PayPal Regifts the Fruitcake and Shows They Understand Facebook Applications

My boyfriend’s family owns a Fruitcake company.  Yes, I know.  But the truth is, it’s really great stuff plagued by impossible marketing.  PayPal is now making that marketing even harder.

“By giving the gift that no one wants, you’re giving the gift everyone needs.”

Regift the Fruitcake

PayPal recently built a Facebook application called Regift the Fruitcake.  The idea is that six celebrities have each shared 10 virtual fruitcakes with people in hopes that they will continue to regift them to their Facebook friends to raise money for their charities.  Ben Roethlisberger, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Hawk, Joel Madden and Nicole Richie, Fall Out Boy, and Yao Ming are all participating.  Within the application you can watch the videos from the six urging you to regift their fruitcakes, give directly to the charities they are supporting through PayPal, and view where the cakes “are” (the location of the person who currently has it) via an interactive map.

I think this is one of the best ideas to hit Facebook applications yet.  It covers all of the bases that Facebook users love: celebrity video, helping a cause (in real monetary terms with a safe method like PayPal), and a reason to invite your friends to add the application.  They’re even being super transparent in how much money is being raised and how many times the fruitcakes are being regifted.  They were also very smart about who they chose to participate.  Their celebrity choices entice football fans, basketball fans, Nascar fans, celebrity gossip magazine readers, XGames fanatics, and pop-music buffs to participate or at least pay attention.  And each of their charities are just as diverse so people also have great options for who they would like to donate to.

One of the only challenges I see is that building an application around a season can be difficult because it’s hard to know what to do with the app once the season is over, especially when it’s being run by a company and has such a strong call to action.  It will be interesting to see what PayPal does with it when fruitcake is no longer the talk of the town.  It could be that people can continue to give and share it for the whole year with a new crowd of celebrities and fruitcakes next winter (I get credit for that recommendation! :))

Whatever the case, it’s only day 4 and the fruticakes have been regifted 99 times and $60 have been raised.  Few companies have been able to take advantage of Facebook applications in the right way, but I’m loving what PayPal has done with this.

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