Skip to main content

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 your fee, what you get from the provider of the seal is a contract, a logo, and a usage guide.

The handful of seal providers that publish magazines might also periodically list the companies or products that received their seal. The Campbell's Healthy Request ad at left appeared in More magazine.

If you’re a sponsor, you have to decide what it’s worth to display a seal from a reputable provider. But if you’re a charity or an association, especially in the health field, it might be worth it to explore the idea of a seal campaign to broaden your range of cause marketing 'inventory.'

The ADA, Underwriter’s Laboratory and, to a degree, Good Housekeeping maintain laboratories and physically test items. The ADA tests to see if items in question do what they profess to do. UL famously tests for safety. Since items that bear the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval carry a 2-year warranty, Good Housekeeping tests for efficacy.

But your seal campaign needn’t require a laboratory. I’d be willing to bet that the American Heart Association certification only requires that Campbell’s contractually assert that its Healthy Request soups fall within the guidelines the organization has set for sodium, cholesterol and fat per serving. I’d be surprised to learn that the Heart Association actually tests Campbell’s Healthy Request soups.

Likewise, the certification of the Burt’s Bees toothpaste from the Natural Products Association probably only requires the company to legally declare that the ingredients in the toothpaste meet the Association’s criteria as natural.

This is not to say the certifications from the Heart Association or Natural Products Association are unscientific or illegitimate in any way. The American Heart Association has spent tens of millions of dollars determining healthy amounts of sodium and fat and cholesterol in food. The Association’s seal campaign, therefore, helps them leverage that research.

Could your nonprofit launch a seal effort? That depends in part on the degree to which your nonprofit possess key scientific understanding that could be monetized with a seal.

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…