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Fuzzy Cause Marketing

CA, the $4.3 billion (sales) software company has an interesting cause marketing campaign going right now benefiting the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that is kind of a head scratcher. 

The campaign… which features celebrity crime fighter John Walsh… centers around CA’s Internet Security Suite Plus 2009 and Internet Security Suite 2009, both of which carry a premium price in a competitive market. When you buy either product CA makes a $1 donation to NCMEC. Customers may also elect to donate all or part of the rebate they receive to NCMEC when they buy the product.

The pertinent CA webpage also runs a ‘crawl’ of the names of people who have donated their rebate to NCMEC. It’s an interesting tactic, borrowed from telethons. I’d love to hear what feedback they get on this.

At the top of the page they also list the amount of money generated for NCMEC. The amount listed when I visited on Jan 2, 2009 was $462,586, which includes $375,000 in in-kind and cash donations made by CA to NCMEC.

So far, so good.

Here’s where it gets fuzzy for me. In CA’s language: “CA may elect to donate, in its discretion, an additional $2 to NCMEC when a new CA customer registers for the Continuous Protection Program.” 

I can’t figure out why they would make that discretionary.

Cause marketing trades on trust, clarity and transparency. The proposition is straightforward; ‘if you’ll do something, we’ll do something good for a cause.’ When you start to fuzzy up that proposition the appeal to the consumer breaks down.


KyNam Doan said…
Seems like they're trying to sell more than they're willing to give. Trust and authenticity is still an issue with consumers. I agree, they didn't help themselves at all by including that clause. It's better left out.

They have donated quite a nice sum and that's great to see :) I'm not going to start complaining about that.

JointWinWin said…
I'm reminded of a quote from the Star Wars sage Yoda:

"Do or not do, there is no try"

This is indeed fuzzy CRM and as Ky said, trust and authenticity is an issue.

Transparency is another, this is fuzzy and opaque which is not going to give consumers the confidence they want and deserve.

All the best,

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