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Showing posts from November, 2011

Christmas Cause Marketing on TV

I started my cause marketing career back when gasoline cost about $1.15 a gallon, the median price of a house was a little more than $80,000 and a 30-second Super Bowl ad cost ‘just’ $850,000. And yet cheap as prices were back in 1992 do you think any sponsor would spring for even one national cause marketing ad on TV?

The answer is a resounding ‘no!’

Yet right now there’s goodly number of sponsors whose Christmas ad mix includes cause marketing messaging on behalf of a cause. At left are two current ads that I found on YouTube, one for Coke’s campaign on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund and the other from Macy’s Believe effort benefiting Make-a-Wish.

It may be that the version running in your market is different, but it’s enough to say that both firms are actively advertising their cause promotions on TV.

I won’t bother dissecting either ad beyond saying that the Coke ad is just a little too earnest while the Macy’s ad strikes just about the right tone.

But I want to have a little fun …

Getting the Nose of Your Cause Marketing Under the Tent

The last installment of the Dynamics of Cause Engagement study released yesterday found that social media cause promoters aren’t the ‘slacktivists’ that they’re often portrayed to be.

The study was conducted for the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University and sponsored by Ogilvy Public Relations.

Instead, the study finds, people who engage with causes via social media are:

Just as likely as non-social media cause promoters to donate money to the cause
(41 percent vs. 41 percent).Twice as likely to volunteer (30 percent vs. 15 percent).Two and a half times more likely to participate in a cause walk or event
(25 percent vs. 11 percent).Four times more likely to contact their political representative
(22 percent vs. 5 percent).Four times more likely to request donations to support their charitable work
(11 percent vs. 3 percent).Five times more likely to recruit others to sign a petition for a cause
(20 percent vs. 4 percent).The bottom line is that social media may in fa…

Using Cause Marketing to Better Keep Customers for Life

When I saw the cause marketing ad at the left in my local newspaper, my first reaction was, frankly, uncharitable. I thought: my golly hearing aid retailers must have gaudy profit margins! Those uncharitable feelings aside, I think there’s some lessons for using cause marketing to better keep customers for life.

Here’s the offer. When you buy your first hearing aid(s) from My Hearing Centers, the company will donate $100 to “the children’s hearing and speech center,” presumably an in-house entity. My Hearing Centers will also offer as much as $1200 towards the purchase of new hearing aids when you trade-in existing hearing aids. My Hearing Centers promises that your trade-ins will be refurbished for use by kids in need.

My Hearing Centers is a five-unit chain with locations in the Mountain West states of Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.

In a 2009 review, Consumer Reports found that the hearing aid market was fractured and that hearing aids were expensive. In Metro New York City, the re…

Happy Thanksgiving Cause Marketers

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday when we watch parades and American football before eating an enormous feast of turkey, ‘stuffing,’ mashed potatoes and gravy, and then chase it down with slabs of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Just yesterday I read how the original feast was perhaps 600 calories. Nowadays... the dietary nannies tell us... the Thanksgiving meal might tip the scale at 5 to 10 times as many calories.

That news almost makes me want to cut back. Almost.

Americans love this holiday. So do Canadians, who celebrate it on the second Monday in October.

We North Americans have done our level best to try and export the holiday, but with very limited success.

Historian Thomas Fleming tells how our British cousins opened up Westminster Abbey on November 26, 1942 during World War Two for a special Thanksgiving Day service for American servicemen and women, the first-time ever the cathedral had been used in that way.

Alas, while the 'Special Relationship' betw…

“It Ain’t Bragging If You Can Back It Up”

Kohl’s the Milwaukee-based department store with about 1130 stores in 49 states has raised $180 million for kids’ education and health through its cause marketing efforts, and with this ad in their weekly flyer they’re bragging a little.

That’s not an unrivaled amount of money for a company to generate via product sales cause marketing: VIVA GLAM is now north of $225 million in funding for HIV/AIDS; Newman’s Own is over $300 million; Geoffrey Beene is right around $150 million.

(Comment below with anyone I've missed).

But all those cause marketers had a jump on Kohl’s.

VIVA GLAM and Geoffrey Beene both started their cause marketing efforts in 1994. Newman’s Own was founded in 1982. By contrast, Kohl’s Care’s for Kids was launched in the year 2000.

Maybe a small brag isn’t out of line!

After all, like the great pitcher Dizzy Dean…the last Major Leaguer to win 30 games in a season…famously said, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.”

Kohl’s can plainly back it up.

Where does all that mo…

Cause Marketing to Santa Babies

Huggies is back with another too cute version of their flagship brand of disposable diapers, this time based around Father Christmas. When you buy Huggies limited-edition ‘jeans’ or Santa diapers or baby wipes, Kimberly-Clark will donate as many as 21 million diapers to causes in the United States and Canada on the basis of one diaper per specially-marked package of diapers sold.

