'Checkout' This New Cause Marketing Study

In its most recent edition, The Checkout, the publishing outlet for research developed by The Integer Group, asked Americans an intriguing cause marketing question: “When choosing between two companies that each benefit a cause and sell the same product, similar in price and quality, which of the following would influence your preference for one brand over another.”

Let’s put some flesh on that. The question asks, in effect, when do you buy Progresso soup and when do buy Campbell’s soup, given that they both benefit education causes? Or when do you buy Yoplait yogurt and when do you buy Dannon yogurt, each of which generates funds for separate breast cancer charities?

No surprise, but ‘Personal Relevance of Cause’ was the top answer for both men and women, polling out around 70 percent (the graph was formatted such that exact percentages are hard to determine). The most surprising answer for me was the second most common answer. About 33 percent of men said that “Donates With Every Purchase” compared to about 38 percent of the overall population and about 44 percent of women who gave that answer.

Men seem to care less about transactional cause marketing than women.

On its website The Integer Group describes itself as “a global discussion about the impact of shopping culture on brand strategy.” The research based on a nationally representative study of 1,200 adults and is conducted by M/A/R/C Research.

The Checkout published the results of three cause marketing questions. The other two were:

“Which of the following types of causes do you find most compelling if you were to buy a brand based on its affiliation with a cause?”

“Which brands of products do you currently buy based on the brand’s affiliation with a cause?”

The top 10 finishers were:
  1. Yoplait
  2. Anything Affiliated With Breast Cancer
  3. (tie) Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Newman’s Own
  4. General Mills
  5. Yogurt in general
  6. (tie) P&G and RED
  7. Boxtops for Education
  8. (tie) Kellogg’s, Campbell’s and Girl Scouts
  9. Dawn
  10. Avon
The big winner in that list is General Mills, which is listed three times. General Mills owns the Yoplait brand and is responsible for Boxtops for Education. Dawn’s place on the list was unexpected. The survey was conducted in February, 2011, and it could be that Dawn’s work in the aftermath of the BP oil spill in April, May, June and July of 2010 was still fresh in people’s minds.

The other winner has to be (RED), which has only been around since 2006. No other brand on the list has been doing cause marketing for less than 10 years. Campbell’s Labels for Education has been going on for more than 35 years.

The biggest shocker has to be that ‘yogurt in general’ finished fifth, evidence that the Yoplait halo is big enough for the whole yogurt category. No wonder Dannon mimics Yoplait so closely.

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