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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 coasters, a paper icon campaign, a micro-website, a sweepstakes element, and branded merchandise. At the time I wrote that it was a few tweaks short of perfection. And I was right. All told it raised more than $8.2 million in this its third year at a national level. Later this month I’ll post in greater depth about this well-executed campaign.
MAC Aids Fund
  • MAC, which makes high-end cosmetics, does a cause-related marketing campaign few companies could/would dare to match. “Every cent of the selling price of MAC Viva Glam Lipstick and Lipglass is donated to the MAC AIDs Fund to support men, women and children living with HIV and AIDs,” their ads point out. Plus their ads… featuring models and actresses… make the sexiest use of any of the celebrity supporters I saw in 2007.
Lay’s Destination Joy and Make-A-Wish
  • I liked the many layers of this promotion between the salty snack maker and Make-A-Wish, the charity that grants wishes to ill children. There were a lot of moving parts…a standard buy a bag make a donation element; celebrities; an awareness-raising piece; plenty of media, including PR and on-package promos; special events; an online auction; and, retail fundraising… but they were well integrated. I touted the promotion as reason enough to always include an “ancillary opportunities” in your sponsorship proposal.
Open Source Cause-Related Marketing X2

Twice in 2007 I described cause-related marketing promotions as being reflective of the ‘open source movement,’ a term usually applied to software and meaning that the source code for a piece of software is available to users.
  • The first time I used the expression was in praise of General Mills’ Box Tops for Education campaign. Not too long ago only General Mills brands could use the promotion which was developed in house. In 2006 General Mills opened the campaign to non-competing brands including Scott paper towels, Hefty disposable plates, Ziploc, Huggies, Land’s End, J.C. Penney, and others. General Mills still owns the copyright, but Box Tops for Education now belongs all the sponsoring brands, not just those from General Mills. As a result, the campaign has grown explosively.
  • I also praised the breast cancer charities for not ‘tying up’ the ownership of the pink breast cancer ribbon. I looked, but could not find any evidence that the emblematic pink ribbon by itself was trademarked in the United States. The result is that any entity… for-profit or not-for-profit… can use it. Any entity can also abuse it, too. Nonetheless, the paradox is that because no one owns the pink ribbon, it’s more valuable!
Cantilena Music
  • I wasn’t crazy about the vagueness of the mission of the Cantilena Music Foundation, which is associated with the company called Cantilena Music. But I did like their direct, appropriate, and strategic cause marketing campaign. When you commission music from Cantilena, they direct 15 percent of the total to the foundation, which supports deaf children in North America and abroad. Since the price of a commission from Cantilena ranges from just under $2,000 to more than $5,000, this is a meaningful donation.
Email a Duck, Raise a Buck
  • There was a cute Web 2.0 element in this small campaign from the company Munchkin, Inc. In the campaign you could create a virtual Munchkin rubber duck and email it to friends. Every time someone opened it, a nickel went to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, up to $10,000. You could track your duck’s movement on the website. The name, “email a duck, raise a buck” was a problem, since a duck email had to be opened 20 times to raise a buck. Still I liked the Web 2.0 aspect to it.
Get Away Today Vacations and Credit Unions for Kids
  • Even though they break one of my cardinal rules for cause-related marketing, namely transparency, I had great admiration for the campaign from Get Away Today Vacations. By trading on the reputation of credit unions and Children’s Miracle Network, Get Away Today Vacations, a travel agency and vacation packager, has been able to very quietly raise a noisy $1 million.

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