With World Conversation Day approaching on Thursday, Kodiak Cakes and its chief brand officer Zac Efron are teaming up to help preserve grizzly bear habitats.
What? However far-reaching the alliance might sound, the Hollywood actor is an outdoorsman at heart. Five years ago he and his equally adrenaline-seeking brother Dylan were recruited by Columbia Sportswear to appear in its “Tested Tough” ad campaign. As the tagline suggests, the Efron brothers endured such challenges as trekking to the top of the Continental Divide and plunging head-first into Glacier National Park’s Lake McDonald.
But back to the grizzly bears, Kodiak Cakes and Zac Efron. Through its alliance with the Vital Ground Foundation, Kodiak Cakes joined forces with graphic designer Aaron Draplin to create limited-edition prints and apparel. As the T-shirts suggest, the aim is for consumers to “Keep It Wild.” To help spread the word, Efron has been photographed wearing the limited-edition products. With 54.1 million followers on Instagram alone, the adventurous actor has quite a reach. A recent Kodiak-friendly video post of him with a grizzly bear had 3.6 million views as of Friday afternoon.
All of the proceeds from the Kodiak x Aaron Draplin merchandise will benefit the Vital Ground Foundation. And Kodiak Cakes will be matching online sales dollar-for-dollar in celebration of World Conservation Day. Grizzlies are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Available as of Thursday at Kodiak Cakes’ site, the limited-run hats and T-shirts will retail for $30 each and the posters will sell for $50. The merchandise will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The company initially reached out to Efron because of their common concern for protecting the outdoors, keeping it wild and to inspire healthy eating, a company spokeswoman said Friday.
With 20 years of experience, Draplin ventured out on his own in 2004 to create the Draplin Design Co. The Portland, Oregon-based creative has worked with such brands as Nike, Patagonia, the Ford Motor Company and Coal Headwear, among others.
Located near the Wasatch mountain range, the Park City-based company focuses on bear conservation because the animals’ settlement in a habitat is indicative of a healthy ecosystem nationally accredited land trust that protects grizzly bear habitats in North America and works to prevent conflicts between bears and people. Each year it donates a portion of its profits to conservation efforts led by Vital Ground.
Efron grabbed headlines Friday for other reasons, too, including posting a photo of himself in front of “East High,” the Salt Lake City school used for the Disney franchise “High School Musical,” which launched the actor’s fame. That provided fodder for fans hoping to see him again in another “High School Musical” project. His costar Vanessa Hudgens made a pass by East High a month ago,
Separately, the “Firestarter” actor and Netflix are reportedly being sued by Down to Earth Organics over the series “Down to Earth with Zac Efron.” The company claims that the Netflix show about sustainable living is damaging its brand. Down to Earth Organics claims to have secured the rights to “Down to Earth” for media and entertainment purposes before the Efron-led Netflix show debuted, according to TMZ.
Efron isn’t the only big name linked to Kodiak Cakes. Ultra-runners Shalane Flanagan, Karissa Schweizer and Coree Woltering are among the company’s sponsored athletes. Ranked among Utah Businesses’ Best Companies to Work For, Kodiak Cakes offers early-out Fridays and Bear Bucks — a stipend for employees to use for outdoor activities.