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Showing posts from November, 2010

Target's Gift Card Cause Marketing for St. Jude

When you buy a Target gift card worth $20 or more through December 4, the stylish discount retailer will donate $1 to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital up to $750,000.

Since gift cards are basically stored-value cards and discount retailing has pretty thin margins, how could Target possibly afford to shed $1 out of every $20, even if it’s promotionally-appropriate given Target’s pledge to give 5% of income to charity?

There are a couple of answers. First of all, this is a limited time offer, valid only November 28, 2010 through December 4, 2010, which is fitting since fully 35 percent of all gift cards are sold in November and December.

But all that means is that Target is limiting its exposure, not that it’s necessarily making a sound business decision.

The true answer has to do with the psychology of gift cards, which most of us treat like found money. If you go to Target and the Garmin Nuvi GPS you've had your eye is $99 and you’ve got $80 in Target gift cards, the extra $19 plu…

Cause Marketing That’s Good for a Laugh

When you record your digital laugh at Coke’s online ‘Smile-izer’ the cola giant will send $1 to the National Park Foundation, up to $50,000.

Here’s how it works: go to the website, make sure that your webcam and/or microphone is enabled, then press the site’s record button and laugh for about 20 seconds, give or take.

The campaign was activated with online ads (I saw it in my Gmail account).

You can share your laugh and others via Facebook, Twitter and email. Here’s mine.

Here's how the email notification reads:
Your friend would like you to check out Smile-izer. Submit your own laugh today and we'll donate $1.00* to a super cool cause. *Up to $50,000. Coca-Cola Smile-izerThe Smile-izer site has a bunch or caramel-colored bubbles floating from the bottom to the top of the page. Click on one and listen to the accompanying laugh. In addition to regular people like myself, I heard laughs and saw bubbles from American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, along with a bunch of NASCAR dri…

Salvation Army Kettle Drive Kickoff During the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Game

The Salvation Army USA, in conjunction with the Dallas Cowboys, Fox Sports, and the National Football League, kicked off its annual kettle drive with a performance by country music star Keith Urban during halftime of the Cowboys – New Orleans Saints game held yesterday, Thanksgiving Day 2010.

This is the fourteenth year the Salvation Army and the Cowboys have teamed up. Since 1997, the Salvation Army holiday kettle drive has generated $1.3 billion, $139 million last year alone.

I couldn’t find any actual footage yet of the performance, so you’re going to have to trust me for now. But the way the Salvation Army was integrated into the performance itself was more stilted than it should have been. The video footage at left is what we used to call a video news release (VNR) meant to promote the kettle drive kickoff.

Immediately before the Urban halftime concert we see footage of him leaving his travel bus parked in the bowels of Dallas Cowboys Stadium. As he walks the corridors toward the f…

Happy Thanksgiving, Cause Marketers

Dear Faithful Readers:

Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, is today. When I say it’s the most American of holidays I mean no offense to my Canadian readers, who celebrate Thanksgiving the second Monday in October. So maybe I should call the most North American of holidays.

Some Thanksgiving I’m going to write a post on the things Canadians and American have to be thankful for besides the world’s longest undefended border, a language, an appreciation for smoked meat sandwiches in Montreal, and a great holiday, even if it’s celebrated in separate months.

But I have two pumpkin pies to prepare along with an apple caramel pie and my famous pecan pie. So here from 2007 is my favorite Thanksgiving post.

Warm regards,

Today is Thanksgiving in the States, a day when we watch parades and American football before eating an enormous feast of turkey, ‘stuffing,’ and mashed potatoes, then chase it down with pumpkin pie.

We Americans grew up with a cherished myth that the first thanksgivin…

Cause Marketing Christmas

As a holiday, Christmas is surprisingly challenging to cause market around, but a local homebuilder has the bones of a good campaign based on a gingerbread house-building contest that could be duplicated elsewhere.

Cause marketing is commonly linked to holidays. I’ve even argued in this space that the pink ribbon campaigns offer retailers, in effect, an extra selling season.

But with some notable exceptions, like Christmas benefit albums, the redoubtable Salvation Army bell ringers and a few others, Christmas cause marketing isn’t as common as you might expect.

There’s reasons of course.

Unlike Valentines, to name another holiday selling season, Christmas in the United States is for many still a holy day, notwithstanding all the commercialization. And it tends to be a very busy time with family and friends.

But think of all the potential advantages Christmas holds for cause marketers and fundraisers.
Christmas is a time of giving.There’s countless potential ‘hooks;’ Santa and his elves, Chr…

Give Your Cause Marketing a Little Extra Punch with a Coupon Hangtag

FUZE, the water flavored with juices and milk and fortified with vitamins and minerals, is an existing sponsor of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and several of its flavors carry Komen’s trademarked version of the pink ribbon and generate $0.10 for every bottle purchased.

