Skip to main content

American Heart Association ‘Start’ Campaign

When Causes Market

The very largest charities in the States have enormous resources. The American Heart Association, for instance, has more than 200 chapters and affiliates, generates more than $900 million a year and had $647 million in its fund balance (read ‘profits’) as of 2004.

So it’s no surprise that they sometimes advertise, here for their Start 'movement' which is meant to motivate Americans to be more physically active. Nor is it surprising that the campaign has sponsors. Squint your eyes and look at the bottom of this ad and maybe you can see them. Or, you can just take my word for it that they are fast food sandwich chain Subway, food processor Healthy Choice, and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

The ad appears in Sunday’s Parade Magazine, which appears as a supplement in the Sunday editions of 370 newspapers in the United States and claims circulation of nearly 33 million and a readership of 77 million.

Here’s a case where the cause-related marketing is being handled by the cause. It would be interesting to know what their goals for this ad are. I suspect this is ad is meant for branding the Start campaign and perhaps, secondarily, to recognize their sponsors.

For kicks I measured the logos of the sponsors. As printed they are approximately1/2 inch wide. Because of its horizontal format, the AstroZeneca logo is slightly larger. The ad itself is 5.5 x 71/8. Worse, the logos are reversed out onto the green of the grass. For all you can tell they’re small rocks that the happy couple pictured could stumble over.

Now Parade isn’t cheap. Assuming this ad appeared in the national edition, rather than one of the regional or zone editions the full rate card would be $408,400. To be fair, the American Heart Association probably didn’t pay the full rate card. They may have gotten the placement, which was surrounded by a two-column feature called, “You Can Lose Weight,” for free. Even if the Heart Association paid for some part of it, the ad was probably underwritten by sponsor money.

Free, discounted or paid in full, why are the logos of the campaign’s sponsors so darn small? What is the value of making your sponsors’ presence so discrete they can barely be discerned?

A few years back the big single-disease charities went through some breast-beating over cause-related marketing. After some notable scandals, the Attorneys General… the law enforcement authorities in each of the 50 states… gave them a little slap on the wrist and the charities responded by developing new policies to govern the kinds of cause-related marketing and corporate collaborations they would undertake, as well as what kind of language they could use in ads and promotions.

Some of the charities made penance and are back, the Arthritis Foundation comes to mind. Others, like the American Medical Association, were so chastened by their experience they no longer employ cause-related marketing. Some, like the American Heart Association, apparently try to split the difference.

The result is an ad that does next to nothing for their sponsors.

I hope the American Heart Association has strong relationships with its sponsors, because if I were one of them, I’d be a little steamed at this token effort.


Popular posts from this blog

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance and Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …