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Showing posts from August, 2008

Sometimes More is More in Cause-Related Marketing

Less doesn’t always mean less. Sometimes in life there’s an inverse relationship between resources and creativity. For instance, Einstein didn’t need the Large Hadron Collider to figure out relativity. Then again, sometimes less is less. And that’s certainly true of this promotion from Henkel.

This doubletruck FSI page from August 10, 2008 is more a promotion than a cause-related marketing campaign. But there is a cause element. The page features pictures of kids heading back to school and promises that some lucky school is going to win $25,000.

School cause-related marketing in the United States is a well-trod path. Both Campbell’s and General Mills do it to great effect. Henkel could do a whole lot worse than emulate either one.

The promotion is not tied to sales of any of Henkel’s products. Rather it’s contest driven. You point your Internet browser to and write a 200-500 word essay on what your school could do with that lone prize.

For one school $25,000 is a meaningfu…

Cause-Related Marketing Advice to the Lovelorn Business

The American economy is in the doldrums, although still, apparently, not in a recession. And, according to a new survey from the Better Business Bureau, the result is that Americans consumers have lost trust in 13 of 15 business industries. Simply put, the love is gone.

How can industries including the auto industry, car dealers, gas stations, banks and financial institutions raise their numbers and get the love back of the American Consumer?

Well Dr. Paul is here for you. And Dr. Paul wants to help you feel the love again. The good news is, it’s a simple 2-step program. But the first one’s a doozy.

Not to be flip, but if you’re a mortgage company and a big part of your business plan was to fudge the numbers and get people into mortgages they couldn’t afford… assuming you’re still in business…you need start by learning how not to screw your customers!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to step two. You need some insurance.

Among the industries whose negative numbers have risen s…

Cause-Related Marketing Without All the Commitment

I want to revisit a question that I’ve posted on before, but for which I haven’t found a satisfying answer: Is ‘any’ charity as good as one charity in cause-related marketing?

Here’s the setup: for each item bought from the page in their circular to the left, the Rite Aid Foundation will donate $1 to local causes.

The last time I posted on this subject was a campaign from Irwin Union Bank, which would donate $50 in your name to any charity you designated when you opened a certificate of deposit account for $10,000 or more.

This Rite Aid campaign is different in that the putative donor can’t designate the charity to which the $1 would go. The Rite Aid Foundation bases its donations on funding requests it receives. So money only goes to local charities that make a request of the Rite Aid Foundation.

Moreover, to add a wrinkle, Rite Aid already has a longstanding relationship with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) with which both parties are evidently happy.

The argument for partnering with a …

An Exploitive Cause-Related Marketing Campaign

In the September 2008 issue of Cookie magazine, a kind of parenting magazine for mothers who can still fit in their skinny jeans, I came across this small ad from the upscale retailer Lord and Taylor on behalf of a new charity called Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

The headline reads “Buy a Cookie, Save a Life.’

My reaction was, “Oh no they just didn’t!”

The ad was one of seven on a single page; the kind the sales staff bundles together and sells for a bargain rate. So I automatically assumed that maybe Cookie magazine had put it together. After all, no charity would dare suggest that the purchase of a $3 cookie would actually save a human life. It’s exploitive and, well, a lie. And, critics be damned, cause-related marketing is not about lying.

So I double-checked the Lord and Taylor website and listed on Sept 13 for what appears to be each of their stores is the following notice:
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This year, help Lord & Taylor …

Reporter Looking for Some Cause-Related Marketing Examples

Hey everyone:

Back again with another reporter looking for sources for a holiday giving guide in a national women's magazine, including cause-related marketing. Note the deadline is August 22.
Best wishes,
Paul Jones, President Alden Keene
Summary: Your fave charities/ways of giving?
Category: General
Name: Lynn Harris
Title: freelance
Media Outlet/Publication: national women's magazine
Anonymous? No
Specific Geographic Region? No
Deadline: 6:00 PM EASTERN - August 22
Query: "Xmas in August! I'm compiling a (long) list of small-but-significant ways for readers to give charity/their time this holiday season. Seeking: (1) smaller or non-obvious charities readers may not have heard of, including specific programs (could be run by larger charities) with concrete/tangible incentives, e.g. "$25 gets 10 malaria-threatened children mosquito nets," "protects 1/2 acre of rain forest," "buys 5 blankets for children of incarcerated mothers.&q…

Poll Findings: Corp. Communicators Would Increase CSR

Ragan Communications and Pollstream just released a poll that finds that corporate communicators want their companies to engage in more corporate social responsibility (CSR); they just can’t come up with a good business reason why or decide who should drive it.

This follows an earlier poll from IBM and covered in this space, that reported that corporate executives want to see more CSR, too, and were devoting resources to it.

The poll was part of a series spearheaded by Ragan that regularly queries some 439 corporate communicators in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

The communicators split almost evenly over the issue of who should run a company’s CSR efforts. Just about 50 percent it should be a standalone department that reports directly to the CEO. The other 50 percent said CSR should fall under either media relations, internal communications or marketing.

It would be a measure of the esteem that CSR holds in a company if it operated independently and reporte…

Reporter Seeks Sources on CRM for Medical/Health Charities

Hey everyone:

Back again with another reporter source request. In this case the reporter is looking for products whose sale benefits a medical or health charity. See the details below.

Warm regards,

Paul Jones, President
Alden Keene & Associates

Summary: Products Benefiting Charities
Category: General
Name: Leigh Ann Hubbard
Title: Managing Editor
Media Outlet/Publication: James Hubbard's My Family Doctor
Anonymous? No
Specific Geographic Region? No
Deadline: 5:00 PM EASTERN - August 18
Query: "For our November/December gift guide, I seek products for whichpart of the proceeds will go to health/medical charities throughoutNovember and/or December. The products must be available nationwide (online or in stores) and appropriate as gifts. Please include: (1)exact portion of proceeds going to the charity, (2) which charity, (3) price, (4) phone and Web ordering information, (5) which month(s) the charity benefit will apply. I may not be able…

Dare to Dream Cause Marketers

In honor of its 25th anniversary, Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) published a special 10-page insert in the June 9, 2008 issue of U.S. News & World Report, and on the last page was the sponsor recognition ad on the left.

The insert was placed in U.S. News’ annual rankings of children’s hospitals in the United States.

For those of you keeping score at home, there’s more than 70 current sponsors in that logo soup, several of which have been with CMN for nearly the full 25 years; notably Dairy Queen and Marriott. The logos are arranged roughly in order of current contributions.

Since 1983 CMN has generated more than $3.4 billion, or on average, about $136 million a year. While CMN has a successful direct mail effort, it’s less than 10 years old. And the cause does little if any major gifts fundraising or planned giving. Therefore, it’s safe to say that all but a very small percentage of that $3.4 billion total was generated through cause-related marketing, grassroots fundraising, or so…

Too Small Cause-Related Marketing

I’ve taken nonprofits to task for being too subtle in their recognition of sponsors. Now with this ad from York Peppermint Patty, the shoe’s on the other foot.

The ad appeared in the June-July 2008 issue of Elle magazine. And down there at the very bottom of the ad is a pink ribbon and words that read in mice-type: “York is a proud supporter of the Young Survivor Coalition.”

York Peppermint Patties, a unit of The Hershey Company, is packaged both as individual units and in bags of multiple units, but the per piece price is generally less than $0.50. It’s cheap candy, in other words.

Do you need to advertise even cheap candy? Of course. Stop doing it for while and watch your sales drop. Does York Peppermint Patties need to advertise in Elle, a fashion magazine for young women?

It’s not a choice I’d have made, especially with this creative.

The headline… ‘70% Less Fat’… is certainly targeted to the audience. But the subhead… “(And they say there isn’t any good news anymore.)”… seems better s…

Reporter Looking For Valentine's Day Cause-Related Marketing

Hey Everyone:

I've become aware of a reporter that's looking for a sources on Valentine's Day chocolate gifts that engage in cause-related marketing practices.
If you're a potential source, contact the reporter below. But do so before the deadline, which is tomorrow, August 8.

All the best,

Paul Jones
Alden Keene & Associates

Summary: Chocolate gifts that gives back
Category: Lifestyle & Entertainment
Name: Sarah Jio
Title: Freelance Writer
Media Outlet/Publication: Cooking Light
Anonymous? No
Specific Geographic Region? No
Deadline: 5:00 PM PACIFIC - August 8
Query: "For an article I'm writing for Cooking Light about Valentine's Daychocolate gifts that give back a portion of sales proceeds tocharity, I'm hoping to locate companies that fit this profile. "

Cause-Related Marketing Lessons Learned from Bad PR Pitches

Lately one of the great things about the Cause-Related Marketing blog for me is that I don’t have to go out and ‘enterprise’ my blog posts the way I did in the early days. People have started to pitch me ideas to post on.

We have a name for these people. When they send helpful pitches that are pertinent to this blog I call them PR angels. When they pitch me ideas that are off-topic, over-long, just plain dumb, or addressed to “Dear Alden,” I just call them idiots. (I think it’s clear from reading the blog that my name is Paul Jones. My company’s name is Alden Keene.) And I’m not talking about spam here either. Everybody on earth with an email account gets spam.

Editors and reporters have started to out the idiots. Heck, even PR people are outing the idiots. It's very chic to complain about PR idiots right now, and who am I to resist a trend?

I’m not going to out any idiot PR people by name. Although I reserve all rights to do so in the future. But to prove my point, here is a short l…

Avoid the Appearance of Self-Dealing in Cause-Related Marketing

If you’re a cause marketer, especially if you’re a consultant like me or come from the nonprofit side of the equation, and if you stay at it long enough someone’s going to come to you with a cause-related marketing scheme that will… they tell you… somehow manage to put a little scratch in everyone’s pocket.

Frequently this involves a private foundation that they control or that they hope to start. And, commonly, it also involves a product or service that they sell or manufacture and which will, according to the plan, benefit the charity that they control or want to control.

If they don’t know much about charitable tax law in the United States, they’re also hopeful that the cause-related marketing promotion will spin out a charitable tax deduction somewhere in there for them, too.

I smile broadly, tell them that I’m not a lawyer and therefore can’t render a legal opinion. If they don’t know any nonprofit lawyers, I’m happy to provide a referral. And then I tell them what they’ve described…