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Showing posts from October, 2006


Let Us Now Praise Good Cause-Related Marketing

So far there are six posts at and everyone of them has been critical to one degree or another. The point of this blog isn’t to flame every cause-related campaign I see as bad or inadequate. I expect there’s more to be learned more from good campaigns than bad ones.

So, on All Hallow’s Eve I want to back off my criticism to praise a cause-related campaign from a company that consistently gets cause-related marketing right, Proctor & Gamble.

This cause-themed FSI for UNICEF, which dropped circa September-October 2006 is one of Proctor & Gamble’s monthly “brandSAVER coupon booklets.” I haven’t kept count, but the cause-themed brandSAVERs seem to appear at least quarterly. They’ve done a year-end FSI for Special Olympics for many years and I’ve seen special versions for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, VH-1 Save the Music, and others. They’ve done an FSI for UNICEF for at least four years.


Annual Women & Business Conference

Coulda Woulda? Shoulda

Imagine an existing event with a successful 30-year history aimed at women in business. Imagine a well-known celebrity pundit and mother as the keynote.

Now imagine a nice cause ‘overlay,’ as we used to call it at Children’s Miracle Network: maybe a donation is made to a local kids cause with every early registration. Maybe there’s a silent auction at the event benefiting single moms in poverty. Maybe there’s an incentive for bringing usable professional women’s clothes that would go to Dress for Success. Or maybe there’s a breakout session that explains to attendees how to add the power of cause-related marketing to their companies or businesses. (All modesty aside, yours truly could help with that).

Well in this ad for the Annual Women & Business Conference and award luncheon you’re going to have use your imagination, because neither the sponsors… American Express, Wells Fargo, the Salt Lake Chamber, and others… nor the organizers included a cause-related mar…

Cute Mini Ad Has Room for Improvement

Cute Ad. And Not Terribly Useful.

Austin Minis are so doggone cute, when I see one in a parking lot I just want to pinch its little bottom. I feel much the same way about their ad for Meals on Wheels that runs in the November 2006 issue of Fast Company.

We’re giving over some ad space for a needy cause, “to red light hunger,” the ad says, and that's good. The Meals on Wheels Association of America in Alexandria, Va., helps enable meals to the nation’s elderly in local cities and towns, and can make good use your donation. No doubt any of the nation’s dozens of Meals on Wheels affiliates, where the rubber actually hits the road, would say the same.

But the ad strikes me as a one-off, and... if so... that would be too bad. I couldn’t find anything about a deeper relationship on either the website or at God bless Mini USA and their ad agency Sausalito, California-based Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners for thinking of a charity to support in this way, but I’d be su…

A Cheer-and-a-half for Soft and Dri’s FSI Ad

Made by a Man? But is it Strong Enough For Women?

This ad for Dial’s antiperspirant/deodorant Soft and Dri, appeared in an FSI during October 2006, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I like the ad, but I wonder if that isn’t because I’m a man. The copy and design are quite clean, in a way that men tend to like. The headline is spare and the call to action straightforward, as is the offer. The product is wrapped by an iconic pink ribbon.

The ad size was just 7 x 5.387... half an FSI page... so I suppose the designers would claim that they didn’t have the space to take the ad in another direction. And they'd certainly be right.

But research suggests that women like (or at least will read) ads with more copy. Considering what Y-Me does, it might have been preferable in this case. Among other things, Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization runs a hotline… staffed exclusively by breast cancer survivors… that answers the anguished calls from women who have learned that they or a loved…

A Raspberry for Linens 'n Things Ad

An Ad that Tries to Do Too Much and Fails

Charities… even sophisticated and well-funded entities… are often guilty of trying to make their marketing collateral do too much. But in this ad for a multipart cause-related marketing promotion, it is the sponsor who muffs it by trying to do too much.

Here’s the list of vendors or corporate partners:

* Linens ‘n Things
* MasterCard
* Gund
* Homedics
* Yankee Candle
* + 2 unknown brands.

Here’s the list of potentially benefiting charities:

* National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
* Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
* Val Skinner Foundation for Breast Cancer
* Breast Cancer Research Foundation
* + other potential but unnamed beneficiaries.

Here are the elements of the promotion:
* Add a dollar to your Linens ‘n Things purchase between October 1-31, 2006 (October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month) and:
- Linens ‘n Things will match the donations up to $100,000
- MasterCard will match the donations up to an additional $100,000
- The total potential …

A Raspberry to Hamilton Collection's Promotion

Time Warp Cause Marketing from Hamilton Collection is Potentially Deceptive and Certainly Less Effective Than it Could Be

Hamilton Collection’s “Breast Cancer Charity Collectible Shoe Figurine: Hope” (whew!) is cause-related marketing at its finest, circa 1989.

This product, advertised in an FSI that dropped in September or October of 2006 would have been cutting edge 17 years ago. Now it appears, at least outwardly, to be deceptive.

Why? Several things are conspicuously absent from this ad. The first, of course, is mention of which organization(s) will benefit from the sale of the “Hope” shoe. The second is any suggestion of how much donation will devolve to the unnamed organization(s) from each sale. When that information is missing, it’s easy to wonder if the promotion’s legit.

Worse, the first sentence of the body copy “…share in the hope for the future with this inspiring sculpture designed to help increase breast cancer awareness…” does little to dispel any doubts. Because you coul…

Eyeballs Vs. Tears

Barely a day goes by that I don't see some kind of cause-related marketing, some good and some not so good.

With this blog I will examine in detail those cause marketing promotions, advertising and campaigns; when they get it right, and where it goes wrong.

Cause-related marketing has been around for more than 20 years now. Even people who don't know the term, understand what it's all about; send in the Yoplait lid and 10 cents goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

But, according to IEG, while cause-related marketing is growing faster than sponsorship as a whole, cause-related marketing currently represents less than 10 percent of the larger sponsorship market. That sounds like a positive, but cause-related marketing has been as high as 10 percent of sponsorship.

For all its heart, cause-related marketing is still settling for the sloppy seconds left over from the NFL, NASCAR and the like. I think that's because while those big guys understand that sponsorsh…