Lady Liberty may want to switch out her Greecian gown for a button down shirt. Phillips Van-Heusen , the world's largest shirt and necktie company, is donating one million dollars to the Save Ellis Island fund.
The historic buildings on the much overlooked south side of Ellis Island (adjacent to Liberty Island site of the Statue of Liberty), are getting an overhaul thanks to PVH's cause-related marketing campaign to relaunch its Arrow Brand.
Manny Chirico, PVH's CEO, told me in a first on CNBC interview that consumer research showed that cause-related marketing is the best way to connect with the Arrow consumer. Calling the immigration processing and quarantine buildings on Ellis Island "great American treasures", Chirico said marrying the concept of the all-American image of the Arrow brand to these icons was an ideal fit.
The $1 million donation will be featured on the ARROW compaign's web sitewhere users can read and post their own family stories of pursuing the American dream. This latest donation is part of PVH's ongoing support of the National Park Service and Save Ellis Island's campaign to rescue the immigration centers.
"Our marketing budget for Arrow is about a $20 million campaign and about 75 percent of that $20 million spent will be going toward the Save Ellis Island campaign," Chirico said.
I encourage viewers/readers to visit the site. Even if you're not a PVH customer or Arrow fan, the marketing campaign is really well done. The "We Are Ellis Island" campaign both celebrates the diverse demographic and ethnic roots of this country (appealing to a potentially new customer base) while also hitting on the common immigration experience--the thread running through those divergent groups. As Chirico pointed out, over 100 million people trace their roots back to Ellis Island.
More important: the effort seems heartfelt. Since we first spoke about the campaign this summer at the MAGIC retail conference in Las Vegas, Chirico's person passion for the project has been made clear. You can read his personal account of his grandmother's Ellis Island immigration experience on this page.
By the way, the video clip here is Chirico on Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" this past Monday.