Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2007

World-Beating Cause Marketing I

There are a handful of big ‘single-element' cause-related marketing campaigns that have been around for decades, and in their longevity they hold lessons for cause marketers everywhere. Today I'll review four of the very best. In my next post I’ll discuss what we can learn from them.

First some caveats.

I'm going to list four campaigns not because there are only four, but because any more than that would make these posts unwieldy. Three-forths of them are North American because frankly, I'm most familiar with them. If you have examples from somewhere else that should be on this list, by all means leave a comment or email me at aldenkeeneatgmaildotcom. I'd love to feature campaigns from other places.

Here's how I determined my list. I looked at large-scale campaigns that have been around for at least 10 years, have broad appeal and have raised at least $50 million over their term.

I eliminated all the walks, runs, bike-a-thons, etc. Although those kinds of campaigns…

Cause-Related Marketing with Franchises

In the States there’s one place where you’re all but guaranteed to run into some kind of cause-related marketing, namely a retail franchise outlet.

The ten largest U.S. based franchise systems, ranked according to total system sales volume as ranked by the Franchise Times follow. Where known I’ve added the cause with which each franchise system is most publicly-affiliated.

1). McDonald’s… Ronald McDonald House Charities

2). 7-Eleven… Muscular Dystrophy Association

3). Carlson-Wagonlit Travel…?

4). KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)…?

5). Ace Hardware… Children’s Miracle Network

6). Burger King… ?

7). Pizza Hut…Book It reading incentive program

8). Coldwell Banker Real Estate… Habitat for Humanity

9). Subway Restaurants… American Heart Association

10). Wendy’s…Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

It’s not surprising that consumer-oriented franchises would tend to have a cause marketing focus. Academic researchers consistently find that corporate social responsibility makes good business sense for busine…

Anger, the (Unfortunate) Coin of the Realm

Someone just annonymously posted some angry rhetorical comments/questions about last week's posting about Rocky Mountain Power's Cool Keeper program.

This person plainly has complaints about Rocky Mountain Power. I'll happily air those complaints in this blog, but I won't do so anonymously.

The anonymity of the social media (like this blog) allows for anger to be the coin of the realm. I, for one, find that to be an unfortunate side effect of Web 2.0.

(Although as George Will recently wrote, anger may just be the ethos of the current American zeitgeist, rather than an unintended consequence of the anonymity possible in blog comments.)

So to the person who made the anonymous comments about Rocky Mountain Power, feel free to repost those comments. If you include your name and email, I'll publish them.

If there's a compelling reason to maintain your anonymity, email me at aldenkeeneatgmail.com with an explanation.

Finally, it probably goes without saying, but I reserve …

Join Cause-Related Marketing, Get a Cool Tool You Can Use Now

Kind Readers:
Tarek from Washington D.C. is the latest person to join the Cause-Related Marketing Googlegroup.
You can join, too.
When you do, each new posting to Cause-Related Marketing comes directly to your email box.
As an inducement, everyone that joins receives a copy of the "Five Flavors of Cause-Related Marketing," which explains Cause-Related Marketing in an easy-to-follow matrix and includes examples.
It's a great brainstorming tool and helps ensure that your campaign has all the bells and whistles appropriate for that flavor of Cause-Related Marketing.
To join, simply send your name, your email address, city and country to aldenkeeneatgmail.com.
The city and country thing helps me know for whom I'm writing. Your privacy is important to me, so be assured that I will never sell your name or contact information to any third party.

Warm regards,
Paul Jones Alden Keene & Associates, Inc.

The Long Tail of Nonprofit Communications

Starfish Television Network Offers Free Airing of Your Nonproft Programming

Hits used to rule.

In Hollywood the blockbuster has been the dominant business model since the first Star Wars movie was released.

In 2004, only 1,187 books sold 50,000 or more copies and only 10 titles sold more than a million copies in the States. Fully 948,000 of the 1.2million titles released that year sold fewer than 100 copies!

Hits ruled, says Chris Anderson… the editor of Wired and author of The Long Tail… because of physics. Even at a Wal-Mart Supercenter, there’s space for no more than 5,000 CDs. And every one is carefully selected with the expectation that it will sell; that the inventory will 'turn.' Otherwise inventory and carrying costs eat up all the margin. In the physical world of atoms, inventory is the veritable 'hot potato;' hold onto it too long and you get burned.

But in an online environment where you store and sell not atoms but bytes, you can profitably sell not just a few t…

Rocky Mountain Power Cool Keeper Program

"All cause-related marketing is incentives." Milton Friedman, the late economist said that. OK, not really. He said to be an economist is to believe that incentives work. So call me an economist.

[Somebody please tell me where I can find the real quote. I seem to remember it but haven’t been able to track it down.]

Whether or not I’m remembering it right, it’s certainly true that cause-related marketing is based on the premise that incentives work.

We when think of those incentives, especially in the wake of the criticism surrounding RED, we tend to think that the incentives work only to encourage consumption. That’s only sometimes the case.

Rocky Mountain Power, an electrical utility that serves the U.S. states of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho sent out this cause marketing driven offer in fall 2006. The offer goes like this: sign up for their Cool Keeper plan and the company installs a device on the air conditioner at your home or office which allows Rocky Mountain Power to shut dow…

Practice Transparency in Your Cause Marketing Campaigns or Do Damage Control

Through the Glass Cleary

Cause-related marketing campaigns have been in the news this last week in the States.

