"Yes, Thankyou," said the supermarket giants

Tayla Gentle / August 09, 2013 04:01 PM

A Melbourne-based social enterprise has taken on Australia’s biggest supermarket giants in a bid to change the world, and won.

Thankyou Group (commonly known as Thankyou Water) is a small business with a big vision; to provide the developing world with clean drinking water, improved hygiene facilities and sustainable food projects.

And they are reaching their goal one muesli bar, bottled water and hand soap at a time.thankyou products

After finding initial success on the shelves of Foodland, founder and managing director Daniel Flynn decided it was time to court the supermarket honchos at Coles and Woolworths.

A business agreement, which, if successful, would see Thankyou Group’s reach extend from thousands to millions of people in need.

The enterprise was established in 2008 by then 19-year-old Flynn, who felt compelled to act after learning of Australia’s annual $600 million bottled water habit.

According to Flynn, he wanted to create a “consumer-based movement” which placed the power to change lives in the hands of the everyday person.

And in doing so, Thankyou Water was born.

The premise is clear, buy a bottle of Thankyou Water and your money subsequently helps fund “life-saving” projects across the developing world.

To date, the brand sponsors 100 projects across Cambodia, Myanmar, Kenya, Burundi, India, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and Haiti, assisting an estimated 56,000 people. 

The Thankyou team kicked off a two-week social media campaign on July 17 this year, with the aim to get the two supermarkets to stock their socially-conscious range of products.

They were backed by almost 15 million people over the course of the campaign period, flooding the supermarkets’ social media pages with posts from consumers.

Among the posts were personalized video messages from high profile Australians, including Who’s Who entrants Chrissy Swan and Andrew Gaze, both of whom lent their names and faces to the Thankyou cause.

In a flashy end to the campaign, Thankyou flew two 10,000 square helicopter banners (both donated to the business) over the Coles and Woolworths headquarters, with signage reading: “Hey, Thankyou for changing the world (if you say ‘Yes’)”.

Just three weeks later, both supermarkets had signed on with the promise to stock the products before Christmas.

thankyou banner

Thankyou Group files banner of Coles headquarters, source: thankyouwater.co

Flynn said he was excited that the companies had come on board and humbled by the public support.

“We’re absolutely thrilled and, to be honest, a little amazed at how much support we have received from the Australian public in recent weeks,” he said.

“They really seem to understand and appreciate the difference our products are making to the lives of people less fortunate than themselves. It’s a testament to the caring and giving nature of Australians.”

Coles chief operating officer, John Durkan, said the supermarket was “delighted” to be adding the Thankyou range to their shelves.

“We’ve listened to our customers, who told us they would support the Thankyou range if Coles stocked it. Now they’ll have the chance to do just that and make a difference with the product they buy,” he said.

Woolworths agreed that the Thankyou brand deserved an opportunity to bring its “great story” to Australian shelves.

Earlier this year Flynn was named Victorian Young Achiever of the Year, an award recognizing his efforts on behalf of the Thankyou Group mission.

On his acceptance, he said his motivation behind driving leadership and innovation in the organization is to see as much impact around the globe as possible.

“I think that by constantly improving how we do things in our organization, especially through innovation in the digital and technological space, we can spread the word to more people about our cause and in doing so, multiply our act,” he said.

The Thankyou team has done that and more. Their successful campaign goes to show just how far your business can go when you utilize excellent communication skills.  

It can even get you onto a shelf in every supermarket across the nation, if that’s what you’re after.

Sources: themarketingmagazine.com, Thankyou Group

Other Who’s Who News: