Skip to main content

RIP Paul Newman, the Preeminent Face of Cause-Related Marketing

After a private battle, Paul Newman passed away from lung cancer on Friday, September 26, 2008 surrounded by family and friends.

He will be remembered as a splendid actor, a competitive professional race car driver, a political activist, philanthropist and accidental leader. But I’ll remember him as the preeminent face of cause-related marketing in our day. (And certainly as the star of my favorite Western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. See left with Katharine Ross).

On a lark in 1982 along with his neighbor and friend writer A.E. Hotchner, Newman started selling salad dressing that they called Newman’s Own. Later they added pasta sauce, popcorn, salsa, wine, cookies, among many other items, to the line.

The labels featured jokey caricatures of Newman and the pledge that 100 percent of the proceeds from the venture, after taxes, would be donated to charity. From its founding through 2007, Newman’s Own had donated more than $220 million to charity. Last year’s charitable donation was $28 million.

“The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is outgrossing my films," Newman once drolly remarked.

When I worked for the Operation Kids Foundation, we were a beneficiary of a Newman’s Own donation, but not because we’d asked for money. Instead, we’d sent an inquiry asking if he’d be willing to be feted as a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree at our annual gala. He wrote back and said that such awards made him uncomfortable. Inside the envelope was a check for $10,000.

Until about two years ago Newman was still personally distributing the company’s profits. About the same time he stepped back from that responsibility, Newman set up a private independent foundation called Newman’s Own Foundation to receive and distribute the profits from the Newman’s Own company.

The Foundation benefits the Hole in the Wall Camps which serves children with terminal diseases and other serious medical conditions free of charge, and numerous other charitable endeavors. Newman founded the first Hole in the Wall Camp in 1988. There are now 11 camps in the United States, Europe, and Israel affiliated with the Hole in the Wall.

Newman worked very hard at keeping the marketing for Newman’s Own… and even its operations… light-hearted and open to input from almost anyone. It was a legacy of Newman’s lifetime of film-making that he believed good ideas could bubble up from almost anywhere.

You can read about Newman and Hotchner’s merry pranks in two books: In Pursuit of the Common Good, published in August 2008; and Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good from 2003.

I’ve written before about how the success of Newman’s Own has inspired many imitators. If Helen of Troy was the face that launched 1,000 ships, Paul Newman looking back at you from a bottle of Newman’s Own was the face that launched 10,000 social enterprises.

So in memory of what he did and who he’s inspired, join me now and raise a toast of Newman’s Own wine (or lemonade) to Paul Newman, the accidental cause marketer sans pareil.

Comments

Rest in Peace, Mr. Newman

www.charitynetusa.com/blog

Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

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 coas…

Unconventional Metrics of Cause Marketing Power

The printed edition of Fortune Magazine runs a regular feature called ‘My Metric’ wherein business leaders identify informal but telling measures of current economic activity.

In the January 17, 2011 Michael Glimcher, CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust cited as his metric an increased number of black cars on the streets of New York City as a sign of the U.S. economy’s (still pending?) resurgence.

That got me thinking, what unconventional metrics evidence the power of certain cause marketing efforts?

One immediately leapt to mind, although only General Mills, which makes Yoplait yogurt in the U.S., can measure it.

The Yoplait lid at left... which I purchased in December 2010... can NOT be redeemed for a $0.10 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Instead it promotes Yoplait’s sponsorship of Komen’s Race for the Cure events, which are numerous.

But I’d bet you a six-pack of Yoplait Greek Honey Vanilla that people nonetheless still send in some number of the lids above in an attempt to redeem th…