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Old School Cause-Related Marketing for the Web 2.0 Era

I don’t remember the last time I saw a cause-related marketing campaign for which the donation was predicated on consumers redeeming a coupon.

But right now for every $1 off coupon you redeem for Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu multipurpose contact lens solution, they’ll give a $1 donation to Susan G. Komen For the Cure. The donation is capped at $400,000 and $300,000 is guaranteed.

Back in the day, here in the United States, a plurality of cause-related marketing campaigns for packaged goods were based on coupon redemption. Now I’d say they’re the exception.

But here’s the Web 2.0 twist. The coupon isn’t in this ad from the May 2008 Cookie Magazine, a parenting magazine for mothers. Instead the ad directs you to the campaign website

To print the coupon you’re required to enter your name and email address. If you've already bought ReNu you can enter a code from the bottle to make the $1 donation. The website also has three short videos of people affected by breast cancer (two of which are from boys!). The site allows you to email those three stories to friends.

You can share your own story of how you’ve been affected by breast cancer, but only in writing. Too bad they don’t allow people to share videos, too.

There’s a ‘support the cause’ tab at the top of the website that I assumed would allow me to make a direct donation to Susan G. Komen. Instead it explains the campaign.

An explanation of the campaign is necessary, of course. But after watching the stories I’ll bet someone would have been willing to make a donation to Susan G. Komen.

I like the campaign although it seems a little ‘off-the-shelf’ to me.

In an inflationary environment like the United States is going through, premium-priced items like ReNu are potentially in trouble. The full retail price for 24 ounces of ReNu is right around $21, although you probably are likely to pay something closer to $18. With the pressure on personal and family budgets, it’s easy to find (and put up with) cheaper substitutes for ReNu. Sam’s Club will sell you 48 ounces of multipurpose cleaning solution for about $8.

My point is that Bausch & Lomb needs a cause campaign like this to help preserve its pricing power. Because so much is on the line here, Bausch & Lomb’s total donation of $300,000 - $400,000 seems too low, as does the per unit donation. Remember, research shows that higher donations help move product.

By contrast, Yoplait gives $0.10 per carton to Susan G. Komen, which represents from around 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price. Even at $18 for ReNu, a $1 donation represents just 5.6 percent of the purchase price.

I wonder how they would have done if ReNu dropped the coupon offer and offered a full $2 to Komen?


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