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Showing posts from October, 2008

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!

Maybe you heard, but Jerry Lewis, the head and soul of the Muscular Dystrophy Association has been using naughty words again.

Last Friday, October 24, in Sidney, Australia and was asked about cricket and he responded; “Oh, cricket? It’s a f- game. What are you, nuts?”

Cricket is the national game of Australia.

Jerry Lewis is like that old guy at the company Christmas party who starts making passes at all the women once he has a drink or two under his belt. It’s like he doesn’t have an internal governor, you know, the device that keeps you from making a fool of yourself.

Jerry’s response to that would be, “Idiot! For 60 years I’ve made a damn fine living playing the fool.”

In honor of Jerry’s latest gaffe, I’m go to repost something I wrote on September 6, 2007, a few days after Jerry’s previous faux pas. I called it: “Jerry Lewis, It’s Time to Move On.”

So Jerry Lewis got himself in trouble over the Labor Day weekend. Maybe you heard. In his wacky, jesting way he used the “F-Bomb” as one re…

Pinked Out?

Mae West famously said that “too much of a good thing is... wonderful.” But is it?

A female friend forwarded me a recent ‘moms’ e-newsletter she got about a week ago. It had the expected content but the bottom was lined with four products ‘for the cure;’ shower gel for the cure, a CD with Amy Grant for the cure, fantasy bubble bath for the cure, and a sketchbook for the cure. All offering ‘100 percent of the net proceeds’ for breast cancer research.

She made the point that now, near the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she’s a little ‘pinked out.’ I can see her point.

In magazines, with their long calendars, the editorial and the advertising for Breast Cancer Awareness Month might start in September or even August. The last notices of breast cancer awareness might appear in November. It’s less true of the electronic media like TV or the Internet, but still that’s as many as four months of pink ribbons.

In that time there’s hundreds of events, thousands of pink themed cause-marketed p…

Non-Transactional Cause Marketing

Repeat after me: cause-related marketing is not always about the money.

You know what I mean. We tend to think of cause marketing as a transaction. You buy a carton of Yoplait yogurt, lick the lid, send it in and a dime goes to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

But cause marketing is really about incentivizing certain kinds of human behavior, and not all of it has to do with buying something. About once a quarter I see a really dynamite non-transactional cause-related marketing campaign and It’s Time to Feel Better from Cigna Corporation, the health and life insurance company, is a terrific example.

It’s Time to Feel Better is an educational website with an interactive knowledge game. You reach the game by clicking on ‘Test Your Knowledge Here.’ The game is a series of questions… more than 250 in all… that tests your knowledge of health, health insurance, disease and the like. On the left side of the screen is a water spigot.

As you answer the questions correctly, the water chan…

Cause Marketing Potpourri

Some miscellaneous items from the world of cause-related marketing, and corporate philanthropy.

Economy Slowing Philanthropic Giving by Small Business
A survey of small businesses, published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and sponsored by Advanta, finds them enthusiastic for charitable giving, but retrenching in the slowing economy.

Small business… companies with fewer than 500 employees… is the most vibrant chunk of the U.S. economy employing about half the nation’s workforce. In the survey of small business 66 percent who donate through the company, donate cash, 51 percent volunteer, 41 percent give services and 39 percent make in-kind donations.

The economy has affected the mood of small business when it comes to philanthropy. Sixty percent say the economic turmoil has negatively affected their charitable giving. Thirty-eight percent say they’ve given less this year, 47 percent say their philanthropy has held steady and 14 percent say they’ve given more.

mGive Donates TV Commercial fo…

The New Face of Corporate Philanthropy

On October 2, 2008 OfficeMax surprised 1,300 teachers in the neediest classrooms nationwide with $1,000 gift of school supplies. The teachers were chosen in conjunction with the charity Adopt-A-Classroom.

(The picture on the left is of Jennifer Jacobs, a teacher at Robert Black Magnet School in Chicago, receiving her gift.)

