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Showing posts from December, 2011

Cause Marketing Your Bowl Game

Two of the 35 bowl games held this season… the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl… overtly use cause marketing to appeal to fans.

In the United States the college football season basically ends the first week in December. The bowl games are a series of post-season contests featuring teams that don’t normally play one another. The Armed Forces Bowl, which airs at noon today (ET), for instance, pits BYU against Tulsa, which have played against each other just seven times.

Bowl games are festive, even indulgent affairs. Team members and coaches get the full VIP treatment. There’s plenty of food, marching bands, pep rallies, cheerleaders and in a handful of cases, parades. At the Armed Forces Bowl the cheerleaders and mascots pay a visit to the Cook Children’s Hospital.

The Armed Forces Bowl is meant to call attention to members of the military, present and past, active duty and reserves. “The Dallas-Fort Worth based bowl game has featured a military theme sinc…

Seven Simple Steps Cause Marketers Should Take Before the End of the Year

The end of the year is fast approaching and with it your final opportunity to improve yourself as a cause marketer. Here are seven simple-steps you could do in the next 30 minutes to improve your cause marketing career before year end.
Make an Appointment for Early 2012 with Your Opposite Number at the Charity or Sponsor. Finish reading this list then call your partner at the cause or sponsor you work with and plan a casual meeting. The explicit purpose of the meeting, whether you admit to or not, is to help improve your personal relationship with this person, even if the relationship is already good. Here’s why: much rests on how well you work with your colleague. If you two don’t work well together your career could suffer and you’ll be less likely to achieve key goals. Create a Swipe File. Smart copywriters keep a file of proven and tested sales copy, letters, ‘packages,’ and the like. You should swipe this idea. Only, load it up with cause marketing examples. Your swipe file could …

The Importance of Proximity in Cause Marketing Relationships

AutoZone, the car parts dealer with more than 4500 stores across the United States is headquartered in Memphis Tennessee. So too is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Not surprisingly AutoZone is a cause marketing supporter of St. Jude. Fedex, another Memphis-based company sponsors the St. Jude Classic, a PGA Tour event held each year at the TPC Southwind golf course, also in Memphis.

It isn’t always the case that cause marketing tie-ins take place between companies and causes in the same area code. For instance, another of St Jude’s sponsors is Target, headquartered 700 miles upriver in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

But if you’re a cause looking to start a cause marketing relationship a logical place to look for cause marketing sponsors is in your own backyard.

Here’s five reasons why:
The prospect is more likely to take your call. Locality improves the chance that the sponsor will respond.You probably already know someone there or can more easily make a connection than if the prospect is …

Swearing For a Cause

Got a potty mouth on Twitter combined with a yen to do good? You may want to sign up for Charity Swearbox.

Here’s how it works: After you sign up every time you use a bad word on Twitter, Charity Swearbox takes note. At the end of the month they send you a notice along with a suggested donation. The default amount is $1 per word, but that’s a suggestion only.

Charity Swearbox has whole host of tweets with naughty words. So don’t go there if you’re offended by profanity.

Currently four causes benefit from Charity Swearbox: Eff Cancer, 50/50, an aid effort for famine victims in East Africa, BeatBullying, and Instrument Lenders Canada. Charity Swearbox is actively looking for other charity beneficiaries, too. So far Charity Swearbox has generated $38,147.

This is the kind of grassroots cause marketing/fundraising that’s only possible with the advent of cheap social networks. And, of course, it’s way more accurate than the self-policing version like the picture at the left.

Another difference …

Merry Christmas From the Cause Marketing Blog

The long-standing Christmas Eve tradition at the cause marketing blog is to show the video of the prior year’s appearance of Darlene Love singing 'Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)' on the Late Show with David Letterman. You can see Love’s 2010 appearance above.

Indeed, she's scheduled to perform on Letterman again tonight, Friday Dec. 23, 2011. Check your local listings for times.

Love first recorded ‘Baby’ in 1963 and is still going strong at age 73 (according to Wikipedia). Watch the video and you’ll know not only why they (finally) inducted her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2011, but you'll wonder how Love could possibly be 73.

But surely there’s a rocking good Christmas song that’s less 30 than years old (‘We Are the World’ doesn’t count because, God bless 'em, Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson didn't write an actual rock song. For the same reason, 'Feed the World' doesn't fit the criteria either).

The good news is that I found a C…

Adding a Seal Campaign to Your Cause Marketing Repertoire

‘Seal’ campaigns defy easy categorization in cause marketing. They’ve been around forever. Witness the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance which dates from 1930.

Strictly speaking seal campaigns are a kind of licensing deal. Generally they involve pre-set criteria and or testing.

