Girl Scouts Rebrand Their Cookies: “Every Cookie Has A Mission”

by cv harquail on February 18, 2010

The Girl Scouts have been busy with their organizational re-branding efforts. With the start of the 2010 Cookie Season, they have a new branding campaign specifically designed to make Girl Scout cookies meaningful.

IMG_1046.JPGBack when I wrote the post Wal-Mart Knocks Off the Girl Scouts, about Walmart entering into competition with the Girls Scouts on their iconic Thin Mint cookies, I received scads of angry comments about the prices of Girl Scout cookies. I also got many snarky thank yous for letting people know that reasonably good facsimiles of Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints were available as part of Walmart’s ‘Great Value’ private label offerings.

Beyond the unnecessary anger these comments reflected, they did point out a big problem for the Girls Scouts and their cookies– people had started to treat the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints like regular, ordinary cookies.

Girl Scout cookies, to these readers, were not something special that commanded a high price point or that made a contribution to anything but your waist measurements.

Now, the Girl Scouts themselves are taking the lead in getting their message out. The Girl Scouts have launched a cookie based branding campaign:

“Every Cookie Has a Mission:
To Help Girls Do Great Things”

The campaign includes a few terrific videos, some collateral material (for putting stories into local newspapers) and a significant effort to promote a consistent message. I have no inside information about the campaign per se, but my online searching has shown me that the message is widespread and consistent across regional and local Girl Scouts’ web & print presentations.

We can’t tell yet whether the cookie videos will really “go viral” in the true sense of the term. But, the “Every Cookie Has a Mission” videos are certainly charming, inspiring and to the point.

Take a look at this Cookie video yourself (it’s only 30 seconds long).

The Girls Scouts do need to raise their profile, (re)educate the community about the work the Girl Scouts themselves do, and enducate the community about what Girl Scouting offers to girls and to the larger community.

All of these messages should help the public understand why they should support the Girl Scouts.

Cookies + Mission = Great Branding

Attaching the “Mission” to the cookies themselves is terrific strategy. Girl Scout Cookies, and Thin Mints in particular, have their own cultural capital and celebrity. With the additional branding efforts, the Cookies that Have a Mission communication the meaning of  not only the iconic symbol of the Girl Scouts, or the chief fundraiser for the Girl Scouts, but also the meaning of the Girl Scouts themselves.IMG_0299.JPG

Instead of just having a Thin Mint cookie, you can have a part in the Girl Scouts’ mission to teach leadership skills, teach business skills, and help girls contribute to their communities.

An added benefit? Customers can focus on the mission of the cookies, and not their cost or their calorie counts.

Now, when customers see that the ‘real’ Thin Mints cost 25% more than the national brand ones (e.g., Keebler’s) and 35% more than the Walmart private label ones, they might understand that the price is related not just to the cookie, but to the meaning behind the cookie, to the values the cookie represents, to the activities the cookies support.

After watching this video, do you think you’ll be more inclined to buy Girl Scout cookies?

Because, you know, you wouldn’t be buying a chocolate wafer with a melty mint coating. You’d be buying a Cookie That Has a Mission.  So be prepared, and plan to buy lots of cookies.

Here’s the extended, more poignant version, “What Can A Cookie Do?” (1.25 secs)

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