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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.

During the years they’ve done cause-themed FSIs, Proctor & Gamble has been through at least three CEOs and the brands featured in the FSIs have had more managers than Tide has been called “New & Improved.” In other words, these cause-themed FSIs are part of the DNA at Proctor & Gamble.

You can also be certain that these promotions work, Proctor & Gamble is too market-driven for it to be otherwise.

As a result, there isn’t a cause (that’s already comfortable with cause-related marketing) that wouldn’t happily trade three of their board members for a relationship with P&G, if only for the sake of the prestige it carries.

Here’s what’s good about this FSI:

+ They use a whole FSI, not just a few pages. This is a considerable commitment of time and treasure. I can guess at the price of a whole FSI of the size of the brandSAVER, and it’s more than a few Italian sports cars.

+ They theme it to Halloween, which is now the second best holiday for promotions in the United States. Part of this is simple good fortune for P&G. Trick or Treat for UNICEF which dates to 1950, has raised $132 million over the last 56 years at Halloween time. So a trick or treat for UNICEF FSI promotion couldn’t really take place in, say, June.

+ They tell UNICEF’s story, but they don’t bludgeon you with it. This is absolutely vital. Never show starving kids in an FSI! To marketers on the charity side I would say, remember your audience isn’t major donors. Nor is it people sponsoring a child. Instead it’s people willing to support your cause by buying something, mainly household products.

+ The visuals make the message clear, support “kids in need” by taking your kids trick or treating for UNICEF. The visuals are reinforced often with different, but complementary photos on full and partial pages.

+ The specifics of the campaign including where the money goes and how to participate are explained with just enough detail, but not too much.

+ Proctor & Gamble isn’t shy about mixing causes in a cause-themed brandSAVER, so the UNICEF FSI shares space with Make-A-Wish and a cause message about the environmental uses of Dawn dish detergent. P&G doesn’t try and force UNICEF unto their brands for which the promotion doesn’t make sense or which have other existing cause relationships.

On this blog I have taken to task other sponsors who have not included donation amounts, but I won’t with P&G because they’ve been doing this so long they’ve earned our trust.

Another first-rate effort from one of the world’s best cause-related marketers, Proctor & Gamble.


Danelle said…
My daughter is the one who modeled for this ad two years ago. I am glad she is promoting something positive.

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