Skip to main content

I Don’t Hate All the Cause Marketing I See. Honest.

I looked back at my posts over the last few weeks and found little enthusiasm and a lot of criticism of the cause marketing efforts I’ve seen lately.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m like the drunk test performed on Steve Martin in the 1983 movie “The Man with Two Brains.” Martin’s character, who is in Germany, gets pulled over by the polizei and given a sobriety test that requires him to stretch out his arms and touch his nose, walk a straight line and then return doing a two-handed and one-handed handstand, perform cartwheels and backflips, and then juggle and tap dance while singing a German song.

Martin pauses before undertaking that last part and says to the police officer, “…damn your drunk tests are hard.”

Watch the clip here.

What can I say? Everyone thinks that cause marketing is easy. And it is. If you’re the type who can juggle, tap dance, and sing at the same time.

So gird up. Because I’m going to be hard on another cause marketing sponsor.

The weekly sales flyer for Fresh Markets, a local grocery chain, included the inset image at the left. Libby’s, which produces canned vegetables, is asking for help for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Buy an extra can of Libby’s vegetables and they’ll go local Habitat for Humanity families so that they “can enjoy a meal together.”

It’s a subset of Libby’s “Get Back to the Table” promotion. The website lists a number of reasons why family mealtime is vitally important. As a father of young children, I buy that argument.

But what, pray tell, does any of this have to do with Habitat for Humanity, which Libby’s apparently supports here in my market and elsewhere across the country?

The copy just can’t draw the connection.

Is a connection possible between Libby’s and Habitat?

Could be. Libby’s could frame this as a way to stock the pantries of new Habitat home move-ins. Or maybe there’s a statistic that says Habitat families experience greater food need in the Fall. Or that socio-economic realities tear harder at the fabric of Habitat families more than most, so dinner-time is vital in more ways than one.

Instead, Libby’s just drops its Back to the Table effort into the grocer’s ad, slaps on a Habitat logo and says to consumers, ‘you figure it out.’

Good luck with that.

And don’t get me started on the sad-sack image of the little girl…

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…

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…

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…