Hellmann's Canada created a virtual island in the hit video game "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" to urge gamers to convert digital food waste into charitable donations for real people in need. Players of the Nintendo game must send a direct message to the @HellmannsCanada account on Twitter to get a personalized code that offers access to Hellmann's Island until Aug. 22, PRWeek reported.
Once inside Hellmann's Island, players can drop off digital turnips that have spoiled after purchase from an in-game character named Daisy Mae in the game's "Stalk Market." Players have a week to re-sell their turnips at a higher price before they rot and become worthless. Hellmann's goal is to provide 25,000 meals to needy communities served by the food bank Second Harvest.
Gamers also can visit Hellmann's Farm to see how the brand sources ingredients to make mayonnaise, and the Able Sisters Merch Shop to download Hellmann's-inspired dresses, T-shirts and jackets for their gaming avatars. Hellmann's Island also has a Second Harvest Outdoor Kitchen and a Resident Services section for tips on reducing food waste. Players also can visit Ribbon Island, which is shaped like the Hellmann's blue-ribbon logo, to take a snapshot, per PRWeek.
Hellmann's Canada aims to immerse fans of "Animal Crossing" in a cause-driven campaign that also extends exposure to its brand through a virtual in-game island where players can participate in various activities and learn more about reducing food waste.
#HellmannsIsland has come to #ACNH to help turn virtual food waste into real meals. For each spoiled turnip you drop off on our 5-star island, we’ll donate a meal to @SecondHarvestCA to feed people in need. DM us with #HellmannsIsland for your dodo code. Limited spots available. pic.twitter.com/QOWXDR5FCQ— Hellmann's Canada (@HellmannsCanada) August 17, 2020
The social simulation game, whose latest version became a recent hit as pandemic lockdowns kept many people indoors, challenges players to survive on an island paradise with the help of animal villagers. Since its release in March, the game has evolved into a digital media platform for marketers to engage consumers with branded experiences.
Hellmann's campaign is likely to resonate with younger consumers who tend to favor brands that support social movements, especially as the pandemic creates greater financial hardships for many people. With many restaurants closed and consumers looking for ways to stretch their household budgets during the health crisis, at-home cooking is on the rise. That demand has driven double-digit growth in retail food sales for Hellmann's parent company Unilever, which cited the mayonnaise label as a strong performer in the first half of the year.
Hellmann's is the latest brand to create digital content for "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" to engage a user base that's estimated to grow as unit sales climb to 20 million after reaching sales of 8 million units in Q2, per a Citigroup estimate cited by Reuters. Procter & Gamble's Gillette Venus razor brand and Kimberly-Clark's Cottonelle toilet paper brand recently integrated campaigns into the game to help players customize their avatars and virtual homes with branded assets.
Gillette Venus promoted its Summer Skinclusive products with a "My Skin. My Way" platform that offers skin-inclusive designs for player avatars, while Cottonelle collaborated with hip-hop artist T-Pain to promote a line of digital patterns that players can use in designing the virtual bathrooms in the game. Global Pride, a collaboration among LGBT Pride organizations worldwide, in June started hosting a virtual Pride festival in the game to promote inclusion.