Certain social media interactions will also trigger a donation.

Huggies has run much the same promotion with their faux-denim 'jeans' diaper. As many as 17 million diapers will go to Feeding America, the large food bank, and as many as 2 million will go to Food Banks Canada. As many as another 2 million diapers will be spread amongst local diaper banks nationwide.

The promotion ends December 31, 2011.

As I noted back in May 2011, Huggies developed the basic campaign after conducting a survey in 2010 of mothers and their diaper needs. The study, called ‘Every Little Bottom’ was released in June 2010.

The st…

Cause Marketing In the Zeitgeist

Jay-Z, rapper, impresario, and would-be member of the Forbes 400 is in the news because his Rocawear line of clothing sold a T-shirt that co-opts the attention given to Occupy Wall Street, but fails to share with OWS any proceeds from sales.

Sacrebleu! Imagine the cheek of the fellow who “…has the political sensibility of a hood rat …To attempt to profit off of the first important social moment of 50 years with an overpriced piece of cotton is an insult to the fight for economic civil rights known,” as one OWS protester was quoted in Hollywood Reporter. The shirt has since been pulled from the Rocawear website.

It was not always such.

How people or businesses made their money hasn’t traditionally been a matter for the consumer decide other than with their dollars, so long as the commerce in question wasn’t illegal.

Of course there has always been a natural check on people who try to benefit themselves in unsavory ways, as anyone grew up in a small town can attest. But Jay-Z splits his tim…

Helping More Causes Benefit from Crowd-Sourced Cause Marketing

I’m always a little bit chary of the many contests that offer a donation to charities that get the most votes, or Likes, or pageviews, or Tweets. Pepsi Refresh and American Express Members Project are prominent, but hardly the only examples of these kinds of Crowd-Sourced Cause Marketing promotions.

Maxwell House, a coffee brand from Kraft, does its own version of this Crowd-Sourced Cause Marketing called Drops of Good in partnership with the cause Rebuilding Together.

My problem is that such promotions so often become beg-a-thons, and pathetic ones at that. Since promotional money is always tight, only a relatively small handful of humble supplicants ever get funded. After 2.1 million votes, Maxwell House’s top grant was $10,000, which it gave to five communities. Another five got $5,000.

And because of the winners-take-all approach of most of these promotions, a charity that gets even a few hundred less votes than the finalists is basically out of luck with nary a consolation prize.


Cause Marketing for Veteran's Causes Shows Support for Military Vets

In the lead-up to Veteran’s Day, held in the U.S. last Friday Nov. 11, 2011, Timemagazine ran a cover package that concluded that the Americans and military veterans have never been further apart culturally.

Why? Well, the warrior culture and mainstream American culture don’t intersect much, the thinking goes. Many American political leaders have never served, in steep contrast to, say, the Vietnam War era when nearly 2/3rds had served in the military. And without a draft the all-volunteer military just doesn’t touch that many Americans.

Nonetheless Time’s conclusion struck me as reaching.

I myself was in the National Guard. My brother retired from the Air Force and one uncle died in the service. My father-in-law served a hitch in the Army. A business associate was in the Special Forces. An old roommate served several tours in Afghanistan as did a neighbor. J.R. Martinez, a wounded vet, is the odd-on favorite to win Dancing With the Stars this season. And my friend and fellow cause marke…

Monetizing Your Cause’s Archives

Some causes have been around long enough that they have a mountainous inventory of really great communications items that could potentially be monetized. But how?

The challenge is more common than you might think. The Muscular Dystrophy Association is sitting on hundreds of hours of variety-show entertainment performed on its annual telethon since 1966. Assuming it owns clear rights to those performances, the MDA ought to be able somehow monetize that inventory. My old employer, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, has similar if far less extensive inventory of entertainment performances.

Likewise the National 4-H Council has 110 years-worth of posters and the like commissioned from the best graphic artists of the day. I know because I’ve personally seen the tiniest fraction of it. Wouldn’t the 4-H Council love to realize some proceeds from its treasure trove of communications materials?

Long-standing causes like the Audubon Society, the March of Dimes, Federal Duck Stamps, and othe…

Adding QR Codes to Chili's Create-A-Pepper Effort Gives Campaign Added Dimensions

If you add a QR-code to a paper icon campaign, just how many code scans can you expect?

Chili’s, the restaurant chain, added a QR code to its Create-A-Pepper paper icon which engendered 291,000 scans in September 2011. As of this writing, the Create-A-Pepper campaign generated $3,013,735 in donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital so far in 2011.

