A number of marketers have recently focused their attention on products and promotions to raise awareness and funding for the protection of bees, the most important pollinators of food crops globally:
- Two Australian luxury labels, fashion design brand KitX and jewelry marketer Heart of Bone, paired for the Tiny Bee Stud, with 10% of all sales going to Save the Bees Australia. The item was handcrafted from materials supplied by locally based, ethical, and sustainable metal suppliers. Introduced in time for World Environment Day in June, the stud sold out.
- Organic clothing brand Pangaia paired with Milkywire to establish the Bee the Change fund to protect bees globally. Its first collaboration to benefit the fund was with artist Takashi Murakami; the two t-shirts and two hoodies were made of organic cotton and featured prints of flowers, often highlighted in Murakami’s work, along with an original bee character designed for the collection. So far, the Bee the Change fund has raised more than $46,000. The capsule was timed to World Bee Day 2020 in May.
- Studio 100 Media’s animated series Maya the Bee has been the focus of a “Save the Bees with Maya the Bee” promotion at 4,300 locations of the German supermarket chain Rewe. The tie-in, which started in 2019 and continues, supports Naturschutzbund Deutschland (also known as the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, or NABU), a group that includes the preservation of insects as part of its mission. Maya has been associated with a program called Project Poppy Meadow since 2018. The Studio 100-led initiative includes a digital education curriculum that teaches children of the importance of protecting the bees, as well as supporting NABU and its insect protection fund in the planting of pollinator-friendly flowers within Germany.
- Häagen-Dasz, which has donated more than $1 million to honeybee research since 2008 and has funded several bee-friendly initiatives, released four Bee Better Certified ice cream SKUs—all containing almonds—including vanilla Swiss almond, honey salted caramel, and rocky road ice cream as well vanilla-milk-chocolate-almond ice cream bars. Häagen Dasz worked with its almond suppliers to plant flowers in their fields to help the bees, which contributed to it earning the Bee Better certification from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Bees’ population in North America alone has declined 50% since 1974, according to a study from the University of Ottawa and University College London, with the problem intensifying over the past five years.
The bee-preservation trend is consistent with a greater interest in, and movement toward, sustainability across licensing and consumer products over the past several years. The topic had been top-of-mind in 2019 and 2020, pre-COVID. It has continued to be an important consideration even through the pandemic, albeit in a more under-the-radar way than before as other concerns have been at the forefront.