But to give the campaign a little extra punch, several in my grocer’s refrigerated beverage case recently included the coupon hangtag you see below.

There are a number of tactical advantages of this approach to FUZE, the retailer, and Komen:
The coupon encourages additional purchases. It can be executed faster than a label change could.It can be placed on the flavors, like this one, that don’t normally carry the Komen pink ribbon.It makes the ribbon more visible than the beribboned bottle alone.The back side of this coupon is blank. It’s a pity that FUZE didn’t turn over that space to Komen for breast cancer information, website links, or inspiring stories about survivors and supporters that FUZE calls Heroes For Hope. Sinc…

Cause Marketing For Hollywood

If you’re like me, you’re worried sick about what Hollywood actors and entertainment insiders think about the First Amendment, arts education in public schools, media literacy, and arts advocacy.

So, how better to bridge the gap between Hollywood and the rest of us than by funding things like celebrity-studded public service announcements and public forums where the hoi polloi and the arts community can discuss important issues of the day?

But my personal favorite is highlighted in the ad which brought “celebrities and stylish brands together through exclusive parties, luxe spa services, media suites, and more” in the service of celebrating “all things Hollywood” during the Academy Awards in March 2010.

This is vital nonprofit work my friends.

Forgive the sarcasm. But what else to make of this ridiculous self-indulgent ad? And by ridiculous I mean ‘worthy of ridicule.’

The ad, which ran in Elle magazine in July 2010, features ‘A-list actors… and media tastemakers’ like Stephen Collins and …

Vote on Your Cause Marketing Favs from Feb 2010

Dear Faithful Readers:

In early 2011 I'll post my hotly-contested annual best and worst cause marketing campaigns for 2010.

But rather than just hold a meeting with myself to decide which campaigns to anoint as the best I want you, my faithful readers, to weigh in with your preferences. So once a week for the next 11 weeks I'll ask you to vote for your favorite cause marketing of a given month.

Up next, February 2010.

Simply follow the links which lead straight to the post, read it, and then vote for the one you like best.


Sustainable Cause Marketing

A recent flyer from a local grocer with about 10 stores in the chain features two cause marketing campaigns and is timed specifically for the holiday season, one for the local food bank and one for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

For me this raises a question; regardless of how generous the intent of the grocer, how many cause campaigns can a retailer reasonably sustain at a time?

Although these are both full-page images, I didn’t crop them so that you could get a clear sense of the amount of space the grocer, called Macys, devoted to both causes in the same flyer.

The food bank effort is in some ways an analog to the Chamber of Commerce paper icon campaign I profiled on Monday, November 15, although it is not the same effort. And it’s not a paper icon campaign.

When you’re in the store, purchase a bag of food and pick your favorite team and the food goes to the associated food bank. The team whose fans donate the most food and money get bragging rights for the year. Of course th…

Cause Marketing That’s a Little Flat

Buy this special Strawberry Crème chocolate bar from Ritter Sport and when you do, you’ll help Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. make a $100,000 to The Leslie Simon Breast Care and Cytodiagnosis Center.

I bought this 100 gram bar from a floor-standing point of sale display. The coupon below was attached to the top of the display unit.

I had to look up The Leslie Simon Breast Care and Cytodiagnosis Center, but it’s a unit of the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey, which is across the Hudson from Manhattan Island. I don’t know Englewood Hospital and Medical Center from Moses, but it is an affiliate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, which is a respected name.

According to Ritter Sport’s U.S. website, the campaign was launched on October 1, 2010. But by the time I bought the chocolate bar at a neighborhood grocer on November 9, 2010, the display, which was one of those self-liquidating units, was still almost full. I'd bet that I bought the third of fourth bar…

Cause Marketing Rachael Ray's Dog Food Line

Rachael Ray, the TV personality and chef, and now, brand, is so cute that I’m not sure that if I met her in person that I could stop myself from pinching the cheeks on her face.

I admire her life story, which while not exactly hardscrabble, nonetheless demonstrates unusual determination and hard work. Good for her and all her success. She earned it. I can also commend her as a generous philanthropist.

If one word signifies her brand it’s the first word of the copy in the ad to the left; ‘Simple.’ She made her name and reputation with 30-minute meals. When she cooks she measures nothing, and her recipes are almost insouciant. She cooks like an Italian grandmother, only her dimples are a whole lot cuter.

But when you become a brand and your brand is ‘Simple’ with a capital-S it’s easy to take simple pretty seriously. That’s what’s wrong with this ad for her line of dog food that benefits animal welfare groups including the North Shore Animal League and the ASPCA.

Good on her.