Much of the coverage was prompted by the Ad Age article (registration required) that estimated that perhaps $18 million has been generated by the RED campaign while perhaps $100 million has been spent promoting it. Bobby Shriver, the cofounder of RED disputes both figures, but hasn’t provided new ones. Maybe he’ll save that for the Cause Marketing Forum coming up May 17 in New York City.

I’m not going to rehash the numbers or try to mitigate damage. Plenty of people have already trod that sodden ground. But there is one element common to all the news coverage I’ve seen with which I’m in complete agreement… namely, the need for greater transparency.

Here’s how they put it in the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek:

The subhead in the Christian Science Monitor article dated March 12 reads; “Companies spent $1.34 billion on ‘cause-related marketing’ last year in the US, but critic…

Spending Dollars to Raise Pennies? II

On Tuesday I posted the first half of an email I sent to Jessica Bennett, a reporter at Newsweek.

The rest of her questions and my answers follow.

Ms. Bennett quoted me in her article, which you can read here.

Also, my email to her included several links which I neglected to include in Tuesday's post.

I've revised Tuesday's post to include those links. Feel free to read it here.


4. Are we buying merely to clear our consciouses?

You know, I'm not sure if I'm equipped to answer this question. I will say this, Americans are far and away the most generous donors to charity: in 2005 those donations exceeded $260 billion. Part of that is because we don't practice the social welfare state the way the Europeans do. Part of it is because we have very favorable tax laws. But assume for a second that IEG is right and something like $1.3 billion comes from cause marketing. That's a pittance compared to the total donations going to charities. If we are buying to assuage our …

Spending Dollars to Raise Pennies?

Right now the monster RED campaign is drawing all kinds of fire for spending dollars to make pennies. The rhetoric is flowing hot and fast in the new media and the old.

A reporter for Newsweek even approached me for my opinion. I hope she quotes me. In the event she doesn't, I’ll post half her questions and my responses today and the remainder on Thursday.

On 3/9/07, Bennett, Jessica <1234@newsweek.com> wrote:

hi paul,
ok, feel free to pick and choose from these and contribute your own thoughts if you think there's anything i've overlooked. also let me know if you've got any suggestions of background info or studies i should look into.

1. what's the premise behind cause marketing, why does it work, and how pervasive is it today?

A lot of things are called cause marketing that are probably mislabeled. As I think of it cause marketing is generally a promotional tactic meant draw on the appeal of a cause to help sell a product for a company. Like most promotions, ther…

American Greetings Ad for Sesame Workshop

Elmo’s World of Slick Cause-Related Marketing

I confess I don’t have the experience abroad to judge if it’s a good idea to take Sesame Street… the 38-year-old American children’s TV show… to places like Egypt, Bangladesh, and South Africa. And I’m not sure to what degree the shows “work” in those countries.

(In fact, neither are Sesame Street’s producers. Here’s what their president and CEO Gary E. Knell wrote in their 2005 annual report: “As we’ve said before, we don’t pretend that media can, by itself, solve the many problems of the world, but we do believe­­­—and research confirms—that they can contribute to the solutions.”)

I do, however, have a background in cause-related marketing and this 2-part ad, which appeared in BabyTalk Magazinein May 2006, leaves me cold.

As we’ll see, even though it has the veneer of cause-related marketing, it’s actually just an advertisement for one of Sesame Street’s licensees. American Greetings… the greeting card giant… was a Sesame Street-licensee whe…

Staples Easy Button Campaign Benefiting Boys and Girls Clubs of America

Cause Branding® Made Easy

Years ago Carolyn Cone and her eponymous Boston agency Cone, Inc., started using the term “Cause Branding®:” branding cause marketing, as it were.

I don’t think she or Cone, Inc. had anything to do with Staples Easy Button campaign.
If not, then at least Staples owes a debt of gratitude to Carol Cone because this campaign is a fine example of Cause Branding®.

In the States there are three national office supply superstores: Staples, Office Depot and the much smaller OfficeMax. Staples invented the business model and remains the largest company as well as the class of the bunch. Its stock has outperformed its competitors… as well as the broader stock market… and its growth prospects are superior.

Staples has countless other competitors including wholesalers and regional and local suppliers and stores. It’s a crowded marketplace, in other words.

So Staples began to do what any self-respecting marketing-driven company would do, they begin to brand themselves to break …

Join Cause-Related Marketing, Get a Cool Tool You can Use Now

Kind Readers:

Dave from Kansas City, Missouri is the latest person to join the Cause-Related Marketing Googlegroup.

You can join, too.

When you do, each new posting to Cause-Related Marketing comes directly to your email box.

As an inducement, everyone that joins receives a copy of the "Five Flavors of Cause-Related Marketing," which explains Cause-Related Marketing in an easy-to-follow matrix and includes examples.

It's a great brainstorming tool and helps ensure that your campaign has all the bells and whistles appropriate for that flavor of Cause-Related Marketing.

To join, simply send your name, your email address, city and country to aldenkeeneatgmail.com.

The city and country thing is important because it helps me know for whom I'm writing.

Your privacy is important to me, so be assured that I will never sell your name or contact information to any third party.

Warm regards,
Paul Jones