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Cause Marketing That Still Cooks

Over the course of the last 11 years KitchenAid’s Cook for the Cure campaign has raised more than $8 million for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. But don’t pay attention to the dollars raised. No, look at the 11 years they’ve been together. In cause marketing years that’s like 22 years.

What’s an 11-year cause marketing relationship like?

You know those really cute images from the movie The Notebook? The movie posters depicted Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling bussing in the rain. But the more evocative parts of the movie, by far, are those of James Garner reading to his invalid wife, played by Gena Rowlands. Young love is cute. But old love is admirable.

With KitchenAid and Komen the kids have come and gone. They’ve had disagreements and tense moments. But both parties are long past that euphoric ‘in-love’ phase and are now in a more mature part of their relationship. The real part.

They’ve also gotten past that stage that some old couples fall into where they face each other across a restaurant table and seemingly have nothing to say. In marriages, as in other relationships, that happens when you or your partner have stopped growing and stopped being interesting. Or, to put it another way, stopped trying.

KitchenAid and Komen are still growing and trying. A recent press release announces that when you buy a special Villeroy & Boch plate and pass it on with goodies to neighbors, KitchenAid donates $5 to Cook for Cure. (Donations are contingent on the recipient registering the plate online.) The plate, seen above, features artwork by PBS chef Jacques Pepin.

A second promotion involves a week-long event. KitchenAid asks that people host a party and instead of bring goodies bring checks. They call it ‘1000 Cooks for the Cure’ and the suggested time frame is July 20 through July 29. The campaign is activated by the usual social media.

Now the KitchenAid/Komen relationship enjoys a few advantages that a marriage probably doesn’t; the faces change every few years. The people that started this partnership way back in the day are probably long gone from the day-to-day relationship. And every time someone new comes to the partnership the reset button gets pressed.

That can be bad and good. It brings new ideas, certainly. But the risk is that the new people think that bussing in the rain is what relationships are really about, when, in fact, that’s what new relationships are about.

So congratulations to KitchenAid and Komen making it to 11 years. Here’s to 30 more!

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