- Black Forest, the brand of gummy bears marketed by candy maker Ferrara, is urging people to build the first "virtual natural forest" on Instagram. The campaign is part of the brand's effort to raise awareness for National Love a Tree Day on May 16, per an announcement.
- Black Forest is asking Instagram users to upload a photo or to comment on any picture on their social channels along with a series of emoji hashtags consisting of a bear's face, the red heart and the pine tree. Black Forest will donate $1 for every post with those emoji, up to $50,000, to the nonprofit National Forest Foundation until June 30.
- The donations are in addition to the $500,000 that Black Forest has pledged this year to help plant 1.5 million trees by 2022 in U.S. forests damaged by wildfires. Black Forest canceled its TV advertising campaign and will donate the production budget to the cause, per its announcement.
Black Forest seeks to extend the reach of its giving campaign by urging Instagram users to participate in the building of a "virtual natural forest" consisting of emoji hashtags. As people caption their Instagram photos with the emoji or on comments on other posts, the campaign has the power to grow exponentially among the platform's estimated 1 billion users. The cause-driven campaign also is likely to appeal to Instagram's youthful audience that tends to be more socially conscious than older generations, helping Black Forest to form stronger emotional bonds with customers.
The effort comes as the coronavirus pandemic sets up a scenario where consumers could be more interested than ever in caring for the environment as the health crisis winds down while simultaneously having higher expectations around brands' ability to support sustainability issues.
Black Forest is among the brands that have developed social media campaigns that urge people to participate in a collective effort to help the environment. Nestlé, Danone and Post last month participated in mobile shopping app Ibotta's Earth Day campaign to save trees from being turned into paper coupons. Ibotta's website displayed a real-time "tree tracker" showing the effort to plant as many as 1 million trees in the following month. As part of its observance of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Ibotta collaborated with nonprofit group Trees for the Future to offset the environmental effects of paper coupon production.
Black Forest's cause-driven campaign comes as brands demonstrate their willingness to help customers who worry about their health and personal finances during the coronavirus pandemic, which had a negative effect on candy sales during the key Easter season. Cottonelle, Honda, Michelob Ultra, Rakuten Viber and Snapchat are among the companies that have touted their efforts to provide relief to people during the crisis.