(The even older Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval was begun by the magazine of the same name in 1900 and the Underwriter’s Laboratories first opened its doors in 1894. Both were founded as for-profit entities).

If your product or service meets the criteria and passes applicable tests you are eligible to apply to display the seal of approval/acceptance. Usually the license involves a fee, sometimes a hefty one.

And like sponsoring the Olympics, all paying the licensing fee does is give you the right to spend more money on activating the deal! If other forms of cause marketing are a kind of partnership, seal campaigns are more like a business deal.

For the most part if you meet the criteria and pay…

The Business Value of Serving as a Drop-Off Point for Food or Christmas Gifts

There's just a few more donation days before Christmas for your local food bank... or Toys for Tots, or Sub for Santa, or the Salvation Army’s Giving Tree... and this ad that appeared in a Walgreen sales flyer in late November made me wonder about the business value to a retailer or firm of serving as a drop-off point.

Here’s what I came up with:

Walgreens got a little positive publicity from the Ellen DeGeneres Show. You might get something similar in your local market if your local Giving Tree or Sub for Santa effort has media sponsorship.

New Sales
Walgreens put the ad on the same page as a spread of fairly inexpensive toys, the subconscious message being that if you’re of the mind to do so, you could just buy one or more of these toys and deposit it in the collection barrel.

Likewise, if you’re outlet is a grocery store, someone could certainly add a couple extra cans of tuna or chili con carne to their shopping cart and drop them off in the food bank’s bin on your way out…

Christmas Cause Marketing from Lockheed Martin

Unless you subscribe to some publication like the Army Times or Aviation Week and Space Technology, or you frequent the Yellow or Blue lines of the Washington D.C. Metro subway on the Virginia side of the Potomac, chances are you don’t often see much advertising from military contractors. But this is Christmas. And to hear Lockheed Martin tell it, sometimes Santa himself needs their C-130 aircraft to see that needy kids have toys to play with come Christmas Day.

The ad features Lockheed Martin employees supporting Toys for Tots, a charitable effort of the US Marine Corp Reserve.

With revenues of $47 billion in 2010, Lockheed Martin is one of the largest defense contractors in the world with specialties in aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. On the left side of the ad you see a photo of a row of C-130s, which the company has produced since the 1950s.

Quoting a Mother Jones article, Wikipedia says that Lockheed received 7 percent of all the funds paid out by the Pentagon in 2009.

I don’t h…

1 Exemplary Cause Marketing Effort, 4 Activations

Last Saturday found me Christmas shopping and in two very different retail settings I came across examples of St. Jude’s Thanks + Giving effort, which are integrated in an exemplary fashion.

At the left is an ad from Entertainment Weekly magazine for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which activates the Thanks + Giving effort with the call to action, “This Holiday, give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not.”

Sponsors support their participation in Thanks + Giving with in-store promotions. I bought the gift card at the left at my nearby Old Navy where I had a choice between several versions of these kids’ art cards. Aside from the gift cards, the Old Navy I went to had little else that demonstrated their support of Thanks + Giving.

By contrast, at AutoZone where I picked up a new lamp for my car’s headlights, Thanks + Giving was evident in several places. The front doors had a window cling that announced AutoZone’s support. Likewise, there was a prin…

Making Christmas the Most Wonderful Time of the Cause Marketing Year

As a holiday, Christmas is surprisingly challenging to cause market around, but a local homebuilder has the bones of a good campaign based on a gingerbread house-building contest that could be duplicated almost anywhere.

Cause marketing is commonly linked to holidays. I’ve even argued in this space that the pink ribbon campaigns offer retailers, in effect, an extra selling season.

But with some notable exceptions, like Christmas benefit albums, the redoubtable Salvation Army bell ringers and a few Christmas festivals scattered across the country, Christmas cause marketing isn’t as common as you might expect, even though for most of America’s charities the end of the year is when a hearty chunk of funds are raised.

There’s reasons of course.

Unlike Valentine’s Day, to name another holiday selling season, Christmas in the United States is for many still a holy day, notwithstanding all the commercialization. And it tends to be a very busy time with family and friends.

But think of all the pot…

Stealing Your Competitor's Cause Marketing Approach

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then TOMS Shoes must be beaming with pride.

Skechers a brand of shoes that occupies the vast middle range of pricing and quality offers a line called, I kid you not, BOBS, which promises to give a new pair of shoes to a needy child when you buy a Shoe Carnival gift card valued at $25 or more through Dec. 24.

TOMS, of course, did more than anyone to popularize this buy one, give one approach (BOGO) by giving away a free pair of TOMS Shoes to a needy child in the developing world every time you buy a pair.

