Aldi, the grocery chain with 1,700 U.S. stores in 35 states, partnered with PayPal’s peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app Venmo to donate 1 million meals to the needy this month, per a statement. Every time a Venmo user adds a special Turkey Hand Friendsgiving emoji in the text section of a payment, Aldi will donate 10 meals to Feeding America, the biggest domestic hunger-relief organization.
The program with Aldi is the first time Venmo has created a custom emoji with a partner. The Turkey Hand emoji is modeled after the popular childhood art project of tracing a handprint to make a picture of a turkey.
Venmo users can also type the word “Friendsgiving” to autocomplete to make an Aldi donation to a local food bank. Aldi has supported Feeding America with contributions, employee volunteerism and food donations.
Social giving campaigns are popular with marketers during the holiday season and Aldi's partnership with Venmo is one example of how brands can update these programs to make them relevant to millennials, who are interested in social change and often use online donations. Millennials who are just starting their own family traditions are likely a key target audience for Aldi, which promises everyday low prices on groceries. By partnering with Venmo, a popular app with younger consumers, Aldi can get its brand in front of potential new customers. Millennials also happen to be ardent users of smartphones and emoji.
Emoji-based marketing continues to show its staying power as consumers of all ages find their appeal and infrastructure builds around making them easier to leverage for marketers.
Aldi and Venmo’s emoji-based meal donation program is a good way to help needy people while also building consumer good will toward their brands. Feeding America each year provides meals to more than 46 million people through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, per a statement.
Consumers are forecast to be in a giving mood this year, at least when it comes to e-commerce. Online sales are expected to grow 14% to $107.4 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. Cyber Monday is expected to become the largest online shopping day in history with 17% growth to $6.6 billion in sales from a year earlier.