Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2010

Scoop it Forward, A Cause-Marketing Campaign Benefiting Volunteer Match

In this second half of my interview with Robert Rosenthal, director of communications at VolunteerMatch he talks about how the nonprofit's new cause marketing campaign, Scoop it Forward, came about and how all the partners are working to make it wonderful. (Read the first half of the interview here.)

6. How did the CRM partnership come about?
Target Corp. has been a long-time partner and recent national sponsor of VolunteerMatch. We also help power their employee program. Recently they renewed their focus on education-related related issues, and it was natural for them to leverage our relationship for a consumer campaign they wanted to do with Ben & Jerry's in time for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which took place in NYC.7. What were your criteria in developing cause campaigns?
Our sweet spot is clients who want to support volunteer engagement in a cause area that aligns with their brand -- not just one or two nonprofits. For example, with Pedigree we …

VolunteerMatch Benefits from Sweet Cause Marketing Deal with Ben and Jerry's and Target

Scoop it Forward, which is was brought to VolunteerMatch by Ben and Jerry's and Target, is VolunteerMatch's newest cause marketing effort.

Scoop it Forward rewards volunteers with a sweet treat of two new varieties of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, both available exclusively at Target.

I put a few questions to Robert Rosenthal, director of communications at VolunteerMatch, about it's history, its present and where its going with cause marketing now and in the future.

Here's the first half of that interview with Robert. The second half will post on Monday, July 26, 2010.

1. How many volunteer placements has VolunteerMatch enabled since its founding in 1995?
VolunteerMatch was formed from the merging of two projects that were doing pioneering work to hotwire the Web for doing good. We officially launched our public Web service in 1998,, as the first Web resource for finding a great place to volunteer in local communities around the nation. We began bu…

More Faux Cause Marketing

You ever go to a fancy gala and read the program with all the awkward sponsor announcements in the back?
You know: “The Investment Counselors at Second Fidelity and Trust Congratulate Sumner Redstone as the First Children’s 2010 Father of the Year and Wish Him Every Success!”That’s kind of what’s at work in this ad from the inflight magazine called Delta Sky.

The magazine had a special feature on Pittsburgh and in that feature was this ad from Bayer, which has its North American headquarters there. On June 5, Pittsburgh hosted the United Nation’s event World Environment Day, and Bayer and its foundation, along with other Pittsburgh corporate mainstays like Alcoa and Heinz, were among the sponsors.

But look at the visual. There’s a shirtless boy gratefully drinking clean water straight from the spigot, a spigot which has that fat, ragged-looking weld that suggests ‘developing world.’ It’s a really splendid picture.

When I saw it, that visual told me that Bayer was doing some kind of clean …

Cause Marketing For Lovers

Last February, before Valentine’s Day, there was a flood of ads featuring a three-way tie-in between the Garry Marshall movie Valentine’s Day, Ford and its Warriors in Pink campaign, an effort on behalf of Susan G. Komen.

The movie is now out on DVD. I know because it arrived in a Netflix envelope last week. (Two words gents: ‘chick flick’).

When it came out, I openly admired the campaign. The movie is filled with starlets and stars. The ad (this one was in People Magazine) and the promotion is designed well-enough to make good use of them all. I suspect Ford and the studio, New Line Cinema, split the advertising cost. Warriors in Pink/Komen for the Cure products get to appear on a lot of star bodies and New Line gets reduced priced advertising.

But now that the movie is available on DVD, where’s the follow-on promotion? Where’s the DVD stuffer that includes a Warrior Wear and gear catalog as worn by the stars? Where’s the behind-the-scenes video of the Warriors in Pink photo shoot wit…

We're All Cause Marketers Now

On Monday The New York Times profiled a new cause marketing effort from a maker of healthy snacks and do-gooder Daniel Lubetzky, who owns Kind Healthy Snacks. Lubetzky has a small problem. Some of his competitors, including Snickers Bars from confection giant Mars Incorporated, are also using cause marketing to sell their own snack lines.

The Times reporter, Stuart Elliott, never puts it this directly but the logical question is inescapable. If you're a consumer-facing company with a commitment to cause marketing is it a good thing if your competitors are utilizing cause marketing, too?

All of us who have been involved in cause marketing for more than a decade or so remember that one of our primary sales points to prospects was that cause marketing helps you distinguish your product or service from competitors and gives you a new story to tell customers and the press.

Increasingly that advantage is disappearing.

(The result is a lament like the Gotterdammerung some Americans feel abou…

Using Sponsorship and Cause Marketing in Lieu of Advertising

In the Great Recession some companies are turning to sponsorship, including cause marketing, instead of carpet bombing us with more ads. Sponsorship is potentially cheaper than just buying ads, probably more targeted, more easily attuned to social media, and ‘stickier.’

Pepsi famously is spending a goodly chunk of its enormous ad budget on its Refresh Project, wherein the company is giving away millions to individuals, small groups, businesses, and organizations who are trying… broadly speaking… to better the world. The giving is determined by popular vote, thus ensuring that funding candidates get the word out. Pepsi has recently... and smartly… added a subset called Refresh the Gulf.

Less well known, perhaps, and less grandiose is Dodge Ram Trucks campaign called Letters for Lyrics. Write a letter to a soldier, take it to your local Dodge Ram dealer and you get the CD 'Breaking Southern Ground.' The campaign’s stated goal is to give away 1 million CDs. A download from the alb…

Faux Cause Marketing Ads

I’ve been training people to look for ads that feature cause marketing and... among other things... I tell them to look for unusual logos, emotionally-charged words and special populations like military, fireman, children and animals.

