Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Cause Marketers, Wherever You Are

Kind Readers:

Today in the United States is Thanksgiving Day, a harvest festival primarily in North America. In Canada Thanksgiving occurs on the second Monday in October.

Like harvest celebrations everywhere... since time immemorial... it's front-loaded with mythology.

But we North Americans have given our modern harvest festival its own distinct spin; it’s a time of gratitude, televised parades, jam-packed airports, a bad Detroit Lions Football game, and feasting.

In honor of that part of Thanksgiving I publish a poem from kids’ poet Jack Prelutsky.

I Ate Too Much Turkey
by Jack Prelutsky

I ate too much turkey,
I ate too much corn,
I ate too much pudding and pie,
I’m stuffed up with muffins
and much too much stuffin’,
I’m probably going to die.

I piled up my plate
and I ate and I ate,
but I wish I had known when to stop,
for I’m so crammed with yams,
sauces, gravies, and jams
that my buttons are starting to pop.

I’m full of tomatoes
and french fried potatoes,
my stomach is swollen and sore,
but there…

Yes, Virginia, there is Christmas Cause Marketing (and there should be more)

Dear Editor

I am more than 8 years old. Some of my peers say that there is no Christmas cause marketing. Papa says, “if you see in the cause marketing blog, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there Christmas cause marketing?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are almost right. There’s not much Christmas cause marketing going on in the States. Charities large and small have carved out the
Halloween season (October). St Jude has branded Thanksgiving (which falls on the
fourth Thursday in November in the United States). You’ll see cause marketing
promotions on virtually every American holiday: St. Patrick’s Day, Valentines
Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.

But Christmas? Not so much. This despite the fact that many charities do their best fundraising in the Christmas season. Annual giving is very big at Christmas time for many charities. And corporate earnings rise and fall depending on how well they do at Christmas. And yet, there’s precious little cause marketing and certainl…

Boston Law Firm Uses Green Cause Marketing Tactic

Hell has officially frozen over.

Boston law firm Sherin & Lodgen announced on Friday, Nov. 15 that during 2009 it will discount 15 percent from its standard rates to clients housed in buildings which are existing or registered LEED certified.

As I’ve pointed out before, cause marketing is about motivating certain behaviors. Usually it involves money going to a cause. However, there are plenty of examples of non-transactional cause marketing like this around.

But a law firm promoting that will discount its prices? Sacrebleu!De telles choses ne sont pas faites. Such things are not done.

Now, truth be told, you could probably go into Sherin & Lodgen… or darn near any other law firm… and negotiate a 15 percent discount off of standard rates and not even break a sweat. Especially given the current economy.

But reputable, non-ambulance-chasing law firms don’t ever talk openly about discounting and they certainly don’t issue a press release about it. Someone call the ethics section of the…

Cause Marketing House Brands

In the declining economy, people in the UK, the US and elsewhere are buying more ‘house brands.’

Of course they are, you say. What could make more sense than to get the same-quality or nearly the same quality for a meaningful savings?
I don’t have a handy chart to demonstrate, but this is what always happens in bad economic times. When the economy dips, sales of cheaper house brands and generics take off. And when the economy recovers consumers go back to the major brands.

For the foreseeable future, price is going to be major driver for the consumer.

Imagine this scenario: a shopper faces two cans of cream of mushroom soup, the store brand and the dominant brand in the US, Campbell's. The store brand has respectable quality and is 26 percent cheaper per ounce.

In a face off like that, Campbell’s market share would erode very seriously sans their incredible market shelf space and decades-old Labels for Education program, in my view.

Now if the store brand started a well thought-of cause…

Cause Marketing Triple Play

Plus 3 Network wants to turn your “sweat equity into social capital,” and they’re using a non transactional form of cause marketing to do it.

Here’s what that means: You register at Plus 3, a kind of social media network, and then keep an online log of all your workouts. Each mile you train… mainly running, walking and biking… translates to a small donation paid for by sponsors to a select group of charities. Certain training activities are also awarded with prizes or rewards like chain lube or training socks.

So you get fitter and maybe some new socks, the sponsor gets the usual benefits of cause marketing and the charity gets a donation. Of course, Plus 3 gets something out of it too.

It’s a cause marketing triple play.

The donations are higher when you upload the data from a GPS enabled device than if you make a hand entry. For instance, walking pays out $.05 a mile when uploaded from Garmin GPS device, but just $.0167 when you hand enter the data. Plus 3 says this is because there’s l…

Want a Reputation as a Good Corporate Citizen? Do Some Cause Marketing

The Reputation Institute and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship recently released their list of the top 50 companies in the United States in terms of corporate social responsibility.

In the survey of public opinion, the top ten were:
Google Campbell Soup Johnson & Johnson Walt Disney Kraft Foods General Mills Levi Strauss UPS Berkshire Hathaway Microsoft
I took the list and ranked the 50 according to the amount of cause marketing that I’m aware of from each company.
0 meant that I had never seen any cause marketing from them. 1 meant I’m aware of cause marketing promotions about once a year. 2 meant I’m aware of perhaps two cause marketing promotions a year. 3 meant I’m aware of perhaps monthly cause marketing promotions in a year. 4 meant I’m aware of the company’s cause marketing as often as once a week5 meant I'm aware of cause marketing from the company on a daily basis. Of the 50 companies, the only one I was unaware of was Express Scripts, a pharmacy service…

Humble Cause Marketing Consultant Mocks Mighty Ketchum

If you were the CEO of a food company, what would be your top priority for the company?

Making a profit, you say?
Employing people?
Providing food to people who want or need it?
Supporting your family?Ha, silly you.

In a survey published in October by Ketchum, 1000 people… 200 each in the US, UK, Germany, Argentina and China… were asked what they’d do if they were CEO of global food company.

Before I ridicule the poll from Ketchum, a global PR agency and a unit of the jinormous Omnicom Group, let me address the two elements of the study pertinent to cause marketers. In those five countries, more than 40 percent say they would pay more for food if it would improve water and food deliver medicine to the needy.
The consumers who said they’d be most responsive to this cause marketing-like approach were from China (64 percent) and Argentina (58 percent).That would be potentially interesting if the rest of the survey were actually credible.

The survey mainly asked pretty standard questions: “When…

Cause Marketing in the Economic Downturn

Get Your Chin off Your Chest

It’s probably just superstition, but I have steadfastly avoided posting anything about the recession.

After all, considering the amount of liquidity sloshing around after all the actions already taken by central bankers in Asia, Europe, and the United States, it’s plain that the real problem right now isn’t access to capital. The problem is one of confidence.

This is just one small little blog on the semi-obscure topic of cause marketing, but I see little reason to pile on.

So, assuming that the economy doesn’t turn into Oklahoma circa 1935 (Dustbowl deflation) or the Weimar Republic of 1923 (hyperinflation), this will be my first and last posting on the topic of the economy.

In the States, economists are struggling with exactly which recession to compare this one to. Is it like the downturns of 2000, 1980 and 1974? Is it a second Great Depression? (Short answer: No. For one thing, unemployment was 25 percent in the States in 1933.) Could it be an analog to Jap…