Skip to main content

Can This Headline Save Cause Marketing?

Because of the voluminous Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database I see hundreds of cause marketing campaigns a month, and one of the trends in writing headlines for cause marketing ads is to use a question.

Here’s two from the database for illustrative purposes, but I’ve seen similar headlines for the RED campaign and in dozens of other campaigns.

For more than a year you almost couldn’t avoid this ad from Ford Warriors in Pink, which benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The ad spent more time in more women’s magazines than did pictures of Angelina Jolie. It reads: “Will a T-Shirt Help Cure Breast Cancer”?

The second example comes from Glad’s campaign for Cookies for Kids Cancer. It reads: “Can Lives be Changed With a Bake Sale”?

Now normally, I’d say a question is a poor way to write a headline. A question makes it too simple for the reader to check out. It’s too easy to read “will a T-shirt help cure breast cancer?” and answer it with a ‘no’ and move on.

But could there be method to all these questions?

I think there is.

Both campaigns threaten to trivialize cancer and the people who fight it. Of course cookies don’t cure cancer. This is what thinkbeforeyoupink has been railing against for years.

But add a question to the idea and the dynamic changes a little. Can a T-shirt help cure cancer? Not really. But if all of us rally against the scourge of cancer with bake sales, and races, and merchandise sales, we can make headway against it.

And in fact, we have. When my dad died of cancer in 1974, we scarcely said the word cancer in polite company. When John Wayne died of cancer in 1979 you couldn’t have filled the Rose Bowl with the number of cancer survivors in any given year. Nowadays there’s something like 10 million cancer survivors in the United States, including my mother-in-law. Forms of cancer that were once death sentences like leukemia are very treatable today. Cancer hasn’t submitted to human ingenuity, but it has been humbled by it.

Can we cure cancer? That remains to be seen. But can we raise awareness? Can you and I help with the funding of cancer research by buying trifling things like T-shirts and cookies?

What do you think?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …