Skip to main content

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 making food purchases, what factors do you consider?” “Where do you think consumers should have more say, control, involvement?”

But then they jumped the shark and asked a silly Barbara Walters type question. (When Walters once interviewed Katherine Hepburn, she asked what kind of tree the actress thought she would be.)

Ketchum asked: “If you were CEO of a global food company, which of the following, if any, would be your top priority?” Then they provided a universe of nine possible answers:
“Improving human nutrition; Making food that is safer; Making foods that taste great; Making foods that cost less; Ending malnutrition; Solving the obesity crisis; Ending hunger; Using power/dollars to make a difference; Making a profit.”
Those are listed in the order they finished in the survey. ‘Improving human nutrition’ finished first among all with 65 percent and ‘making a profit’ finished last with 33 percent.

The western jingoism of the questions is stunning. One wonders how ‘solving the obesity crisis’ question would have played in western China. And, ‘ending malnutrition?’ It would be analogous to ask Ketchum’s CEO… who is, after all, a professional communicator… to make a corporate priority of healing the communications rift between the Arabs and the Jews.

If pressed, I’m sure Ketchum would frame these answers as aspirational.

But if a company isn’t making a profit, no other good it could do is sustainable. Ketchum's canned answers are an illogical nonstarter.

And surveying 1,000 people in five countries with a combined population of population of more than 1.7 billion is statistically inadequate to say the least.

It’s hard to take this survey from Ketchum as anything besides PR agency puffery.

Comments

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…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…

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…