In Case You Wondered...

... It Works, Cause-Related Marketing Works!

The Utah Food Bank is a monster of cause-related marketing in my state this time of year. The need for food is slightly higher in this season, but the fact is they use the generosity of the Christmas season to generate food donations that will see them into next summer; that’s one of the reasons why they ask for canned goods.

To cite just a few examples, right now all the TV advertising for Jiffy Lube, the quick oil-change outfit with 70 locations in the state, highlights their long-standing relationship to the Utah Food Bank. TV ads on behalf of the Utah Food Bank are also airing from Smiths (a grocery chain that’s a part of Kroger), Wells Fargo (a national bank), and Siegfried & Jensen (personal injury law firm), among others. There’s also direct mail campaign provided by the sponsors, and newspaper and radio ads. I haven't seen it yet, but they usually do a publicity stunt for public relations purposes as well.

I’ll do a fuller review of the Utah Food Bank’s cause-related marketing activities later this month, but for now witness the power of a local nonprofit brand in full flower.

Here’s why I say that.

The illustration is a flyer from a real estate agent named Rick Southwick who hosts an annual Christmas party for his clients at a movie theater. Bring in one can of food per person for the Utah Food Bank, and Rick pays for the movie of your choice.

Rick is a demon marketer. Every month he sends me a well-prepared newsletter. He’s hosted this party for five years now, too. So when Rick decides to do something charitable in conjunction with his annual party, who does he choose? Why the Utah Food Bank, of course. It’s a no-brainer.

Did they contact him about doing this? No. The fact is, that Jiffy Lube, Smiths, Wells Fargo, Siegfried & Jensen and others have done such a bang up job marketing the Utah Food Bank, that Rick would be hard-pressed to find something better for him to support this time of year. And the Utah Food Bank’s pickup locations are so efficiently sited, he’ll probably just take all the donations to the nearest Smiths after the party.

Done well, this is what cause-related marketing can do for a charity brand. It can inspire people to start doing stuff for you that you’ll never know about and that you didn’t specifically ask for.

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