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Showing posts from April, 2007

Silk Soymilk and The Bonneville Environmental Foundation

Wind-Powered Cause Marketing

As I write this, I don’t know exactly where the electricity that powers my computer comes from. I live in Utah and a good deal of electrical power is generated from locally-mined coal. So it could have come from a relatively dirty source like that.

I’m about five miles away from a canyon stream where there’s been a small hydroelectric plant for more than 80 years. Environmentally-speaking, that’s quite clean. Moreover, this part of the American West is dotted with super-sized hydroelectric plants. So it could have come from one of those sources, too. Or maybe a nuclear or solar power plant.

Illustrated above is an interesting cause-related marketing and sweepstakes campaign from Silk, the soymilk which is positioned against its competition in two main ways.

The first is that it’s kept in the refrigerator case near the dairy milk and thereby tastes more like cow’s milk. Soymilk doesn't have to be refrigerated. Silk, in fact has a line of soymilk that is &qu…

Cause Marketing and Galvanic Corrosion

Are there some cause marketing elements that should not be placed together in the same campaign? Or, if your company has a cause campaign with one charity are there other charities you should not support with a cause campaign?

These and other questions came to me recently while watching roofers replace the roof on a neighbor's house. They put copper flashing around the chimney and then very carefully nailed it down with expensive copper nails.

Anyone who has every roofed a house knows why. If you used the same galvanized nails that you use to nail down shingles they would react with the copper. First the nails would corrode and then the copper flashing in the area where the nail had been would corrode. It’s the result of an electrochemical reaction called galvanic corrosion.

You see the same effect in the kitchen when you bake salty foods like lasagna in a steel pan and cover it with aluminum foil. Leave it on too long and the foil will get pitted where it touches the lasagna. That’s…

Starfish Televison Network Goes Live

Watch it on Dish 1000 or on

The Starfish Television Network profiled several times in this blog space, began broadcasting on Dish 1000 on Wednesday, April 18. Not long thereafter it began streaming live on Virtual Digital Cable, Starfish [itself a 501(c)(3) public charity] airs 24-7, so it still very much needs your nonprofit programming. Almost all types are welcome, including long-form programs, PSAs, documentaries, televised galas and award programs, sports events with a charitable angle, you name it. But Starfish isn't indiscriminate. As per its nonprofit status, the programming must be must informational and educational in nature. Oh, and airing programming on Starfish is free to nonprofits! Starfish has a second need and that's for money to keep the channel on the air. As a public broadcaster Starfish is subject to FCC rules and regulations, much like PBS. So the staff and board of Starfish is actively seeking grants and sponsorship from corporations, foundat…

An Interview with a Student Journalist II

This is the second half of an interview with University of Georgia Journalism Student Cathryn McIntosh on the subject of cause-related marketing. Read the first half here.

As before, I've edited this a little bit; this time because of some typos and to clarify some answers. Yikes! Needless to say as a former journalism student myself, I haven't been a good mentor when it comes to providing clean copy. So do what I say Cathryn, not what I do.
Ms. McIntosh's questions are in italics and my answers follow.
Do you think people take time to investigate the causes tied to the items they purchase? (i.e. A leopard printed bracelet “to save the leopards in Timbuktu?”)

That depends. By now I think we all know what the American Cancer Society is about or the Heart Association. Those causes either move you or they don’t. Newer entities like Susan G. Komen and Make-A-Wish probably have pretty good top of mind awareness, too. For the majority of us, those charities don’t require a lot of d…

Join Cause-Related Marketing, Get a Choice of Two Cool Tools You Can Use Today

Kind Readers:

Kenta H. from Seattle is the latest person to join the Cause-Related Marketing Googlegroup.

You can join, too.

When you do, each new posting will come directly to your email box. No more typing in the unwieldy causerelatedmarketing.blogspot URL! Or finding the URL link through another site.

As an inducement, everyone that joins receives a copy of the “Five Flavors of Cause-Related Marketing, or the five-page “Corporate Benefits of Cause-Related Marketing” memo, which include footnotes. The choice is yours.

Use them to brainstorm new cause marketing ideas or bring a little gravitas to your proposals.

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

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 and contact information to any third party.

Warm regards,

Paul Jones
Alden Keene & Associates, Inc.

An Interview with a Student Journalist Part I

Go Bulldogs!

