Large Corporate Donation. Can I Accept?????

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Large Corporate Donation. Can I Accept?????

Postby ursditsky » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:41 am

I would love to receive some perspective from the e-playa community regarding an ethical question that has been bouncing in my head for a couple days.

A large company has offered to donate to me and my buddies a few thousand units of organic orange juice in squeeze boxes. My group had originally intended to buy this product in bulk with our own money and give it away at BM because we thought organic OJ would be an awesome treat to offer to people that seemed like they could use a zingy zesty pick me up.

Looking for a discounted price, we contacted various companies selling organic OJ in squeeze boxes, describing our intentions and asking for support. One of these companies offered to donate an incredibly large amount. They had no specific requests of us, nor any questions. They didn't ask how we were going to distribute it, what the name of our camp was, or whether we'd have anything to say about the company. They didn't ask us to document anything or keep track of anything. They didn't even ask for a phone number. They simply had no questions and no requests. I told them our intention and they offered to donate 2000 units, no strings attached.

So here's my question: Are we making the playa a better or worse place by accepting this donation and bringing it to the playa. On the positive side we are creating more abundance on the playa and inviting people to receive and give gifts freely. We'll give what we bring to others and give them enough to give to others as well, spreading a feeling and philosophy of abundance and gifting. We'll be able to offer something truly useful to the community and offer them the opportunity to offer the same to others. On the negative side, this product comes in a package with the company's corporate logo on it. I must assume this is why they've donated the product, so that people will see their logo and they'll gain exposure with the BM community.

So is it worth it or not? We'd love to bring as much OJ as we can and offer this abundance to the community, but we don't like the idea of polluting the playa with a corporate logo.

What do you think?
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:50 am

If it were me, I'd take the OJ and sing the praises of the good-heartedness of the company that is donating it. Is that really any different than (in the past) some of the wine that was donated to Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro from award-winning wineries in Placer County who also did not ask for anything in return? People were happy drinking the wine, as they would be the OJ, no advertising was ever done, and we saved a boatload of money. Win win win.
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Postby lambert13 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:50 am

What is the difference between a juice box with a logo and a can of Budweiser or Pepsi? Not much in my opinion.
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Postby ygmir » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:54 am

I'd say be happy you were chosen as the conduit for sharing with others.

yay..........and, if you stacked them to look like a Ford Bronco..............

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Re: Large Corporate Donation. Can I Accept?????

Postby alt12 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:56 am

Yeah, that's a tough one....We've had donations from the employers of camp members.... I think its really a judgment call... A lot of people get donations of stuff from work.... I think distributing it (i.e. 2000 cartons of branded OJ) in an organized way starts to feel like a brand samples give-away at a music festival and cheapens the whole experience....

Personally, I would not feel comfortable distributing a branded item out on the street at Burningman because it would feel like very commercial to me, even if that was not the intent....If I covered up the label maybe it would be different...

On the other hand, I've offered many people beers when they come to our camp and the beer was donated by a distributor for a bottling company where a camp-mate worked.... But that feels different, because the product is incidental to the interaction. I offer a beer as a hospitable gesture as opposed to my goal is to distribute as many of these beers as possible...

Keeping burningman non-commercial is an ongoing process.... I mean maybe I'm more anal about this aspect, but I even feel like the bmorg sells out frequently with some of the things they allow or advertise/publicize on JackRabitSpeaks for example....
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Postby Sham » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:59 am

If it were me I would take as much of the juice as they would give me and pass it out from my camp. If you were going to buy it anyway, just use that money for something else and give lots of ice cold juice away. This is not commercial and you are not selling it---you gift it as is the company giving it to you.
There may be some sort of fine line here, but I would definately go for it.
I give out a few Chapstick every year. I buy them and then give it away. What if the company gave me 50 of them to pass out. Same thing, only more to gift!
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Postby Fire_Moose » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:33 am

i agree that it would be fine.

You may offend some but you would anyway.

Save me a couple for later in the week when i need a screwdriver.
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Postby Stickygreen » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:36 am

2000 units is not really that much, for a large company that makes or distributes OJ, I'd hit them up for more!
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Postby Eric » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:41 am

take 'em for gods sake. There is no conundrum. Plenty of things have brands on them out there- like maybe "PBR, the beer Gerlach made famous"?

I would just avoid the glazed eyed look of corporate shills as you give them out- that happened one year ('06 or '07 I think) and someone from the org had to go talk to them.

You might offer to open the juice & pour it into the Burner's cup, just like at a bar. That way there is no logo, and since you have the container you can make sure it doesn't end up as MOOP.
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Postby Parasitoid » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:41 am

Take the O.J. and run!

I don't really see a moral issue here.

If it bothers you that the juice is branded you could always draw on them or otherwise deface the logos.

But turning down the juice does not sound like it is in anyone's best interest.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:49 am

Gift the juice to bars as mixer.
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Postby geekster » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:50 am

Just don't go driving a truck into the event with the name of the company blazing across it and you will be fine.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:53 am

Yeah, wait until you park your camp until you place the big banner across your shade structure.
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Postby geekster » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:06 am

Oh, yeah. That would put out a lot of
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Postby Savannah » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:31 pm

I like Eric's idea of pouring, for those who have cups. Then it's on the individual to be responsible, and have a cup, isn't it? If they're too naive to have a cup, they can't really lecture you for providing a vessel. So I would take the donation and give it out as planned, intact or poured. You will help and delight so many more people than you will offend. You will make a parched person's day.

