Louis Vuitton’s young sales force helped the luxury brand raise $500,000 in one day for UNICEF.
“This generation coming to work is more like the generation that came to work in the Sixties — very involved and idealistic,” said Michael Burke, Vuitton’s chief executive officer. “They want us to have a higher profile in charitable work. They’re not interested in knowing we cut a check for this or that. What resonates is raising funds.”
Staff pitched the charity initiative and promoted the sales of Silver Lockit jewelry items, with $200 from each sale of the $600 pendant and $500 bracelet donated to with the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Vuitton established a dedicated fund to help children in emergencies one year ago, but this was the first time the #MakeAPromise campaign extended to all of its 460 stores worldwide. The first-day tallies eclipsed last year’s by 20 percent, suggesting Vuitton is poised to best the $2.5 million it raised last year.
“That’s a good dynamic,” Burke said. “It’s a good sign for the rest of the year.”
All of Vuitton’s 12,000 client advisers were involved in the effort — a group with an average age of 28.
The French brand hosted cocktail parties Thursday night in 45 of its stores to raise awareness of the initiative and installed photo booths to capture all donors under a shower of confetti. These clips are to be broadcast in the windows of 20 metropolitan Vuitton stores, dubbed Maisons, for the next week.
“It’s like a super selfie,” Burke said. “Who wouldn’t want their picture to be in the windows of Fifth Avenue?”
Vuitton staff is to invite clients to make direct donations online throughout the year and especially during emergencies.
Burke said the ongoing crisis in Syria creates a strong incentive for people to donate now, even if UNICEF can release funds at its discretion whenever an emergency arises. Last year the effort also helped children in need in Nigeria.
Vuitton dispatched three client advisers last June to refugee camps in Lebanon, and the footage of their trip was shared at the company’s holiday events, “making our fund-raising efforts tangible for every single one of our employees,” Burke said.
In Syria, since the beginning of the year, the UNICEF fund reached four million children under five with polio vaccinations, 14 million people with drinking water, and nearly 140,000 children with school supplies.
According to UNICEF, nearly 250 million children live in countries affected by conflict and millions more face risks from natural hazards and health epidemics.