The $1,000 is just about the perfect amount. A NEA survey of teachers found that they spend an average of $1,200 a year on classroom supplies to make up for budget shortfalls.

OfficeMax’s inelegant name for the campaign is “A Day Made Better.” And while it’s not cause marketing in the usual sense of the term, it is a whole new flavor of corporate philanthropy. But that has more to do with a new class of charities, of which Adopt-A-Classroom is one of many, than it does with this campaign.

Founded in 1998, Adopt-A-Classroom allows teachers to make direct appeals to donors. A teacher who needs materials she won’t get from her school or district can make a direct appeal v…

Owning Your Cause-Related Marketing Campaign

Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve seen my fair share of cause-related marketing, but I don’t remember ever seeing any featuring lighters. So, I was fascinated to come across this campaign from Zippo, candle designer Harry Slatkin, and retailer Bath & Body Works, benefiting Autism Speaks, the 3½ year old autism advocacy organization founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright.

So I went to the websites of all the entities named in the ad, which appeared in the October 2008 Elle Decor to learn more. And what did I learn? I learned that nobody seems to want to own this campaign. has zip about it. has a Slatkin lighter, but there’s zilch there about Autism Speaks. And there’s zero at, too. Could be there’s something in-store, but the closest Bath & Body Works to me is farther than I care to drive.

(Update on October 20, 2008: My new friend John D., who lives in the Eastern U.S. reports that he visited a Bath & Body Works over the weekend and…

The 2008 Cone/Duke University Behavioral Cause Study

On October 1, 2008 Cone Inc., in conjunction with the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, released the best validated proof yet that cause-related marketing gives certain products a sales lift.

The study had two parts. In the first, 182 individuals aged 18-62 and broadly representative of the American consumer reviewed the contents of a new regional magazine. Each were randomly assigned to either a ‘cause’ group or a control group. The cause group saw cause-related marketing advertisements for four products: shampoo; toothpaste; chips; and lightbulbs. The control group did not see the CRM ads.

Then the study participants were ushered into a convenience store setting with approximately 150 SKUS. Some of products had a shelf tag that said something like, ‘great value.’ Others said, “proud supporter of…”

Study participants were given real money to shop with and were allowed to take home both the products they bought and any leftover money. While all four products saw a sales lift, …

The Last Cause-Related Marketing Label Campaign to the School Dance

Nestle Waters North America has a label campaign out called GoLife that benefits schools by providing sports equipment and school trips. But there’s an elephant in the classroom.

If label campaign benefiting schools sounds like familiar ground, you’re right. Campbell’s has been doing one for more than 30 years, and General Mills has been doing their Boxtops for Education campaign for 12 years. General Mills is the larger of the two in no small part because schools can redeem the Boxtops for cash rather than merchandise.

Schools and PTAs/PTOs encourage parents to collect boxtops/labels and assign someone to manage all the collecting, counting and redeeming. In my kids’ school one of the secretaries has this assignment and there are two large barrels in the school office, one for Labels and one for Boxtops.

Before the Internet this was a whole lot more work than it is now. But even still there’s probably not too many school secretaries or PTA/PTO label coordinators who relish this part of …

The Green Kitchen Referral Fee

Dear Kind Readers:

Last week I got the most inventive word of mouth marketing approach that has crossed my desk in some time. It’s for a new green enterprise and it includes a $40,000 ‘green’ kitchen giveaway and a $1,000 bribe…er... incentive.

Intrigued? So was I.

Here’s what it’s about. is giving away a $40,000 green commercial kitchen in order to promote its new green certification process, its green kitchen consulting services, and the green kitchen products it sells. Enter the contest here.

Here’s the inducement. To the website or blog that refers the winner, they are offering $1,000. Sort of like the referral fee that goes to stores that sell a winning lottery ticket.

I’m going to play along and encourage you to enter if you qualify. You’ll notice that I’ve also added a little URL snippet to the column at the right that will be there until they notify the winner in December 2008.

If I win the $1,000 referral fee I’ll give it to an environmental cause, or give t…