But just look a…

Cause Marketing for the Chamber of Commerce

The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce is offering paper icons to member organizations to raise funds for the annual University of Utah vs. Brigham Young University (BYU) Food Drive, which culminates at the rivalry football game in Salt Lake City on Saturday, November 27.

The money collected by BYU fans goes to the Community Action Services and Food Bank in Utah County. The suggested retail price for the icons, called ‘Y Marks,’ is $1.

(At left is a flyer for the campaign. I haven't laid my hands on an actual 'Y Mark' yet).

This is the first time I’ve seen a Chamber of Commerce sponsor a paper icon campaign, but it’s not hard to imagine why the Utah Valley Chamber choose to do it. Utah County, where BYU and the Utah Valley Chamber is located, is a natural hotbed of BYU football fans. It’s logical to assume that most of the small businesses in Utah County are either owned by or employ BYU fans.

Retail businesses are frequently members of Chambers of Commerce, and paper icon campai…

Is a Lump Sum Donation as Good Transactional Cause Marketing?

Cone’s recent Cause Evolution study found that while transactional cause marketing is still esteemed by consumers, it’s only slightly more so than when a company just makes a lump-sum donation to the cause.

Transactional cause marketing is when the sponsor ties its donation to a purchase.

I posted on the study back in October and while I didn’t quite throw a wet blanket on the idea, I found that part of Cone’s study unpersuasive.

What happens, I wondered, if the charitable donation is in-kind? Does the company’s halo shine just as brightly as if they donated cash? What if the in-kind donation comes in the form of shared ad space?

That seems to be what’s happening in this ad for vitamin D supplements from GNC and in support of the Melanoma Research Alliance. The Alliance funds research into melanoma, which kills right around 9,000 Americans every year. The great Bob Marley died of melanoma at the tender age of 36. GNC sells supplements and nutritional products at mall stores.

The ad comes f…

Vote for Your Favorite Cause Marketing Campaigns from January 2010

Dear Faithful Readers:

In January 2011 I'll post my much anticipated annual best and worst cause marketing campaigns for 2010.

But this year I want to make it more interactive. So once a week for the next 12 weeks I'll ask you to vote for your favorite cause marketing of a given month.

Up first, January 2010.

Simply follow the links which lead straight to the post, read it, and then vote for your fav.


The Charity Fundraiser as a Protection Racket

I’m a cause marketer, not a direct response marketer. So I’m sure there’s all kinds of nuance that’s not plain to me in this recent direct mail piece from Smile Train, Inc.

But holy crap have you ever seen something that seemed more like a charity version of the protection racket?
“Make one gift now (of no less than $250. See the inset below for details) and we’ll never ask for another donation again.”If you’ve ever watched a movie or TV show about the mob you know what I mean when I say protection racket. A burly guy goes to all the neighborhood businesses and tells the owners something like this:
“There’s been a lot of violence in the neighborhood lately. Mr. Big hates to see that so he’s offering protection to certain businesses like yours.”The burly guy doesn’t even have to make an explicit threat. It’s implicitly understood that it is Mr. Big’s men who are doing the violence to the neighborhood businesses that don’t pay up.

In this case Smile Train, Inc., a $92 million in revenue cha…

Consistency in Cause Marketing

I opened up the Alden Keene cause marketing database and set the dial to ‘way back.’ This ad from KitchenAid benefiting Susan G. Komen is from Sunsetmagazine in October 2002, the year most of today’s third graders were born and a just a year after KitchenAid started its sponsorship of Komen!

There’s a few things that have changed. But many more that haven’t. Let’s analyze the changes and similarities one by one.
The most obvious change is Komen’s name and logo. In 2002 Susan G. Komen for the Cure was still using its old silhouette logo and name.Unchanged is Komen’s use of the ribbon, now in its 25th year.The 9-cup pink-colored KitchenAid stand mixer, model KSM150PSPK is still available. Full retail price of the mixer is $299.99. It’s hard to find independent confirmation, but I believe that’s the same price KitchenAid charged for the KSM150PSPK in 2002. Other pink KitchenAid countertop appliances that generate smaller donations include a blender, food chopper, and food processor, among …

Pink Cause Marketing On the Cutting Edge

Cause marketing is pretty easy to understand. Until it isn’t. From Alden Keene’s voluminous cause marketing database are two breast cancer campaigns that cut against the grain of expectations.

The campaigns in question are both transactional cause marketing, but they aren’t for jewelry or makeup or kitchen goods or clothing, or even pink buckets of KFC chicken, although that one was out there, too.

Instead they’re for shooting gear and a non-kitchen knife.

From the November 2009 issue of Shooting Times is this short editorial piece on an offering from Champion, which makes eye and ear protection for shooters. In 2009 when you bought special pink ammo pouches, shooting glasses or electronic earmuffs Champion donated a portion of the proceeds to Breast Cancer Network of Strength.

