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Cheapo Cause Marketing

You know me, I love cause marketing. Almost any company, but especially those that face the consumer, could benefit from it.

But it rubs me wrong when I see humungous companies going cheap on the cause marketing donation amount.

In this ad from a recent Martha Stewart Living magazine Georgia Pacific is trumpeting their donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Since 2004, the ad says, Georgia Pacific has donated $675,000 to Komen through efforts tied to their Vanity Fair napkin brand.

Assuming that doesn’t include the 2010 donation, that’s an average of $112,500 a year. In 2010, the ad says, that donation will be $50,000.

Having never seen the Vanity Fair campaign, I can’t say if it’s a transaction-based cause marketing campaign or not. But the nice round number of $50,000 tells me that for this year at least it’s a straightforward donation.

There are companies around the country that would write a check for $50,000 and wouldn’t even go to the effort to issue a press release about it.

Who knows how many ads Georgia Pacific places in Martha Stewart Living, but it’s enough to say that the magazine’s best published rate for a full-page ad is $138,800. We all know that rate card and actually rate are two different things, but I doubt this ad was less than $50,000.

Koch Industries, which bought Georgia Pacific in 2005 for $21 billion, is the nation’s second largest private company, according to Forbes 2009 ranking, with sales estimated at $100 billion.

Some of my readers know that the Koch family, which owns Koch Industries, is supportive of conservative causes. But Nancy Brinker, the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and now its CEO, has been a closely associated with the Republican Party for decades. So it’s not like the donations to Komen are somehow ‘leaving the family.’

Koch, which is a diversified chemical and energy business, could have probably scraped together a couple of more nickels to at least bring the donation to past levels, ie. $112,500.

Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

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