Supplier Leadership Award 2012 Winner for Cause Marketing: Acosta Sales & Marketing

Supplier Leadership Award 2012 Winner for Cause Marketing: Acosta Sales & Marketing

SN has awarded Acosta its Supplier Leadership Award for Cause Marketing, recognizing Acosta's support for charitable causes over the years, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Wounded Warriors Project.

• Acosta launched its first Believe in Heroes campaign in 2011 to raise awareness of the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization devoted to helping wounded veterans.
• Working with 50 client brands and 65 grocery retailers through its signature Believe in Heroes campaign, Acosta raised $3.5 million nationally last year for the Wounded Warrior Project, and expects to hit $4 million this year.
• Acosta works hand-in-hand with retailers on its own programs to help wounded veterans, as is seen with its work with Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pa.

Acosta Sales & Marketing, leveraging its relationship with more than half the major brands in the CPG industry, and its relationships with grocery retailers across the country, has raised huge amounts of money for charitable causes over the years.

For years, Acosta has served the Muscular Dystrophy Association, for which it has helped raise $75 million since 1985. The company has helped raise money for other non-profit organizations, large and small, as well.

Acosta’s most recent charitable effort, however, lies in helping wounded veterans through its signature campaign, Believe in Heroes, which it launched in 2010. In 2011, it raised $3.5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project through Believe in Heroes. That topped its goal of $2 million.

This year, on Sept. 10, the company announced its 2012 Believe in Heroes campaign, which runs from Sept. 11, through Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

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“In recognition of the tragedy of September 11, we are proud to launch the 2012 Believe in Heroes campaign and honor the Wounded Warriors that have fought to protect our freedom,” said Robert Hill, president and chief executive officer of Acosta, in a statement when this year’s campaign got its send-off.

“Acosta’s broad reach and expertise, combined with our depth of coverage of grocery retailers nationwide, has made it possible to assemble the nation’s leading brands and retailers into a coordinated effort to benefit this important cause,” Hill said.

Through the collaborative efforts of more than 55 brands and 70 retailers, the Believe in Heroes campaign is expected to raise $4 million this year.

Participating brands will offer high-value coupons in a special freestanding insert to be circulated to nearly 53 million households nationwide in Sunday, Nov. 4, newspapers. Retailers are supporting the campaign in-store with special signs and point-of-purchase materials, and by raising funds through donations at their stores.

Fund Raising With Retailers

Acosta, with 21,000 associates in 65 locations, also helps grocery retailers with their own fund-raising on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project.

A case in point is Acosta’s involvement with Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pa., an Ahold [6] company, which operates 146 Giant Food Stores and 52 Martin’s Food Markets.

Nick Matook, Acosta’s senior vice president, worked closely with Ahold to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project through Giant’s Support Our Troops project.

“Sometime near the end of 2010, Giant’s president, Rick Herring, reached out to us to ask if we’d run coupons to give customers who donated money through their Support Our Troops campaign,” Matook told SN. “He wanted to take the campaign up a level.”

Giant and Martin’s had been running their Support Our Troops campaign with associates at checkout asking customers if they wanted to donate $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project or to the USO.

“It was easy to get coupons funded by four of our major clients. We had a booklet made which included four $1-off coupons for national-brand grocery items, and they were given to customers who donated a dollar,” Matook said.

Up until Acosta provided the coupon booklets, customers who donated a dollar would be given a decal, a refrigerator magnet or an American flag, but the coupon book gave the customers something back, $4 off their grocery bill, Matook pointed out.

Read about SN's Sustainability winner: Unilever [7]

As it turned out, the Support Our Troops campaign raised $450,000 in 2011, and this year, $450,423.

As agreed, between Acosta and Herring and Ahold, the totals were split between the USO and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Giant’s Herring had high praise for Acosta and all involved in the Support Our Troops fund-raising drive.

“Without the enthusiasm and generosity of customers, associates and Acosta, our signature Support Our Troops campaign would not be such a success,” Herring said.

“Throughout the years, Acosta has always stood with us as we have introduced innovative ways to give back to the community.”

Read more about SN's Supplier Leadership Award winners. [8]

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