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Showing posts from February, 2012

Let's Bridge The Gaps Between Sponsors and Causes

Pictured at left is a 2007 circular for from the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database. It features two cause-related marketing efforts; one for the New York City police officers and firefighters who performed so bravely during 9-11, and the other for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Ignore for the moment the weak and confusing “portion of the proceeds” language on the firefighter check and concentrate instead on what else is in play besides the transaction-based cause marketing.

Everyone who buys either of those checks is identifying themselves as someone who has so much affinity for the New York City firefighters and police officers of 9-11, or for breast cancer research that they’re willing to put a ‘bumper sticker’ on their checks saying as much!

Imagine the value to those two nonprofits to have the list of people who bought those checks. It would be the hottest kind of list.

While for-profits commonly approach non-profits for their lists, it’s less common for …

Banking on Cause Marketing

Open an account with ableBanking and the Internet-based bank will make a $25 donation to the cause of your choice. More, albeit still undefined, donations are promised in time.

It sounds a little like the bank promotions of yesteryear when a new account might bring you a toaster, a set of china, even a firearm!

I don’t know exactly how ableBanking makes money, but its parent company, Maine-based Northeast Bancorp owns a lot of insurance agencies in the State. It could be that ableBanking will serve as a lead generator for Northeast’s insurance business.

In traditional ‘George Bailey’ style savings banks the bank pays an interest rate lower than the rate it is able to lend at. Savings banks made their money on the difference between the interest they’re paid and the interest they pay their depositors.

George Bailey, you’ll remember, is the main character in the classic Christmas movie ‘Its a Wonderful Life.’ George worked for a savings bank that had a liquidity crises caused by a venal big…

50 Cent, Cause Marketer

Curtis Jackson, aka rapper 50 Cent visited the horn of Africa in September 2011 hosted by the United Nations and committed to provide 1 billion meals to the World Food Programme over the next five years, funded in part by several cause marketing efforts.

The Horn of Africa has a lot of problems right now, nonetheleast of which is that starvation there is rampant, long-term drought is endemic, and working institutions are few.

Since the UN's World Food Programme can manage to deliver a meal for about $0.10, Jackson has basically committed to donating $100 million (or 200 million 50 cent pieces). That's a very big number.

He gave his commitment a kick start with a donation of $350,000. Like him on Facebook, and when he reaches 1 million new likes, he’ll donate another $1 million.

50 Cent is also tying the sales of his Street King energy drink to the World Food Progamme (WFP). For every bottle sold, 50 Cent will donate one meal.

Street King competes with 5-Hour Energy Drink, a ca…

Does Jeremy Lin* Read the Cause Marketing Blog?

Or, How to Make your Company’s Facebook ‘Like’ Campaign a Little Less Gratuitous.

We all know how Facebook ‘Like’ campaigns go. Companies provide a little something-something, perhaps a donation to a cause, and people hit the ‘Like’ button and give up the crazy amount of data that Facebook collects on all of us.

But such promotions have already become pedestrian.

FlyBuys, Australia’s largest loyalty program with some 10 million cardholders and 5.5. million households, wanted to do something a little different.

FlyBuys knew that half of its members were on Facebook and it wanted to engage them there. But how to do it without resorting to a garden-variety ‘Like’ campaign?

FlyBuys created a promotion to ask members to donate 25 million points to Cancer Council Australia. That goal was met in 30 days.

The reason why has to do with the FlyBuys’ history. Since its inception in 1994, members of FlyBuys have been able to donate their points to charity partners, notably to Cancer Council Australia.


Cause Marketing Lessons From Lord Stanley's Cup

As of today New York, Boston and Florida from the NHL’s Eastern Division have all clinched a spot in the playoffs, while Detroit, Vancouver, and San Jose from the Western Division are guaranteed a playoff berth. With 22 games remaining, my Phoenix Coyotes still have a distant shot at the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy now in its twelfth decade, that has four lessons for cause marketers.

The Stanley Cup is the most storied trophy in professional sport in North America, dating to 1893. Unlike other trophies it’s permanent. That is, a new trophy is not made for each championship. It’s also the only trophy that is engraved with the names of the players and management from each championship team.

How does the NHL manage that without making the trophy too ginormous to hoist?

