Getting less Turtles so others can have more

The brand aims to stand for a greater purpose with holiday tins that replace a single chocolate with a charitable donation.

Turtles chocolates are a staple at holiday get-togethers across Canada, and this year the brand is hoping to turn that passion into an opportunity to stand for something more.

The brand has created a limited edition tin that bears a striking resemblance to its regular aluminium tin. However, a single turtle from each tin has been removed, and replaced with an insert explaining that there’s a little less in the tin so that other families can get a little more this holiday season.

Turtles parent company Nestle is working with Holiday Helpers, a non-profit that provides financial support to 525 Canadian families in need for the holiday season. For each “Project Love” tin sold, Turtles will be contributing $100 of that support in the form of a Visa gift card, for up to 100 families.

The brand worked with OneMethod and PR agency Narrative for the campaign.

The limited edition tins will be sold exclusively on the brand’s website beginning today, which is typically known as “Giving Tuesday.” Giving Tuesday is the first Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and is meant to balance the rampant consumerism of the two biggest shopping days of the year by encouraging people to also make donations to charitable organizations and projects. It’s also meant to enforce the idea that the holiday season should include giving to good causes, and not just material goods to friends and family.

Erin Matier, marketing manager for Turtles at Nestle Canada, says the brand already had its traditional holiday marketing plan around a “beautiful” TV spot, which the team was satisfied with, but there was a feeling it could be doing something more. Late in the planning process, OneMethod came up with the idea for “Project Love,” and Matier said it was a perfect fit to take the brand’s existing popularity during this time of year and translate it into something more meaningful.

“With this brand in particular, which consumers love and have such a high level of interaction with during the holidays in particular, it felt like we could serve a bigger role beyond advertising,” Matier says. “This is just about making Turtles stand for something more than a lovely TV spot and unlocking an idea that Turtles can be a gift with purpose.”

She adds that the concept also fit particularly well with Turtles’ existing brand values.

“Turtles have always stood for sharing,” Matier says. “They sit down and enjoy it with their families, especially around the holiday season, which has created a really strong emotional connection. We have definitely executed that idea in the storytelling and advertising we’ve done. The giving message would have been more of an ‘ad’ than an ‘act’ like we are doing this year.”

Because the idea came up so late in the planning process, the brand was somewhat limited in the extent to which it could execute the idea, such as having tins sold exclusively online instead of in its traditional retail channels. But Matier says the situation has some benefits. While the reach might not be as broad, Nestle is able to have a higher degree of control over both the messaging and the selling environment, making it easier to test-and-learn and decide how to continue or alter course with “Project Love” should it continue in future years. It also gives the brand a chance to learn more about the opportunities around non-holiday related things, like direct-to-consumer e-commerce.

Awareness for the promotion is being spread through partnerships with seven influencers, who will be sharing content they’ve produced on Facebook and Instagram throughout the day.

“It felt a little garish for us to tell people ourselves how much we are giving back,” Matier says of going the influencer route. “It’s not the Turtles style, or a style that our consumers would appreciate. It felt more authentic to partner with people who share these values and believe in supporting the community and helping others.”