The first Girl Scout cookie was sold in 1917 to raise funds for a troop in Oklahoma, and the young ladies in the green vests have been peddling their baked goods ever since. It's hard to find someone who doesn't like Girl Scout cookies, but it can often be hard to find the cookies themselves. For close to a century now, pretty much the only way to score a box of Do-Si-Dos or Thin Mints was to wait for the scouts to ring your doorbell. But that is about to change.
This January will see the debut of the scouts' Digital Cookie program, which will allow click ordering of treats via mobile apps or personalized websites. Considering that Amazon.com has been with us since 1995, it's fair to say the Girl Scouts are latecomers to e-commerce. But given all the creepy men who already populate the Internet, the girls can be forgiven for taking a few extra years to get the needed security protocols right.
If you think that the anonymity of the Web will relieve the pressure many of us feel to support a co-worker's daughter, however, think again. Buyers still have to personally know a Girl Scout to satisfy a cookie craving. After a troop's council and parents approve online selling and pick a social channel (its mobile app or website, the girls can't have both) the scouts will create profiles or personalized sites, then take the orders.
They take plenty of them, too. Rockwellian imagery aside, Girl Scout cookies are an $800 million industry designed to raise needed capital while also teaching the girls about entrepreneurship. In fact, it seems like the girls are teaching headquarters a thing or two for a change. A Girl Scouts executive told the AP that "girls have been telling us that they want to go into this space."
Social Media Profile (as of Dec. 1, 2014)
Facebook Likes: 749,799
Twitter Followers: 44,900
Instagram Followers: 8,100
Breaking news: #DigitalCookie is approved! For the first time ever, Girl Scouts can sell your favorite Cookies in a virtual space!
— Girl Scouts (@girlscouts) Dec. 1, 2014
The organization has worked to amplify its presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram employing a team to managing its channels. While the brand is looking for new members, it's aware that many of the young girls it hopes to recruit are younger than Facebook's required age of 13. Content, therefore, is aimed at parents.
The clip above is part of the Girl Scouts' effort to build a social presence online. By jumping into the conversation around Luis Suarez's World Cup biting incident, the brand has steadily garnered more interest from the general population.
- Founder Juliette Gordon Low started the Girl Scouts as a way to get young girls out of their homes and foster an interest in community service and nature.
- The organization started with 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia. Today it counts 3.2 million members and over 59 million alumnae.
- In 1922 a recipe for sugar cookies was published in The American Girl (the Girl Scout magazine) prompting troops across the country to sell cookies.
- It wasn't until 1936 that the Girl Scouts licensed a commercial baker to produce Girl Scout Cookies.
- In 2010, the Girl Scouts enlisted design firm OCD to give the brand a new look.