Logos are not totally escapable; a lot of us out there are eating packaged food and drinking beer from cans. The most readily available camping t.p. in drugstores tends to be a certain brand . . .

And frankly, I'd be really sad if I didn't know what kind of beer I was given in so many years back at Haiku-4-Beer camp. I feel cozy every time I drink it, which is not often, but it is now a Burning Man tradition that reminds me of such a fun interactive camp (write a haiku on some cloth, hang it up with the others, get a beer).
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Postby Isotopia » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:34 pm

So here's my question: Are we making the playa a better or worse place by accepting this donation and bringing it to the playa. On the positive side we are creating more abundance on the playa and inviting people to receive and give gifts freely. We'll give what we bring to others and give them enough to give to others as well, spreading a feeling and philosophy of abundance and gifting. We'll be able to offer something truly useful to the community and offer them the opportunity to offer the same to others. On the negative side, this product comes in a package with the company's corporate logo on it. I must assume this is why they've donated the product, so that people will see their logo and they'll gain exposure with the BM community.


Take the OJ. Sounds like they've not burdened you with any requirements or strings.

It that's truly the case I don't see any difference between passing the juice out to folks and the cool little Christian group who for years has passed out thousands of bottles of branded water to anyone in need.
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Postby Elderberry » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:36 pm

No problem at all. IMHO.

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Postby ursditsky » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:21 pm

Wow! Thank you all for your opinions. I've counted 14 replies that said "bring the %@&#$& juice", one that said "close call", and zero that said to refuse it. Our gut feeling is that this donation is a great blessing for us, because we now have the ability to make zingy hundreds of people that find themselves with less than adequate zing.

I just wanted a sense of how the wider BM community felt about the impact of something like this, knowing that if they felt the same way I did that I could unhesitatingly shift into full throttle hyper gifting abundance mentality reality dream mode. Thank you for the tailwind my friends.
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Postby VeganChoirGirl » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:28 pm

Great idea on your part. Maybe someone high in the company or that you were dealing with is a burner. Whatever the case. TAKE IT! And spread the joy on the playa!
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Postby AntiM » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:04 pm

The boxes could be MOOP, so perhaps a juice box MOOP receptacle as part of your gift?
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Postby thisisthatwhichis » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:04 pm

Yes, bring the gifted juice..... We all drink the Kool-aid.... As long as it's gifted........ :D
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Postby ursditsky » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:17 pm

I definitely like the receptacle idea. Our minions will be sure to always have one with them when they're gifting the gloryjuice.

Does anybody know of a previous thread discussing this issue?
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Postby Savannah » Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:49 pm

If the juice boxes are recyclable, even more awesome for collecting them, although guidance/vigilance will be required to keep people from using receptacles for trash.
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Postby justfred » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:16 pm

I think you should create a pedal-powered white Ford Bronco, paint "Free OJ" on the sides, and drive through the city, with people dressed as police officers chasing you and handing it out.

(I'm just trying to figure out how to work in "if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.")
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Postby capjbadger » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:39 pm

justfred wrote:I think you should create a pedal-powered white Ford Bronco, paint "Free OJ" on the sides, and drive through the city, with people dressed as police officers chasing you and handing it out.

(I'm just trying to figure out how to work in "if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.")

Brilliant! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Postby alt12 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:01 pm

justfred wrote:I think you should create a pedal-powered white Ford Bronco, paint "Free OJ" on the sides, and drive through the city, with people dressed as police officers chasing you and handing it out.

(I'm just trying to figure out how to work in "if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.")



Hahahahahaha....
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Postby Elorrum » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:55 pm

justfred wrote:I think you should create a pedal-powered white Ford Bronco, paint "Free OJ" on the sides, and drive through the city, with people dressed as police officers chasing you and handing it out.

(I'm just trying to figure out how to work in "if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.")

have people try on a tiny glove... if the glove doesn't fit, you must drink it.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:09 pm

If the glove dont fit, you must submit.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:14 pm

Savannah wrote:If the juice boxes are recyclable, even more awesome for collecting them, although guidance/vigilance will be required to keep people from using receptacles for trash.

Typically they are aluminum and paper. You can't recycle either one. Maybe there's plastic in there.

There's always paper mailing labels. YOu could print "Playa Juice" (or something cleverer) on them and stick them on the boxes.
Of course I'd say that. I got custom sharpies made last year and I covered the logo with avery lables. Not that people didn't know that they were sharpies, but it was a bow to how much I hate the idea of commerce on the playa.

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Postby robrob » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:42 pm

Didnt i read somewhere that ben and jerry's gave away a shit ton of ice cream one year, but respected burner values so had unmarked packaging for it?

I too would take it, but I wouldn't pass it out individually on the playa. sounds like an brand ambassador gig. And what's next , unilever paying "hotties" to pass out individual "gifts" of Axe? slippery slope...

I'd split it up among my favorite bar camps for use a mixer behind the bar. Not only would it take care of potential MOOP issues, but it would also tone down the whole marketing side of things.
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