Well the trophy itself stays the same size; about three-feet tall and 35 pounds. It features a cup at the top with graduated bands or rings below that. Beneath those are five larger bands of the same size. Each of th…

Charity Donors Say They’d Keep Giving If Tax Deduction Went Away, But They’re Not So Sure About You

A new study, released yesterday, finds that Americans would keep giving, even if the tax deduction for charitable gifts went away. However, they’re certain that charitable donations would decline as a result.

As Congress and the President mull over how to make up ground against the burgeoning U.S. deficit, one idea that frequently comes up is eliminating tax deductibility for charitable donations.

The demographically representative study found that most Americans think that would lead to fewer donations to charitable causes. The survey, from Grey Matter Research of Phoenix, found:
30% feel there would be no real change in giving in the U.S.
Six percent believe charitable donations would rise.“Almost two-thirds of Americans say charitable giving in the U.S. would decrease, including 29% who believe it would decrease a little, and 36% who believe it would decrease a lot,” the survey found.Even though the issue has become a kind of political football (See picture above), how Americans feel …

Design It Yourself Cause Marketing

Liberty Bottleworks, concluded a fun cause marketing contest at midnight last night that allows the winner a unique ‘canvas’ to express themselves on, as a well as donation to the cause of their choice.

Here’s how the contest worked.

People were invited to submit an original design for Liberty’s Earth Day bottle, it ended yesterday, President's Day in the United States.

The contest took place on Liberty’s Facebook page. The winner will be determined based on who gets the most likes on Facebook. In addition, proceeds from the sale of the Earth Day bottle benefits the charity of the winner’s choosing.

Liberty Botttleworks are the only metal water bottles currently made in the United States. All of Liberty’s bottles are made of recycled aluminum using American-made machinery. Moreover, Liberty has the ability to print on its bottles basically anything a designer can imagine.

My Liberty bottle, whose sale benefits the charity called Big City Mountaineers, looks like urban graffiti. The Lib…

My Annual Defense of the Practice of Cause Marketing

Is cause marketing just a gimmick to induce people to buy or does it really benefit the needy?

That’s the tenor of a question posed recently by Bruce Bradley, fellow blogger, author of the forthcoming book ‘Fat Profits,’ and a food industry consultant.

Bradley concludes his blog post with this question: “What do you think of Big Food’s contributions to charities? Are they motivated by generosity, or is cause marketing just another way to manipulate consumers to get them eating more processed food?”

I suspect Bradley meant that as an either/or question. But my answer to it, as posed, is 'yes.'

There’s actually two points in Bradley’s critique/objection.

The first is subtle, but plain.

Bradley objects to capitalism; certainly as it’s practiced today, but also in general. Capitalism isn’t perfect. Too often it’s not even good. But no system of commerce and exchange has ever approached capitalism’s ability to lift humanity out of poverty.

What’s the difference between North and South Kor…

Message QR Codes Better to Improve Market Penetration

A new study out suggests that people with smart phones and tablets would scan more QR codes, if only they knew that their mobile device could do it.

QR codes help companies and cause span the physical and online. I recommend to many of my cause clients that they use a QR code to help add urgency and emotion to their appeals.

The study released in February 2012, by JiWire found that 18 percent of those surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2011 had scanned a QR code in the prior 90 days. The more interesting number is that 53 percent of those who knew that their smart phone could scan QR codes had done so in the previous 90 days.

Basically all smart phones and tablets with a camera can scan QR codes if they have the right app, which is usually free and oftentimes already on the mobile device.

What this tells me is that any QR code needs two messages surrounding it. The first is that smart phones can read it and the second message explains why someone would want to point their mobile device at …

Activating Cause Marketing with PR

On Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 in my post about activating cause marketing efforts, I wrote: “...basically all cause marketing has a PR component whether or not there’s also any bought or owned media.”
So how does that work?

On the left is a newspaper clipping from earlier this month that tells the story of the donation from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to the local fire department. Firehouse Subs is a sandwich chain with more than 450 units in 20 or so states. Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation makes grants to public safety agencies within the service area of the chain.

The Foundation is public charity, meaning it can take donations from anyone. But a big chunk of the donations are generated when the Firehouse Subs stores sell 5-gallon plastic buckets for $2 each. All the buckets formerly held the pickles that Firehouse Subs puts on its sandwiches. Cool idea.

The article appeared in a community-style newspaper called the Sandy Journal, a freebie with a circulation of 36,600. In…

Using Cause Marketing Money to Fund Your Charity’s Endowment

One criticism of cause marketing I often hear is that money raised that way is almost certain to be a pittance for most charities. But such criticisms overlook a crucial point about cause marketing funds.

