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Fisher-Price Wildlife Conservation Society Cause Marketing

Research and experience clearly demonstrate that one of the greatest determinants of success in a cause marketing campaign is the fit between the cause and sponsor.


But what does ‘fit’ mean?


If you’re a book publisher can you only work with literacy charities? If you make food, can you only partner with hunger charities? If you sell computers can you only work with schools?


And what if you make Twitter apps but want to conduct cause marketing, who do you partner with?


These and other questions came to me when I say this campaign from Fisher-Price benefiting the Wildlife Conservation Society, which I saw advertised in the Jan 2009 issue of Parenting magazine. Infant and baby toymaker Fisher-Price… started in 1930 in the fore-throes of the Great Depression, by the way…has been owned by Mattel since 1997.


Fisher-Price offers a whole collection of wild animal-themed baby and infant toys it calls Precious Planet. This isn’t transactional cause marketing. Rather Fisher-Price will make a donation to Wildlife Conservation Society of $250,000 regardless of how well the Precious Planet line sells.


Here’s how Fisher-Price substantiates its choice to partner with the Wildlife Conservation Society, a conservation and education nonprofit with a 114-year tie to the Bronx Zoo in New York.

“Children have a natural affinity for animals. We nurture this connection from their earliest days, giving them stuffed animal friends to hug and cuddle and introducing our pets to our children as members of the family. We read picture books about animals to our babies, and we teach our toddlers to identify them and the sounds they make. As our children grow, we take them out into nature and to places like farms and zoos where they can see many different types of creatures in real life.

”But the most important thing we can teach our children about animals is that we need to be good friends to them – responsible caretakers of the environments we share, so animals all over the world can be healthy and thrive.”

Using such broadly-stroked language almost any company could choose a charity partner with an environmental or conservationist mission, even that Twitter app company.


But do you buy it? Is the fit between Fisher-Price and the Wildlife Conservation Society valid?


I hope you’ll comment below.

Comments

Jane said…
Clearly cause marketing campaigns need to be relevant for a particular company or product so that consumers can understand the connection. In many cases, as in this Fisher-Price example, organizations are trying to broaden their scope to accommodate different consumer preferences. As long as the messaging supports the campaign, I am all for it!
Rama said…
Supporting a cause without a transaction focus isn't any different from sponsorship. My understanding of cause-based marketing was that such a campaign follows all the principles of marketing to get customers involved with the brand and the cause. And most importantly,the benefit to business can be established directly by associating with a cause. Fischer Price and Conservation of animals may not be too far fetched, but by not associating fund raising with product purchase, am not sure what impact Fisher-Price would have had on creating a cause-brand ownership in the customers' minds.

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