Fifty (i)

I’d ask Marcus (COO) about the learn-to-cook-to-learn campaign and he’d shrugged. He hadn’t had anything to do with it, and couldn’t really recall much about it in detail. Speak to Yvonne, he said.

Sarah (CFO), Michelle (Marketing) and Yvonne (PR) were meeting about some budgeting issues, and I asked them to buzz me when they were done. I had thought to chat with Michelle and Yvonne about the old PR campaign but in our new spirit of inter-disciplinary discussions I decided I might as well include Sarah if she had the time.

“Learn to cook to learn. Tell me about it.”

The campaign pre-dated Michelle, so the question was aimed at Yvonne.

“What do you want to know?” she asked.

“Everything I guess. How did it start? What did it entail? What happened? How did it end?”

“Well it spanned 2005 to 2007 I think. I wasn’t in the PR team back then. I’d moved from HR to marketing in 2004, and didn’t move over to PR until 2010. But while Steve – the guy in charge of PR in those days – led the campaign, it required quite a bit of marketing support and I got involved in some of it.

“I recall one of the partners at Lorenz Capital being a big fan of corporate social responsibility and he’d urged us to do something. I remember that clearly because there was some surprise that a ‘money guy’ was so keen on doing stuff that wasn’t directly sales led.”

Yvonne paused to see if I had any questions, and continued when I didn’t.

“Fundamentally, we wanted to ‘give back’,” Yvonne did the quotes sign in the air as she has the habit of doing, “and make the company look like it cared about our customers, about their children and their futures. If I remember rightly, Steve’s kid was really enjoying cookery classes at school but we found out that only a fraction of kids get taught how to cook. And then the brouhaha about kids’ diets and nutrition was just kicking off, so we linked cooking and nutrition to the fuel for kids to learn anything effectively. Hence learn-to-cook and cook-to-learn, neatly condensed into learn-to-cook-to-learn.”

I nodded.

“We identified around a couple of dozen schools and equipped them with fund raising materials so that we could supply kitchen equipment at cost. Actually, I think we matched the monies raised too.