At first blush these two ads… for Eukanuba and Novartis’s over-the-counter drug brands… both seem like they could be cause marketing. Except neither of them are.

The Eukanuba ad has a K-9 dog (with a name, no less) and the endorsement of a handsome, smiling police officer in uniform. Missing is some kind of cause for retired police dogs or some kind of shelter that takes in police dogs that have been injured in the line of duty.

In the Novartis FSI ad we see smiling adults… all women… and children. Surely these women are trying to improve their health by watching what they eat. Or maybe they’re training for a race event that will boost their health while raising some money for the American Heart Association or the HeartTruth.

There’s a special logo for Novar…

Counter Cause Marketing

For more than three decades Campbell’s admirable Labels for Education has helped the soup maker maintain pricing power, fend off competitors and kept soup and the company’s other consumer package goods relevant for kids.

The result is that Campbell’s is a veritable fortress, especially in condensed soups, but also in ready-to-eat soups.

One of Campbell’s few competitors of consequence is Progresso, which specializes in ready-to-eat soup and so-called 'meal replacement.' Progresso was privately held but has long been owned by General Mills.

General Mills, of course, has its own label cause marketing program benefiting schools called Boxtops for Education. Boxtops for Education is younger, but no less admirable than Labels for Education and the benefits accrue in cold, hard cash, rather than in goods, which is how Labels for Education works.

Boxtops is now the bigger campaign in part because they allow brands other than General Mills participate. But I note that the Labels for Educ…

Girl Scouts of America Subtly Changes its Logo

What do you do when you're a 98-year-old institution and you think your logo doesn't quite work anymore?

Girls Scouts of the USA, the world's largest organization for girls, recently updated theirs in a very subtle way.

(The photo illustration comes from Fast Company magazine).

I understand the pressures to change organizational logos having been through the process myself. But looking back on that experience I'm sure we made a mistake.

Nonprofits just don't spend that much time in front of their constituent's eyes for them to make changes in how they present themselves. Few nonprofits can afford to advertise to reinforce their brand. Even when they utilize the miracles of new media to become their own media channnel, it just isn't enough to allow them to change looks, taglines, or missions in a way that resonates with people.

The acid test for the Girl Scouts would be to ask people in a year which logo is the new one. I'll bet no more than 25% could disting…

Cause Marketing for Commodity Items

It's classic economics.

If you're a farmer and you sell a commodity like winter wheat or red delicious apples, you're stuck with the lowest prices, because there's little you can do as an individual farmer to make your product stand out from your competitors.

But fruit growers can do something that wheat growers can't: they can join a cooperative that tries to brand the fruit as somehow superior. Are Sunkist oranges any better than regular oranges? Who knows? But they do command a premium price.

Could cause marketing help commodity producers preserve some pricing power?

This sticker on a watermelon purchased at a local grocery store made me wonder.

The watermelon is called a 'Pink Ribbon Watermelon' from C.H. Robinson on Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and it promises to 'donate a portion of our sales to breast cancer organizations.'

The sticker seems like a half-effort to me that might not actually help C.H. Robinson preserve pricing power.

The 'portion of t…

Notable Articles on Cause Marketing from Self Magazine's GOOD Initiative

Self Magazine publishes periodic pieces on cause marketing as a part of its GOOD initiative.

The tent pole of GOOD is a consumer research study of 2,700 women that highlights the emotional impact that cause marketing can have, especially as compared to traditional marketing.

Here, then, are links to three articles from the GOOD newsletter archive that I find especially notable:

How Not to Design Your Own Cause Marketing Ad

Some people shouldn’t be allowed to do their own cause marketing advertising.

That’s what I thought after seeing this ad from the local franchisees for Window World, Doug and Kathy Llewellyn.

On the left half of the ad, about two-thirds of the way down are not one but three logos for causes: Window World Cares, the franchisor’s foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Veterans Airlift Command.

Three causes is probably two too many for their customers and prospects to understand and follow. Right now Window World Cares primarily supports St. Jude and Veterans Airlift Command. Which begs the question, if the other two are already on there, why put the WWC logo there as well?

But ignore all that for a moment and put yourself in the mindset of a Window World franchisee like the Llewellyns. If you were them and you still wanted to support multiple causes, wouldn’t want to know which cause pulls the best?

Print ads like this would allow them to do just that. This ad comes from a sh…

Cannes Lions Winners Hold Lessons for Cause Marketers

Last week at the 57th annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival fully one-third of the 12 Grand Prix awards were taken by two campaigns that were cause-based.

(If the math seems a little funny it’s because the two campaigns in question won Grand Prix awards in four separate categories).

Is this the most ever? Truthfully the Lions website was so slow moving on my side of the Internet that I couldn’t afford the time to double-check. But I think it’s safe to say that more of this is happening now than when the Festival launched back in 1953.

Why is that? And why did these two cause-driven campaigns vacuum up so many awards in Cannes?

I think we can stipulate that there are more causes now than in 1953 or even in the two-martini lunch days of 1963, when Mad Men’s agency ‘Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’ was active on Madison Avenue.

We can also stipulate that there are more media available to advertisers now than ever. Indeed, one of the winners was Wieden + Kennedy’s campaign for Li…