The First Country Band of Cause Marketing?

U2 gets my vote as the best cause marketers in rock and roll based on their efforts on behalf of [RED] and Bono’s own cause-marketed clothing line called ‘Edun.’

But which country act earns honors as the best country music cause marketers?

If you twisted my arm today I’d say the Zac Brown Band.

Marketing bands and their music these days is a whole lot different than it was when the labels did all the promotions (and took the lion's share of the revenue). File sharing changed all that.

When anyone can find your music for free on the file sharing websites, you can't rely on download sales alone for all your revenue. The resulting lower profit margins for the labels demands that bands assume greater responsibility for their own promotion. For the very smartest bands these new revenue models can actually be more lucrative.

The Zac Brown Band, a country music act, uses cause marketing as a part of its promotional mix.

Regular readers will remember that back in July 2010 Dodge sponsored a cause marketing effort that featured the Zac Brown Band in a promotion called ‘Letters for Lyrics.”

Here’s what I wrote then:
Write a letter to a soldier, take it to your local Dodge Ram dealer and you get the CD 'Breaking Southern Ground.' The campaign’s stated goal is to give away 1 million CDs. A download from the album is available from the Ram Trucks website.
In July 2011 the band announced a deal with outdoor retailer Gander Mountain that benefits the charity Soles4Souls, which provides shoes to children worldwide. When you buy a co-branded Zac Brown Band-Soles4Souls baseball cap at, proceeds go to the charity.

Reviewers on Gander Mountain are uniformly positive. Says one called ‘mydogpete:’ “Great looking hat that helps to support a good cause. Love listening to Zac Brown Band, too, so this makes me feel a little closer to the band.”

Is the Zac Brown Band the best cause marketers in country music? Nominate your favorite in the comments below.

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