Whirlpool's new connected washing machine donates to charity with each use.
At CES this week, Whirlpool is debuting a new concept that shows the potential for Internet of Things devices to give consumers an immediate emotional connection to social good.
Through the Whirlpool Connect to Care program, consumers can set up Whirlpool washing machines so that they automatically make a donation to a social cause each time a user does a load of laundry. For now, consumers can use to donate 15, 25 or 50 cents for each wash.
“We know that when people do loads of laundry, they cook and use our appliances, they’re actually caring for the ones they love,” said Whirlpool brand manager Chelsey Lindstrom. “So it’s important that not only are our products helping to care for their families, they’re helping other families as well.”
Lindstrom said that as more charitable giving becomes automated, people are losing opportunities to connect meaningfully with charitable donations. Tying giving to an act of care, on the other hand, reestablishes this connection. “How great is it that people can honestly feel good as they’re doing what most people would consider a chore?” she says.
The one-for-one model pioneered by companies such as Toms, in which a pair of shoes bought means a pair given away, helps give consumers a more direct connection to a brand’s social good activities. But it the concept clearly doesn’t scale up to high-end appliances. By tying a positive social action to an existing consumer behavior, rather than just the purchase of a product, Whirlpool has managed to bridge this gap.
More and more, consumers expect think of social good as a base expectation for brands, rather than an added bonus. For more on brands and social good, download The Future 100.