Cause Marketing to Real Men

Can you cause market to real men? Do guys who wear plaid shirts and drive trucks to work respond to garden variety transactional cause marketing?

I know all the cause marketing surveys are scrupulous about including a 50:50 mix of women to men. And there’s no way to get to 88 percent approval ratings unless a good number of the men in the survey are saying that cause marketing works for them, too.

But let’s be honest, there’s no bottle cap campaigns from the beer companies for prostate cancer, even though the numbers of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year is almost exactly the same as the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

For most of my time in cause marketing I’ve assumed that women are more responsive than men to cause marketing appeals. And the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study bears that out, sort of. Cone finds moms much more responsive to cause marketing than the population as a whole. More than the population as a whole, moms are more likely to switch brands, more likely to try a new brand, and more willing to buy a more expensive brand, if those brands are associated with a cause they care about.

Then I came across Bugle, the official organ of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a wildlife conservation group like Ducks Unlimited.

Guys that hunt elk…and Sarah Palin notwithstanding, hunting is notably more male than female… are a butch bunch. They drive up into the mountains and camp. They don’t shower. They spend plenty of time around the campfire. Their beards get scruffy. They don’t shower. They drink a lot of beer and tell tall stories. They don’t shower. They stalk their prey. They call the elk (called ‘bugling’). They don’t shower. They shoot at the elk with a pretty substantial rifle. And if they hit it they have to field dress the beast and haul it out. A bull elk can weigh more than 700 pounds, so that’s no small feat. Most hunters eat their kill, too.

So I was a little surprised to find not one but two cause marketing campaigns advertised in the most recent issue of Bugle.

The first comes from Budweiser. Budweiser wholesalers raise money for Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other conservation groups, which is matched by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The second is a straightforward transactional cause marketing effort from Weaver Optics. Buy one of their rifle scopes and portion of the proceeds benefits the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

I suspect that to the degree that either effort is successful it’s because the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation generates a lot of affinity... not so different in it's own way from the affinity that builds between racers and Susan G. Komen during Cure Race for the Cure events. RMEF members actually get out in the field to do the hard work of habitat conservation and remediation, much of which is pick and shovel work.

Even real men love the things they serve. And that affinity is something cause marketers can appeal to.

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