Campaign of the Week

13 December 2022

Newman’s Own gives away brand in return for donations 

Food company offers its famous founder’s likeness to other brands to use on products – on the condition that all the profits go to charity

For 40 years, Newman’s Own – an American food company founded by legendary actor Paul Newman – has given away 100% of its profits to help children facing adversity such as food insecurity or chronic health conditions.

This year, the brand launched a new brand platform, called Radically Good, to showcase its values to a new generation. Its first ‘radically good’ act is to invite brands to use the Oscar winner’s name, image, and likeness on their products – if the brands promise to donate 100% of the profits to the Newman’s Own Foundation. 

The foundation continues Newman’s commitment to use the money received from the sale of Newman’s Own products to support children, their families, and their communities. More than $600m has been donated to thousands of organisations, helping millions of people in the US and around the world.

The campaign, created by Activista, Los Angeles, is the largest to date for the company and includes a brand refresh for Newman’s Own products, with the rollout of a new logo and packaging. The Newman’s Deal campaign is driven by the belief that just doing good isn’t good enough anymore and the conviction that the world needs ‘Radically Good’, according to a press release.

Alongside a 60-second film, the campaign was supported by OOH in New York City’s Times Square. ‘For 40 years, Paul Newman’s face has been a symbol of radically good philanthropy,’ said Nicole Malcolm-Manyara, CMO at Newman’s Own. ‘We’re thrilled to offer more of Paul Newman through Newman’s Deal and we encourage more brands to give it all away... just as Paul Newman did when he decided to emblazon his face on a bottle of salad dressing. This limited time offer to use Paul Newman’s likeness is the perfect way to celebrate his inspiring legacy.’

Contagious Insight 

Win-win / When a brand signs up to take part in this Newman’s Own initiative, both brands stand to gain. The participating brand gets a slice of the PR generated by the initiative and the recognisability of Paul Newman’s face to promote one of its products, and Newman’s Own gets to plaster its branding over a potential competitor’s. The real winners, though, are the beneficiaries of the Newman’s Own Foundation, who gain every time a brand takes part in this ‘radically good’ act and when Newman’s Own sells a product. The campaign is also a pretty ingenious way for Newman’s Own to publicise its brand refresh and new packaging. Although Paul Newman died in 2008, his legacy lives on through his foundation and the brand that bears his iconic image.

Next-gen fans / For younger audiences who might be less familiar with The Color of Money actor, Newman’s Own can’t rely on the star’s appearance on its packaging and must find ways to drive relevance and interest. With the release in November of a new documentary on Newman’s life, this campaign feels perfectly timed, launching amidst renewed interest (or first-time discovery) of the silver screen legend. There are instances in which the use of a celebrity face to promote products is unappealing (using celebrity deepfakes, for example, presents ethical issues) but with 100% of profits going to Newman’s foundation, the use of his face and likeness is completely justified. The lesson for brands is to work out if it’s strictly necessary to use a celebrity face to promote their brand or product, and if so, why that person is right for your brand.

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