It’s tempting to conclude that almost 10 percent of people who bought a Create-A-Pepper paper icon also scanned the QR code, but it’s not quite that simple.

Not all the money from Create-A-Pepper campaign comes from the paper icons and Create-A-Pepper lasts longer than just September, which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Moreover, Chili’s had a different QR code on other campaign marketing materials in restaurants which led people to a thank you from a St. Jude patient.

“As the latest trend in mobile technology, QR codes gave Chili’s a unique way to say thank you while encouraging guests to donate to the Create-A-Pepper t…

Cause Marketing from Dillard's That Doesn't Quite Fit

Dillard’s, the department store chain, has a cause marketing effort benefiting Feeding America that hits all the high points, until… cue the record scratch sound-effect… it doesn’t.

So what is Dillard’s doing right? It’s a pretty good list.

First off Dillard’s choose a venerable cause marketing partner, Feeding America, which has an accomplished record in cause marketing and a vitally important mission.
At $2 per transaction, the donation amount is generous.
The promotion itself is activated through this ad in my local newspaper.
There’s a QR code in the ad that leads to a video about Feeding America’s Give a Meal holiday campaign, so check off that cool tactical implementation.
Dillard’s, which has about 300 stores across most of the country, specifically states that the total donation amount is as much as the value of $40,000 in meals, so mark off the transparency checkmark, too.
So far, so good.

But here’s where Dillard’s stumbles, the promotion in question is for bras, shapewear, sleepwe…

Join the Cause Marketing Blog Google Newsgroup, Get a Tool You Can Use Today

Kind Readers:

William F. from Tampa, Florida is the latest to join the Cause Marketing Google Newsgroup.

It couldn’t be easier to subscribe. Simply send me your name and your email address to aldenkeene at gmail dot com.

When you subscribe each new post comes directly to your email, usually every business day.

And like William, when you subscribe I’ll also send you a PDF copy of the "Five Flavors of Cause Marketing" which explains Cause Marketing in an easy-to-follow matrix that includes examples.

It's a great brainstorming tool and helps ensure that your campaign has all the components appropriate for that flavor of Cause Marketing.

Rest assured that I will never sell your name or contact information.

So join today.

Warm regards,

Aldenkeene at gmail dot com

Is it Time for Share Our Strength to Rebrand?

On the heels of yesterday's post about rebranding the two big label campaigns benefiting education, in today's post I show how when one anti-hunger charity rebranded itself, it doubled in size, while another anti-hunger charity is also growing, if less impressively, under its old branding.

The nation’s largest anti-hunger charity, Feeding America, has been knocking it out of the park in terms of its fundraising since its rebranding in September 2008.

Here are the numbers: In 2008 it raised $577 million; in 2009 it raised $639 million; in 2010 $706 million; and for fiscal year 2011 it generated $1.2 billion. For those of you keeping score at home, Feeding America has doubled in size since its rebranding, and in the teeth of the worst recession in America in a generation.

Share Our Strength, an anti-hunger charity that focuses on children, has also been quickly growing. In 2008 it raised around $14 million (not including results from its subsidiary called Community Wealth Ventures)…

Time for Labels and Boxtops for Education to Rebrand for Growth?

For some time now the two big prominent label collection efforts, General Mills Boxtops for Education and the much more senior and yet smaller Label’s for Education... founded by Campbell’s... have opened their respective campaigns to non-competing brands. It’s the classic win-win.

In so doing, they broaden their exposure and increase the amount of possible funds raised for schools. I suspect Campbell’s and General Mills also broaden their cost structure.

Meanwhile, the new partners are happy to participate with either of these well-established efforts because all the groundwork has long since been laid down and because both efforts enjoy strong relationships with tens of thousands of schools nationwide.

To get to this point both of the original sponsors have made efforts to erase their names from the efforts. ‘Boxtops’ is no longer named for General Mills. Label’s no longer features Campbell’s name or branding.

With all that now behind them one of label campaigns has the opportunity to t…

What if Denny’s Threw a Cause Marketing Fundraiser and Everyone Showed Up?

Denny’s, the restaurant chain with about 1550 outlets across the country, wants your nonprofit to hold its fundraiser at one of their restaurants. When you book an event there, Denny’s will donate “10% of pre-tax sales generated by your group” back to your cause, church, team, school, club, advocacy group or fraternity/sorority.

This is familiar ground trod by plenty of restaurants, both chains and single-store outlets alike. As I’ve written before, bookstores, office supply chains, even bakeries could do the same promotion.

My question is, why limit the promotion to just causes?

Seriously, is there any reason why Denny’s shouldn’t extend the same deal to any group of, say, a dozen or more people, for-profit or not-for-profit?