After my interview with Jessica Bennett of Newsweek several weeks back, I was astonished when another journalist approached me for an interview, this time a student from the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia in lovely Athens.
Having trained as a journalist myself, I could hardly turn down the request from Cathryn McIntosh.
This time I've redacted the interview a little. Ms. McIntosh asked several personal questions which I can't believe too many of my readers are interested in.
What follows are the first half of Ms. McIntosh's questions in italics and my answers. I'll post the remaining half on Thursday.
How do you think cause marketing is affecting social/political activism in America today?

I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this question. There are certainly people who think of cause marketing as shilling for immoral and faceless corporations. Others see cause marketing as a bald attempt to increase consumerism and thereby wa…

Hooah Energy Bars and the Troops

A ‘Marketing Conceit’

Regular readers know that transparency is my bĂȘte noire. Directly or indirectly, I must have 10 posts that address the issue. But it bears repeating; when it comes to cause-related marketing, don’t try to snooker the customer.

I saw this ad for Hooah Energy Bars in All You magazine, a women’s magazine published for Wal-Mart by Time Inc., and it has some transparency problems.

The ad and the website say, “Every HOOAH bar helps fund research that improves soldier safety, diet, and quality of life.” Promotional material for its liquid companion, HOOAH Soldier Fuel energy drink use similar language.

Supporting the troops sounds great doesn’t it? Especially to people like me with a military background (I was in the Army National Guard).

But that’s not exactly what’s happening here. The formulas for the bar and the drink were licensed by the US Department of Defense to D’Andrea Brothers, LLC, which produces and markets them under the HOOAH name.

In other words, the licensing…

Hobby Lobby and Christian Cause Marketing

Higher Cause Marketing

Let’s try a thought experiment.

Suppose you’re a dominant retail player in a fast-growing $30 billion segment. Suppose your founder and CEO was number 242 on the Forbes list of richest Americans, with an estimated net worth of some $1.5 billion. Suppose you had 386 outlets in 30 heartland states. Suppose your sales are expected to come in around $1.8 billion in 2007. Suppose you have your own in-house ad agency and a history of advertising both weekly specials along with holiday time image campaigns.

Now suppose your company is avowedly Christian and everybody knows it.

Do you/should you do Christian-themed cause-related marketing? If yes, who would your partners be?

This thought was sparked by the ad above run on Easter Sunday by Hobby Lobby, the privately-held retailer founded and owned by David Green, age 64.

Since confession is good for the soul, let me confess that I’ve never been in a Hobby Lobby store and I don’t know if they do any cause marketing or not.

But t…

Finesse Shampoo and Conditioner and Locks of Love

Not Exactly Golden Locks

How do you target Gen Y, the 76 million [in the States] ‘Millennials’ born between 1978 and 2000? Well a cause campaign is not a bad idea because the members of Gen Y are characterized as idealistic, optimistic, honest and sincere. And they like to shop.

Few of them remember the time before the Internet and they’re the most technologically savvy generation ever. We used to say they were the most wired generation, but that’s no longer true; if I have any Gen Y readers they’re probably reading this on their cell phones.

But what kind of cause appeals to them?

United Way is for people who drive Buicks.

Susan G. Komen is for the mothers and grandmothers of Gen Y.

Make-A-Wish? You’re getting warmer.

Finesse hair shampoo and conditioner picked Locks of Love, the Lake Worth, Florida nonprofit that solicits donations of natural hair which is then manufactured into wigs and distributed to kids and adults with long-term hair loss, usually due to a condition called alopecia are…

World-Beating Cause Marketing II

Fortunes at the Bottom of the Pyramid

The four campaigns we talked about in Thursday’s post are all classic examples of ‘the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’ thinking.

The book of the same name by University of Michigan scholar C.K. Prahalad, lays out how technology… and new ways of thinking about customers… can enable companies to deliver products and services of value to the four billion people across the globe who live on less than $2 a day.

In a similar way, these four single-element campaigns raise big money, not by asking for large donations, but by asking for small ones. The US Postal Service Breast Cancer Semipostal Stamp generates just six pennies at a pop! The BoxTops for Education campaign from General Mills just 10 cents.

Needless to say, this flies in the face of conventional wisdom in fundraising which goes something like this: ‘it’s just as much work to ask for a modest donation as a big one, so you might as well ask for a big one.’ In other words, focus on the top of …