TOMS, famously, has never purchased any advertising, even though it enjoys fabulous word of mouth. Something I contributed to early on.

Every time I see someone wearing a pair of TOMS Shoes I ask them about it. Without exception they’ve all heard of the BOGO, although most tell me that isn’t why they bought them.

TOMS Shoes come in kids sizes and even the kids I’ve talked to about them report much the same thing. Except that, if anything, wit…

Cause Marketing from Kathy Ireland

Kathy Ireland is raising money for Jewelers For Children through the sales of her eponymous jewelry line at Fred Meyer Jewelers, and I want to help this ageless paramour from my youth.

If only I knew what Jewelers for Children was.

Ronald McDonald House Charities helps support Ronald McDonald Houses, which are homes away from homes for families who have children in hospitals. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption helps enable adoptions. Target does a lot of work with St. Jude, which is a children’s research hospital in Memphis. J.C. Penney supports after-school programs at 4-H and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Home Depot and Lowes help Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for people who need them.

But Jewelers for Children I had to look up.

It turns out to be a charity of the jewelry industry. Since its founding in 1999, it has donated more than $37 million to children’s charities, four of which… St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundati…

Using Bounceback Offers in Paper Icon Campaigns

A lot of retail establishments do paper icon campaigns, but relatively few seem to have embraced the bounceback offer. That’s why I was glad to see the bounceback coupon at the left from Denny’s.

Right now Denny’s, a chain with more than 1,500 restaurants across the United States, is selling and displaying paper icons benefiting Toys for Tots, the toy giveaway charity. When you buy the paper icon at the left, Denny’s gives you the bounceback coupon below for an order of Pancake Puppies, which are sort of like doughnut holes.

Pancake Puppies, which usually sell for $2, almost cry out for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate to accompany them, so Denny’s is betting that when I redeem the coupon that I’ll buy at least that and, more likely, think of the Pancake Puppies as a kind of appetizer for a larger meal.

For that reason, almost every retailer that sells paper icons should probably try and figure out some kind of bounceback offer appropriate to their business.

Back in the day at Children’s …

The American Red Cross Deserves Better Cause Marketing Creative Than This

At I often review elements of cause marketing campaigns but I generally shy away from reviewing creative.

That's because I don’t have a hardcore agency creative background. So it’s hard to trot out those kind of credentials, as in, ‘Back when I was at Crispin + Porter, Alex Bogusky used to say it was OK to try something different so long as it didn’t look like a mistake.’*

With those confessions out of the way, the creative for the American Red Cross series looks like a mistake to me.

The ads are meant to drive you to, where you can pledge donations in various amounts to support the Red Cross’s vital mission, or to get you to donate blood. (Let me say that regardless of my criticisms of the ads, the American Red Cross is an vitally important cause that deserves your support.)

The creative features a clay everyman with several other 3-D objects set against 2-D drawings in the foreground and/or background.

The copy of the first ad at the left tells m…

How You Self-Educate Will Determine Your Success as a Cause Marketer

How do you, my fellow cause marketers, keep learning?

How you answer the question of self-education determines things like: how successful your cause marketing campaigns are, indeed, how successful you are; your income and your lifespan. Researchers have even shown a correlation between happiness and education.

It’s almost axiomatic that more you know the more you want to know... and as Socrates pointed out, the more you realize how little you actually do know! If education isn't as often humbling as it is enlightening than you're probably not doing it right.

I hope this will be a conversation rather than a monologue or disquisition, so I invite you to comment on what you do to stay on top of your game as a cause marketer.

Business/General Interest
I subscribe to and read a number of business magazines so as to understand current issues, trends, economics and the like, as well as several news magazines. I don’t have a business degree so I feel like this reading has gone a long way …

Cause Marketers, Be Purposeful in Your Use of QR Codes

I’ve been pounding the table for cause marketers to use QR codes now for about a year now, but too often, a new report finds, we’re using them to direct traffic to our website or Facebook page.

Instead, customers expect the codes to take them to content that’s pertinent to the print piece they just scanned. Taking them to the front page of a website is a missed opportunity, says a report from Direct Marketing IQ.

Customers “don’t have time to waste,” the reports says. “They want to be served content, offers, surveys, etc. that matter to them.”

Certainly customers have proven their willingness to point their smart phones at the codes; scan rates in first quarter 2011 were 4500 percent higher than 1Q 2010.

Where should the QR codes take people instead?
Augmented reality images on smart phones.Promotions and co-promotions.Contests and sweepstakes.Links to video presentations.Downloadable giveaways to certain donors.Targeted Facebook/Twitter interfaces.Special content on microsites.Coupons.QR …

Does the End of White Coke Cans Mean the End of Cause Marketing on Packaging? Um...No.

