It's become a social network rite of passage: users "donate" their profile photos to support causes they feel strongly about, ranging from protests in Iran to Conan O'Brien's dispute with NBC.
Now, Coca-Cola hopes to ignite a similar outpouring as part of a marketing campaign for Earth Month.
Coke is seeking to raise $200,000 for the Ocean Conservancy over the course of the month with a Facebook campaign that encourages its 1.5 million North American fans to change their profile photos to ocean images. The beverage giant is offering to donate $1 for each person that pledges his or her Facebook profile. A Coke app lets users choose from four different ocean scenes, such as scuba diving, to insert as their new digital images.
"We really believe in that kind of grassroots communication through the Internet," said Celeste Bottorff, vp of living well at Coca-Cola North America.
The altered profile photos won't carry any Coke branding, as the company didn't want to diminish the conservation message, Bottorff said.
The effort is part of Coke's broader "Let's all join fins" campaign for Earth Month. The push includes print ads in daily papers like The Washington Post and magazines including People. Web ads run on sites such as National Geographic and those in the Discovery Channels network.
The campaign wraps up on May 12. Overall, the push ties into Coke's "Live positively" initiative that looks to promote sustainability in areas like health and the environment.