That is, when a dozen or more people in your firm meet for a meal at Denny’s, then a donation of 10 percent of pre-tax sales generated by your group goes to a favored cause.

I’m guessing Denny’s has to cut a check for the donation. So what’s the difference between cu…

Five Pieces of Unsolicited Cause Marketing Advice to Actor Hugh Jackman

Versatile action star and Broadway song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman has started a new ‘all-benefits company’ that he explicitly says was inspired by Newman’s Own.

Here’s five bits of entirely unsolicited cause marketing advice to Mr. Jackman from yours truly.

1. Put Your Face On the Packaging. I don’t know what Laughing Man means and probably most of your potential customers don’t either. Speaking of Newman and yourself, you told Entertainment Weekly magazine, “This is a really great to, uh, exploit your popularity, basically. It is shameless exploitation.” Except the name Laughing Man is hardly shameless exploitation of your celebrity. To really be shameless and to get the most bang for your buck, you need to put the face of one of World’s Most Beautiful People on the packaging of Laughing Man.

2. Turn Your Face Into a Caricature. Brands including Betty Crocker, Uncle Ben, KFC, the Quaker Oats Quaker dude and even Paul Newman are all represented by illustrated characters. Betty Crocker l…

Head Scratching Cause Marketing

Almost two weeks ago I was in a local two-store pizza chain and my kids found the handcard at the left for me.

But what they found wasn’t immediately clear to me.

At first glance, I thought it might be a way to drive cause marketing to smaller retail establishments, something I’ve called for in the past.

A second glance made me think it might be a cause marketing powered inducement for customers to give some feedback.

Indeed, that is the intent. But a cause marketing appeal is not the actual inducement.

Instead ‘Businesses that Matter,’ the name on the handcard, is a subset of Deals that Matter, a Groupon competitor that offers to donate 15 percent of their proceeds to causes you care about. When you sign up, Deals that Matter lets you name your preferred charity for the donation.

So what is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ logo doing there on something that seemingly doesn’t directly benefit the charity?

From Deals that Matter’s perspective it’s there to suggest at their bona fides. Ch…

The Winter Doesn't Mean the End to Outdoor Fundraising Events

The snow has already begun to fly here in the northern hemisphere, so that means all those outdoor charity walks, runs, races, golf tournaments and such are done everywhere except in the sunbelt until Spring 2012, right?

Not so fast, Jack Frost.

In fact, plenty of opportunities remain for outdoor events during the cold winter months. You just need to think outside the Summer equinox box.

For instance, I’m helping a friend with a first of December fun-run benefiting the local homeless shelter. Weather in my neck of the woods can be pretty dicey in December. But that will be part of the fun because the short run will pass by the State’s biggest Christmas-lights lighting ceremony.

I’ve heard of snowmobile rallies, cross-country and downhill ski fundraisers, ice skating events, polar bear plunges, ice fishing tourneys, even golfing in the snow!

Add one more. A series of snowshoe events from Tubbs, which makes snowshoes.

Starting in January 2012 at nine locations in Canada and the United States …

"Help the World's Women and Girls." Website Tells You How Many Slaves You Employ

I am reading the book ‘Half the Sky’ right now, a powerful and deeply affecting book about the plight of women and girls in the developing world by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book addresses four major threats to being female in the developing world; high maternal mortality, human trafficking, which can be understood in most cases as slavery; sexual violence; and mundane daily discrimination against girls and women.

Kristof and WuDunn, a husband and wife team, are loathe to recite the statistics because as all of us with fundraising backgrounds know, statistics tend to numb people’s minds and force them into non-action. Instead they tell story after story of individual heroines and victims both. I urge you to read their book.

I don’t have their discipline so I’ll cite one statistic from ‘Half the Sky,’ which I see as a sort of capstone. Thanks to routinized discrimination, violence and neglect perpetrated against women and girls there are at least 50 million females missing …

Companies that Rank High in CSR Also Known for Cause Marketing

On October 18 2011 I wrote a post about the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship 2011 CSR Index and how by my reckoning six of the top ten and 33 of the 50 companies listed did at least some cause marketing. A few days later reader Jessica Marlo left the following comment.
"It really bothers me that you can't share this information with the rest of us! What companies make up the the "six" of the top ten and "33" of the 50? Sheesh!"
I left the list out of the post not to perturb Jessica or anyone else, but because most such lists tend to be like chloroform in print; real snoozers.

But I promised Jessica that I’d post the list. So fortify yourself with a good strong belt of caffeine and plow in.

Now, this is admittedly idiosyncratic. Some of these firms may have done cause marketing that I’m unaware of. By the same token, the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database has more than 5,000 cause marketing images. I don’t see all the cause marketing in No…