The cause marketing world is all a-Twitter with the news that Coke is retracting its first-ever mostly-white cans meant to call attention to the plight of ursas maritimus. (Collector alert!) Apparently, too many consumers took the special packaging of polar bears gamboling across the tundra for Diet Coke, which, in fact, comes in silver cans.

I don’t have the energy to assign blame, ask if Coke over-reacted, wonder about the institutional competence of Coke’s marketing team, or worry about what this means to the future of cause marketing’s place on packaging.

That’s because cause marketing’s place on packaging is long since ensured, as the ad at the left from Fast Company helps demonstrate.

Buy a specially-marked bottle of Belvedere vodka and LVMH, the brand’s owner, will donate 50% of profits to RED’s Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. LVMH is the acronym for the French luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, (whose CEO is Bernard Arnault, Europe’s richest person, FYI.)


To Take a Page from Kohl's Cause Marketing Success, Start With IKEA

Last week I confessed my man-crush on Kohl’s and their remarkable cause marketing efforts using stuffed animals, books, CDs and toys: Since the year 2000, Kohl’s has generated $180 million for kids’ causes.

But Kohl’s has more than 1100 stores in 49 states. Could Kohl’s approach scale down to a business with just 1-2 storefronts?

My answer is an equivocation. Kohl’s has done deals with whoever owns the rights to Dr. Suess, among many other name-brand children’s book authors. A small operator like Dante’s Pizza, a real three-store chain in Dothan, Alabama that I Googled, wouldn’t be able to pull off that kind of deal.

But the good news is that they probably wouldn’t have to do it exactly the way Kohl’s does.

At the left is a flyer from big-box retailer IKEA, which has around 50 stores in the United States. Buy one of their toys during the promotional period and IKEA’s foundation will donate $1 to education programs from Save the Children and UNICEF.

IKEA’s U.S. website says that in 2010 the…

Where's the Social Media in this Youth Targeted Cause Marketing Effort?

The direct sales business… think Amway, Avon, and Shaklee… has a demographics problem, namely attracting the next generation of sales reps. Avon has addressed the challenge by launching Mark, which targets 18-30 year olds with bright, fun, less expensive products than Avon’s mainstream line and sold by youthful reps using a heavy dose of social media.

Mark has proven to be a good extension for Avon. A January 2010 story in the New York Times on Mark put annual sales at $70 million and numbered sales reps at around 40,000 in North America.

Like Avon, Mark has a cause attached to it. But, as I’ve demonstrated before in this space, in the United States breast cancer, Avon’s signature cause, is pretty rare for women under age 30. So Mark chose domestic violence instead. Its own charity, called m.powerment, donates to causes working to end domestic violence.

In the iteration at the left, when you buy the necklace worn by Twilight star Ashley Greene, proceeds benefit m.powerment and its partne…

Co-Sponsorship and Cause Marketing

All cause marketing is a form of co-branding. But one kind of co-branding is far less common in cause marketing than in sports sponsorship, namely the kind of co-sponsorship you see at the left in this page from a Shopko sales flyer.

The sports folks have long been very good at mashing up sponsors.

The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, for example, could be sponsored by Ford. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl could be presented by Dasani water.

Stateside local sports arenas… especially for pro sports… are almost certainly named for a sponsor; Wrigley Field, Rich Stadium, Coors Field, MetLife Stadium, etc. Inside each of these facilities are hundreds of square feet of advertising for non-competing brands.

So while you might see ads for five or six car dealers, Coors’ naming rights allows them to exclude Budweiser at Coors Field in Denver. Likewise, there’s no Coors sold at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

[Kate B. in Louisville tells me that the State of Missouri has a "law that establishments serving liquor…

Add a BOGO to This Cause Marketing Promotion

Yesterday Tempur-Pedic, which sells mattresses, ended a month-long promotion in support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. When you took a test-rest on one of their mattresses at participating retailers, and then activated online a validation code, a $10 donation was made to the cause, up to a $100,000 maximum.

Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest. In 2010 43,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with the disease and 37,000 died (although not necessary in the year they were diagnosed). Six percent of all cancer deaths are attributable to pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is responsible for the death of actor Patrick Swayze in September 2009.

But a second element of the promotion remains in place. When you buy a limited-edition Tempur white teddy bear, seen at the left, proceeds go to the cause. The bear is stuffed with the same proprietary foam used in the Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

Cool idea but it’s something of a risk for Tempur-Pedic.

Tempur-Pedic is sold based on …