Skip to main content

Advocacy Cause Marketing to Teens

This post is about teen sex (or abstinence therefrom), although this blogger is not talking about the sketchy MTV drama series Skins.

Instead this post is about an advocacy cause marketing campaign from The Candies Foundation, “a non-profit organization that works to shape the way youth in America think about teen pregnancy and parenthood.”

Candies, for whom the Foundation is named, is a teen fashion brand.

The Foundation is against teen pregnancy and advocates for both sexual abstinence and protected sex among teens, which is usually set as a dichotomy in the American culture. You can see how that plays out in this PSA from the Foundation featuring teen mom Bristol Palin, who campaigns for abstinence and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino who says he is all about protected sex.

The Foundation’s campaigns run in teen magazines and youth electronic media. The ad above, from the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database, ran in the May 31, 2010 issue of J14 magazine. That's Bristol Palin and son Tripp. Bristol, now 20, has been the Foundation’s primary spokesperson since 2009.

The PSAs and ads are celebrity heavy: Hayden Panettiere, Beyoncé, Vanessa Minnillo, Ashley Tisdale, Hilary Duff, Ashlee Simpson, Usher, and others. From my point of view the print ads work better than the video PSAs. One of the PSAs depict a teen boy and girl in a car rounding second and heading for home before being ironically interrupted by the realities and responsibilities of parenthood.

Seeing ads like that makes me wonder if they don’t have a counter-effect. I know of a former smoker, for instance, who can’t watch certain movies because the sexy way smoking is portrayed therein makes him crave the wicked weed again. One medical researcher’s study confirms in part that anecdote.

The Foundation’s website says that the campaigns have gotten remarkable attention. “Since its inception in 2001, Candie’s Foundation ads have been seen by millions of teens across America…Our ads have made more than 500 million media impressions in all major teen media outlets…”

Five hundred million media impressions is a very big number over the course of 10 years. Big enough that certain key staffers at the Foundation could parlay that into a pretty sweet job at a big ad agency.

But is the campaign effective?

Here’s what the website says:
“Our campaigns are making a difference. Research has shown that teen girls who have been exposed to the foundation and its messages are more likely to view teen pregnancy and parenthood as stressful and negative, and they are more likely to be skeptical of the media's portrayal of teen pregnancy and parenting. They also think teens should wait longer to have sex than girls who are not aware of the foundation and its messages.”
Ignore the grammatical strain that last sentence is under and concentrate on the claim being made: teen girls who have been exposed to the Foundation’s campaigns see the negatives of teen pregnancy and parenthood more so than teen girls who haven’t seen the campaigns.

Certainly I’m glad for that. But what I really wish the Foundation could claim is that teen girls who are exposed to the campaign are much less likely to get pregnant.

What do you think? Does this campaign work for you? What, if anything, would you change about it?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…

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…