The most unusual thing about the latest advertising campaign being promoted by the owners of Lily & Co. Jewelers on Sanibel isn't the fact that the company's "spokesdog" is dressed in an assortment of unusual costumes. In fact, that's been a long-running gimmick.
What is unique to the latest series is that these ads not only promotes their jewelry business, but also promotes other local businesses as well as several of the island's non-profit organizations, the latter of which will ultimately benefit the most.
"I would notice when going to functions around the islands, I would see the same people, and they would be writing checks to the same groups and organizations," said Dan Schuyler, co-owner of Lily & Co. "But then I thought there must be a way to take that to a different level. How can we get visitors to the islands involved in some of the charitable causes and support our non-profits?"
Soon, Schuyler came up with an idea. Since everybody who comes to Sanibel and Captiva visits our local restaurants, it would seem only natural to launch an advertising campaign that involved eateries here.
"Once I had the idea, I went to 19 restaurants on the islands," recalled Schuyler. "And every one of them said yes. They wanted to get involved."
The idea was to create a series of posters featuring Lily, co-owner Karen Bell's now famous Labradoodle, costumed — thanks to a little bit of PhotoShop special effects — in different outfits following individual themes. At the Coffee Bar @ Bailey's, for instance, Lily is dressed like one of their baristas.
While each restaurant was asked to not only select a "theme" for their poster, they were also asked to choose one of their menu items — an entree, dessert, appetizer or cocktail — that would be featured as a speciality. Customers who order that selection will not only enjoy that food or beverage, they will also be supporting the non-profit group or organization, as chosen by each restaurant, who receives a portion of the proceeds.
For example, patrons of the Coffee Bar @ Bailey's who order a "Lily Snowball" — a coffee beverage flavored with white chocolate and coconut — for $4, 10 percent of all proceeds from their purchase donated to F.I.S.H.
"The campaign is wonderful because it is making more people aware of our local charities," said Blanaid Colley, owner of the Coffee Bar @ Bailey's. "That money stays on the island."
At George & Wendy's Corner Grill, folks who purchase a "Lily Colada" will, in effect, be supporting the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society. Buy an Over Easy Orange Roll at the Over Easy Cafe and support The Onyx & Breezy Foundation. Order a Dragon Roll at Twilight Cafe, and a portion of your purchase will go to PURRE.
"For our part, Lily & Co. will match all of the contributions made by each of the participating restaurants," said Schuyler.
Other restaurants taking part in the ad campaign includes The Stone Crab, Traders, Il Tesoro, Timbers, Sanibel Steakhouse, The Jacaranda, Old Captiva House at 'Tween Waters Inn, Courtney's, Beachview Steakhouse & Seafood, The Mad Hatter, Schnapper's Hots, Greenhouse Grill and Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille.
"This is another way that brings together island businesses towards a common goal," added Bell. "It's businesses supporting other businesses, and together we are all supporting Sanibel and Captiva's non-profits."
Jeret Foshee stands next to the poster at the Coffee Bar @ Bailey's which promotes the Lily Snowball, a coffee beverage flavored with white chocolate and coconut.