Publix, P&G Take Special Olympics Back to Basics

Jacqueline Barba
Associate Editor, Path to Purchase Institute
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Procter & Gamble and Publix recently ran their annual Torch Icon campaign that raises money for the Special Olympics and its local athletes.

From Jan. 7-18, shoppers who made a donation of $1 or more at checkout received over $10 in exclusive coupons delivering discounts on P&G brands including Pampers, Luvs, Olay, Gillette, Secret, Old Spice, Always, Tampax and Vicks.

In stores, Special Olympics-themed four-way pallet displays stocking a slew of P&G brands communicated the campaigns evergreen “Be a fan” tagline with a “Choose to Include” message. Some stores tied red balloons to the top of the red, white and blue displays. One side of each display spotlighted individual athletes such as a Special Olympics swimmer from Seminole County, FL. Checkout signs also spotlighted athletes and promoted the P&G coupon sheet.

Multiple social media updates from Special Olympics chapters in participating Publix markets promoted the fundraiser. One Facebook update from Special Olympics NC showed two masked Publix employees next to a table display offering coupon sheets and merchandising a few P&G products. Multiple features in Publix circulars also supported.  

In years past, before the COVID-19 pandemic, some stores would also host special store visits for individual athletes and teams who would collect additional donations and even show off pictures, ribbons and medals from Special Olympics competitions.

In 2017, P&G and Publix even spiced up the annual fundraiser by adding a bulk-purchase incentive, awarding a beauty bag (valued at $19) including travel-size SKUs of Crest, Pantene, Olay and Old Spice to shoppers who purchased $25 worth of participating products and submitted a qualifying receipt to a promotional P&G website.

The partners have been supporting the Special Olympics along with its athletes and their families for the last 41 years, raising almost $56 million since 1993, according to a recent press release from P&G.

"At Publix, our mission is to be involved as responsible citizens within our communities," said Dwaine Stevens, director of community relations for Publix, in the release. "Our support of Special Olympics began more than 40 years ago, recognizing their impact as a means to build strong communities then, and this legacy continues today as we are proud to be an employer of choice among more than 800 Special Olympic athletes across our seven-state operating area."

NOTE: To view the full photo audit from the campaign, visit Path to Purchase Institute members have access to more than 300 articles and 2,600 photos of marketing and merchandising activity at Publix, plus a full retailer profile.