 2016.
The partnership demonstrates how high-profile luxury companies can work with NGOs in a way that benefits and amplifies both brands to make meaningful impact, while also increasing profits.
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