Skip to main content

Cause Marketing, Sans the Cause

Imagine that you're Nucor, the steel manufacturer that makes steel by recycling old steel, and you form a new relationship with Union Pacific to recycle its old track and replace it with newly reforged Nucor steel track.

Or, imagine that you 're a vertically-integrated chocolate company... like Mars... and you learn that cacao trees grow better under a canopy of taller trees. So you plant taller jungle trees over your cacao trees so that they yield more beans per tree.

If you were Nucor or Mars practicing that kind of forward 'environmental' thinking you'd probably want to crow about that wouldn't you?

[Cue the sarcastic smirk].

In effect, that's what tissue maker Irving Tissue, Inc., the maker of Scotties Tissue, is doing with its "Renewable Forest Project."

Running in ads (this one was in the March issue of More magazine) and Free-Standing Inserts (FSIs), Scotties says that it "will plant three seedlings in the spring and summer for very one tree used to produce Scotties products the previous year."

Now bear in mind that Irving Tissue... which is owned by the Canadian conglomerate J.D. Irving, LTD... is vertically-integrated. It's the only way to make money in the paper business. So Irving owns the timberland that it turns into Scotties as well as the machines that turn wood pulp into paper.

In short, they're replanting the trees that they cut down on their own plantations. That's a little like a farmer replanting wheat in the spring after the fall harvest.

But, what about planting three for every one they cut down?

I know nothing about modern forestry practices, but I'd be very surprised to learn that any timberland company plants only one tree for every one it cuts down.

Some seedlings won't make it. Some won't survive being transplanted into the timberland. Some will be hurt by bugs, or animals, or the weather. You get the picture.

So while this effort from Scotties seems like cause marketing or corporate social responsibility, all it really is just business.

Now I'm not one who thinks that there's something inherently wrong with commerce.

But I'm calling Scotties out because this has the gloss of corporate social responsibility and cause marketing. When it's really nothing of the kind.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Alden Keene Cause Marketing Stock Index Dramatically Outperforms Other Indices

There are stock indexes galore; the Dow, S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, the Wilshire 5000, the FTSE, and hundreds more. But how would an index of the stocks of companies that do a meaningful amount of cause marketing perform compared to those well-known indexes? Pretty well, as it turns out.

I first floated the idea of a stock index that would track companies that do cause marketing back in 2009. I tried to figure out Yahoo Pipes so that I could put the feed right into this blog. But alas sometimes the geek gene does fall pretty far from the tree.

So I talked to programmers to see if I could find someone who could do the same, but it was always more than I was willing to pay.

Finally, last week I hired a MBA student to do it all in a spreadsheet, and what do you know but that over the last 15 years a basket of 25 cause marketing stocks dramatically outperforms the Dow, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, and the Wilshire 5000.

The index, which I call the Alden Keene Cause Market…

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…

Pimping for Constant Contact

OK, not pimping really. More like a gentle noodge to nonprofits and the companies that love them that it’s time to start email marketing.

I was invited to a local presentation on email marketing from Constant Contact, the Waltham, Massachusetts email marketing outfit whose target market is small businesses and nonprofits.

They offer a cause-related marketing campaign called Care4Kids meant to benefit children’s causes. Constant Contact customers are invited to nominate worthy 501(c)(3) children’s charities to receive a free account along with the training to create an effective email campaign.

Non children’s charities are probably still eligible for charity discounts. If you’re outside the United States you might be able to induce Constant Contact to consider your cause. Alternately, you could suggest a similar program to email marketing vendors in your home country.

It goes without saying… I hope… that every nonprofit needs an email marketing component. Email marketing is a good deal lik…