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Activating Cause Marketing with PR

On Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 in my post about activating cause marketing efforts, I wrote: Link
“...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 other words, it’s not exactly like getting your cause marketing story into the New York Times.

The story almost certainly had its start as a press release or maybe just a phone call to the editors at the Sandy Journal. The Sandy City Fire Department brought a wrecked car to demonstrate the donated equipment, a pneumatic prying tool called the ‘Jaws of Life.’ I recognize the background as being the Sandy Firehouse Subs location.

That picture helps sell this story to both the editors and readers. But it’s visual enough that it could have been a TV news feature as well.

Sandy is part of the Salt Lake City market, which has two TV stations with reporters who specialize in zany stories/reporting for their respective morning news programs.

It would have been easy to put either of them in the wrecked car (with a bucket of pickles!) and demonstrate the Jaws of Life in use.

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