Nationally syndicated author Cecil Adams, for instance, when addressing his “answer-man” column to the issue of pink ribbon cause marketing wondered why conscientious Yoplait eaters wouldn’t just send a $12 check to Susan G. Komen for the Cure rather than futz around with yogurt carton lids. More to the point, if your charity is not Komen or Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital… each of which annually raise more than $75 million via cause marketing…what’s in it for your charity?

There’s two main answers; the second is that your sponsor-partner has a strong incentive to promote your cause as they promote their sponsorship. Charities shouldn’t settle for just brand-building or awareness-raising when they sign cause marketing deals, but it’s not a…

Using Earned, Owned and Bought Media to Activate Cause Marketing

Leading up to its Feb. 11, 2012 Romp to Stomp tour event in Utah, Tubbs Snowshoes bought local advertising. The day after the event, it garnered some earned media, in this case a story in one of the Salt Lake City dailies.

Both earned and bought media represent ways for a sponsor to activate or promote their cause marketing relationships. A third category, called owned media, is what General Mills has with its millions of box tops. Or what you have with your Facebook page and Twitter feed.

So how do they differ? And which is best for cause marketing?

As I’ve noted before, basically all cause marketing has a PR component whether or not there’s also any bought or owned media.

And even in a digital age where newspapers in North America are basically ‘old media,’ getting a story in the paper nonetheless brings with it a measure of credibility that owned and bought media don’t have.

That’s because when someone publishes or broadcasts a story about your cause marketing they are giving a kind of …

Seven Things You Can Do to Fight Childhood Slavery

In the March 2012 issue of Redbook magazine, writer Alison Storm lists seven things you can do to ‘Save a Child From Slavery.’

Back in November after reading the horrifying book “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn I committed to help the plight of girls and women in the developing world.

"Half the Sky" brilliantly drives home the point that in too much of the world girls and women are abused, trafficked, mutilated, enslaved, and even murdered for largely cultural reasons. Every bit of this is immoral and wrong. It must not be allowed to continue and none of us can sit idly by while it happens.

Here then is Alison Storm’s list:
‘Face the Facts.’ By this she means that slavery and forced labor is more prevalent now than at any time in human history. Perhaps 5.7 million children worldwide are forced to work in factories, fields and brothels. The charity Love146 fights child sex slavery and exploitation specifically. ‘Shop for Fair Trade Jewelery and Handbags at sto…

Get Sponsored By Following the Lead of OK-GO and Others

The youngest person ever to attempt a solo crossing trip to the South Pole on snowshoes, the bass player for Kanye West’s touring band, Tony Stewart’s left side tire changer, a participant at a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event and OK-GO all share something in common; they want to be or are being sponsored.

Each of these examples offers lessons for a charity that wants their cause marketing to get sponsored, too.

OK-GO is sponsored because it brings a wild amount of creativity to its music and music videos. Chevrolet sponsors OK-GO’s latest music video of its song, x, because the band consistently turns out the most downloaded music videos on the Internet. And we all go to watch their videos because of OK-GO’s wonderful power-pop sensibility and a visual approach to music videos that you can’t find anywhere else. These guys are both rock and roll and nerds. The result is that their videos are the craziest kind of eye candy you’ve ever seen in a music video. And all of us respond. T…

Small Biz Cause Marketing

I saw a job description the other day for one of the chief marketers at Macy’s, the giant retailer. Among the listed job responsibilities was cause marketing, something Macy’s does well with sophisticated efforts for Make-A-Wish and the American Heart Association.

Big companies and big charities tend to suck all the oxygen of the room when we speak of cause marketing. But small companies and causes can do it effectively too.

Case in point is this wrapper at the left for a chocolate bar from the Big Island in Hawaii.

It couldn’t be more homey and local. The paper wrapper feels like copy paper and the foil wrapper it came in seemed home-wrapped. The printing looks like it came from an inkjet paper and the design is so rudimentary it might have been done in Word. The chocolate bar itself was a little thicker at one end than the other.

The place of origin is Pepeekeo a tiny town on the opposite side of the Big Island where the bar was purchased at an ABC Store. ABC Stores are home-grown in Ha…

Gamifying Cause Marketing

On the heels of my posts on games and cause marketing in this space and at, people have been asking me about how so-called 'gamification' can be used in cause marketing.

Part of the answer has already been provided by Joe Waters (and others) in their coverage of Foursquare, which can be easily utilized in cause marketing.

