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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, Christmas trees, bells, carols, holly, brass bands, mistletoe, candy canes, reindeer, etc.
  • It comes at the end of the year when Americans are mindful of tax deductions.
Here’s the gingerbread house campaign in question. Build a gingerbread house patterned after a home model built by Ivory Homes and you could win $1,000 for you and $1,000 for your charity of choice.

The campaign is direct, easy to explain and understand, and appropriate to the sponsor.

I would have recommended that Ivory specified a particular charity to direct the donations to. With a little effort, Ivory could turn the contest deadline into something of an event and charged admission to raise funds for said charity.

As is, the event takes place at the clubhouse of one of its communities, which means they can probably accommodate hundreds of people, but not thousands. Since Ivory is almost certainly trying to attract potential homebuyers to its developments, they could put heated tents onsite to increase capacity.

They should probably also consider divisions for children say 5-8, and 9-12. Imagine a men’s division, even a division for professional chefs and bakers, and a people’s choice award. Ivory could challenge its crews to build gingerbread-style children’s playhouses and then auction them off to benefit the chosen charity.

Ivory has multiple developments, so they might consider some kind of round-robin ‘tournament’ that begin at four or eight developments before culminating at the larger event where the winners would be crowned. The gingerbread houses that get the most fan votes moves on to the next round.

This campaign cries out as well for social media elements.

I think this has a lot of potential and is eminently ‘stealable.’


daron said…
On behalf of Ivory Homes, thank you for the recognition. We've been excited about the buzz that has been created thus far through this event. It's been great externally, but also internally as well with many employees and their families participating. We're hopeful for a great turnout at the Gingerbread House showcase. We also appreciated your suggestions for the future.

-Wishing you a great Christmas season from Ivory Homes-

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