Perhaps 20 million women own firearms in the United States. That’s a substantial market, so it’s not surprising that the pink ribbon can be found there. What is surprising to me is that they found a willing nonprof…

Cause Marketing the Happy Meal

Place your palm of you right hand face up. Now in a quick single motion move it towards your forehand. As your palm strikes your head make the universal sound of “why didn't I think of that” and say, ‘DOOH!’

McDonald’s, the 800-pound gorilla of fast food, has tied a donation from the sale of each Happy Meal to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

No word from this ad in the June 28, issue of US Weekly magazine or from how the donation mechanism works or what the donation amounts to.

But what could be more obvious?

Think of all this does for McDonald’s and RMHC. It gives the RMHC an automated and continuous funding source. Since McDonald’s has a pretty good handle on how many Happy Meals it sells every day, that means RMHC, can plan pretty accurately its annual donations.

And for the chain itself, it gives the Happy Meal a little more coverage from the do-gooders who want McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants to separate the toys from the kids meals so as to fight obe…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Over, Cue the Cause Marketing Backlash

Breast Cancer Awareness Month ended Oct. 31, and I saw more pink ribbon cause marketing than ever, so you can certainly expect the backlash to begin.

Certainly that’s what Cecil Adams, the fine syndicated columnist, is up to in his October, 29, 2010 column called ‘Do pink ribbon campaigns against breast cancer do any good?’

Adams issues three basic laments:

1). Unlike in Canada the Pink Ribbon isn’t owned by anyone in the United States, opening up the campaign to possible corporate mischief.

2). Everyone would be better off if you just sent $12 in rather than go through all the who-ha of collecting and mailing Yoplait lids.

3). While death rates to breast cancer have fallen since 1990, breast cancer incidence rates are actually 25 percent higher than in 1980.

I can’t speak knowledgeably to the science or the physiology of breast cancer, so I’ll just address Adams’ two central problems with cause marketing.

That the ribbon isn’t owned by one entity in the United States certain DOES open it to…

Cause Marketing Ad en Espanol, Almost

In a half-dozen English language magazines Ford Warriors in Pink has used pretty much the same ad (seen below) with a call to action to buy branded merchandise from the campaign’s website. Purchases benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

But the ad on the left from the Noviembre 2009 issue of People en Espanol is more of awareness and esteem builder for Spanish-speakers affected by cancer.

Here’s how one bilingual friend translated it for me:
This [way] isn’t going to be easy.
This [other way] isn’t. It’ll be easy.
A [quick] pause makes all the difference.
Stop. Check yourself. Live. Fight against breast cancer.
I’d be the first to say that you can’t just translate advertising from one language to another and expect it to remain effective. That said, while I can imagine a dozen reasons why Ford Warriors in Pink took this approach, none of them strike me as being terribly compelling.

This is all the more puzzling to me since, the site where you can but all the Warriors in Pink merc…

My Cause Marketing Wish List to the President and the New Congress

Today is the first Federal election in the United States since 2008. I encourage all my American readers to exercise their franchise and vote.

It's too soon to say how the election will fair for the two major parties in the United States, but this much is clear; come Wednesday the President will yet be Barack Obama.

So on this first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, here’s my cause marketing wish list for President Obama and the new Congress, expressed in an open letter and originally posted on Feb 5, 2009.

Dear President Obama:

You have much to do in the opening days of your administration. But I hope you’ll carve out a little bit of your prodigious energy to think for a moment about a cause marketing, which I define as: “a relationship that bridges cause and commerce in ways that benefit both parties.”

Like many others, I have wishes and hopes for your administration. As a cause marketer, three stand out.

1). Please make cause marketing donations tax deductible. Doing so wou…

Cause Marketing for Good Eggs

One of the reasons companies participate in cause marketing is to preserve pricing power.

This is more than just a theory. A University of Michigan study published in April 2009 confirmed the efficacy of cause marketing as a corporate strategy for preserving pricing.

Consumers these days have all kinds of power that they didn’t have even 10 years ago. The shelves of today’s grocery stores groan with choice. And in the soft economy, rare is the food producer that can actually raise prices.

That said you don’t often see a sponsor nakedly admit that it utilizes cause marketing in order to keep prices up.

But that’s exactly what Eggland’s Best does in this free-standing insert (FSI) that dropped in my local newspaper on October 31, 2010.

The campaign is basically a licensing deal. Eggland’s Best is giving Susan G. Komen for the Cure $50,000 in exchange for the right to print Komen’s version of the pink ribbon on its eggs during ‘Autumn 2010.’

Eggland’s Best chickens are fed a specially-formatte…