Zynga and its suite of games have done meaningful cause marketing, notably for disaster relief in Haiti and Japan.

A handful of sites including (whose revenue model is based on advertising) offer donations to nonprofits based on how long you play standard faire.

Plus 3, a social networking site for people increasing their physical fitness does much the same, albeit with fewer gamified elements.

Big brands like Coke and General Mills have built games into their cause marketing strategies.

Even still, gamification and cause marketing are still basically at the Atari stage in their co-development. Pong was the start of video/computer ga…

Must... Somehow... Work Super Bowl Advertising and Cause Marketing Into This Headline

In the moments and hours after the Super Bowl advertising executives appear like earthworms after a rainstorm to grade and critique the television ads. Never mind that very few of these experts have ever actually produced a Super Bowl ad, much less one that would pass muster with their equally critical peers!

So not one more word on the 2012 Super Bowl ads, at least from me.

Instead I want to raise the banner for a kind of cause marketing I’d like to see actually develop.

The idea was prompted by a trip to Walgreens when I purchased a paper icon benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

At the bottom of the Walgreen receipt there was a website toll-free phone number. Dial the number, answer some questions and you’re entered into a drawing for $10,000. Other companies that do this direct you to a website URL.

I don’t know what their response rate is, but the $10,000 amount suggests that it’s pretty low.

Taco Bell’s survey gives out $1,000 per week. At a regional seafood restauran…

Buy One, Give One Cause Marketing for Services

I’ve highlighted numerous products that utilize Buy One Give One; shoes, baby blankets, fruit snacks, watches, neckties, fragrances, wine, and eyeglasses, to name a few. I’ve certainly seen services that use cause marketing; including law firms, hotel chains and vacation companies. Now a video production company in Belgium is using BOGO to cause market their service.

For each travel video Timbooktwo produces, the company will make a video for a charity.

Here’s how it works; when the company is in a region of the world shooting for a paying client, they will contact a charity in the region and shoot for a day. The company says: “In our experience, most charity projects fit into this time frame.”

In that way, what Timbooktwo is doing is similar to companies that pay employees for certain volunteer work.

But, of course, that analogy is incomplete since the shooting of a video is only the start. At the very least it requires many more hours of both pre and post-production time.

I should also p…

Join Causemarketing.Biz Google Newsgroup, Get a Cool Tool You Can Use Today

Kind Readers:

Shawn T. from San Diego, California is the latest to join the 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 Shawn, when you join 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 the flavor of Cause Marketing you’re considering.

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

So join today.

Warm regards,

Paul Jones
Aldenkeene at gmail dot com

Has Subaru's 'Share the Love' Cause Marketing Promotion Boosted its Net Promoter Score?

A new consumer opinion survey shows that among the major car makers, Subaru enjoys the highest net promoter score. By a lot; eight percentage points better than second-place finisher Toyota.

Could it be that Subaru’s score started catching fire just as it’s cause marketing effort called ‘Share the Love’ started to gain momentum.

The Net Promoter Score, as you’ll recall is a super-simple measure of customer satisfaction. The Net Promoter Score is measured with an eight word question: “would you recommend this product/business to a friend?”

The Net Promoter scores are based on a 0-10 scale and the measure the degree to which someone is genuinely pleased with your product, company or service and why.

Here’s the scale:

9-10 Net Promoter
7-8 Neutral
0-6 Detractor

Subaru launched the ‘Share the Love’ promotion in 2008. In it Subaru donates $250 to several causes when you buy or lease a new Subaru between the middle of November and the first week in January. There’s also a Facebook ‘like’ campaign t…

Fictional Cause Marketing From DC and Time Warner

For the next two years, says the press release, Time Warner Entertainment and Time Warner businesses will be supporting the work of the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and Mercy Corps in the horn of Africa, which is in the throes of a deadly drought made worse by wholesale political instability in Somalia in particular.

Called ‘We Can Be Heroes’ the face of the campaign will be DC Comics superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg. When you make a donation at We Can Be Heroes website, DC Entertainment will match your donation up to $1 million. DC Entertainment is owned by Time Warner.

Time Warner also sells T-shirts, mugs, i-Phone cases and stainless steel water bottles emblazoned with the silhouette of the Justice League superheroes in front of an outline of the African continent. Fifty percent of the purchase price of the merchandise goes to the cause.

This is where I say something really catty like Time Warner cares so mu…