Virgin Mobile is cooking with hashtags

“1000 Facebook likes will save this man’s life”. This premise, often the target of many jokes and internet memes is now being realised – except it’s not Likes, it’s #hashtags#.

Virgin Mobile Australia has launched a new campaign using social media to feed the hungry. The campaign is asking social media users to take photos of their food and post it across various platforms labelling it with #mealforameal. For each picture posted, Virgin Mobile – in conjunction with Ozharvest – will provide a meal to someone in need.

The program is aiming to donate 400,000 meals to those in need and after a week or so Virgin has already had a huge response, with over 26,000 meals already donated. A fantastic idea for the battling mobile service provider, the #mealforameal campaign is really hitting the nail on the head in terms of wise CSR investment. Virgin’s Australian head, David Scribner was quoted yesterday in the Australian Financial Review as saying “It’s important to elevate the conversation so that when people choose a mobile provider, they choose one which gives back to the community”. Virgin Mobile sees the social value of investing in community outreach but is capitalising on the new business and brand promotion it brings. Not only will consumers be buying a Virgin mobile service, they will be indirectly supporting their community through association with this program.

Australian consumers are building a preference for socially-minded brands and products; #mealforameal is a great example of how companies are starting to take advantage of this new trend. A recently released Nielsen report states that 64% of Asia Pacific (including Australia) and 55% of global online consumers are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. You can read the full report here.

Watch Virgin Australia’s Youtube ad (above), and see the #mealforameal website to see how slick social investment can be, and how rewarding it can be for organisations.

So keep an eye out for more and more people taking culinary snaps in a restaurants or cafe near you – as if we didn’t have enough people taking photos of their food already…