Skip to main content

Trade Group Cause Marketing

Trade groups exist to provide service to their members; research and publications, marketing and branding, lobbying and training, tradeshows and meetings, and the like. And now, one other thing they can do is to enable members to cause market. At least, that’s what the Mushroom Council is doing with a Breast Cancer Awareness Month effort benefiting the cancer research hospital, City of Hope.

Wikipedia says there are 7,600 national trade groups in the United States. There are also trade associations at the regional, statewide, and local levels as well.

Here’s how the Mushroom Council’s efforts on behalf of City of Hope work:

“In total,” the Council has donated more than $800,000 to the City of Hope for “pilot clinical trials to support research on the potential cancer-fighting benefits of mushrooms.” Mushrooms are high in selenium and the City of Hope has identified a potential link between mushrooms and decreased cancer tumor growth in cells and animal tests.

The press release I read said that “the Council will provide $50,000 to City of Hope's research on breast cancer and mushrooms.” Based on my reading, I suspect that the total donation is from the Mushroom Council to the City of Hope is $800,000, not $850,000, although the exact amount isn’t clear.

The Mushroom Council encourages retailers to take these three steps to participate in the promotion:
  1. From mid-September through mid-November stock pink mushroom ‘tills’ in premium shelf spaces in-stores. A ‘till’ is industry-speak for the plastic, foam, or paper trays that mushrooms are typically packaged in.
  2. Activate or promote the program through all their usual outlets.
  3. Ask the store’s dietician or wellness expert to participate in some unspecified way  
Mushrooms are grown in basically every state, but about 60 percent of the nation’s annual crop comes from the state of Pennsylvania. So the Mushroom Council has to satisfy both an elephant, plus a lot of smaller operators.

Does this satisfy as a cause marketing effort?

Well, it scales very well. It’s probably not any harder to get pink tills to stores than it is to get black ones. It’s also no cost to the stores, which probably increases participation rates.

I don’t get the third step; “talk to your in-store dietician or wellness expert to join the promotion. Identify additional opportunities for your store.” Mushrooms, like most fresh produce, have anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. So that’s no special story. One exception is that mushrooms are basically the only item in the produce aisle that contains vitamin D. Mushrooms are also loaded with umami, the so-called fifth taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Umami is the rich savory taste you get from meats, cheeses, and, well, mushrooms.

The bigger story will be if the City of Hope or other researchers really find anti-cancer properties in mushrooms. Until and unless that happens, the role for a store’s dietician and wellness expert in a promotion like this seems muted to me.

In addition to the pink tills, it seems to me that there is a role here for a sticker that explains the pink packaging and the Council’s donation to the City of Hope.

Finally, I think there’s also a way for the local mushroom growers to be involved. It’s easy to imagine them sending chefs to do cooking segments on local morning or midday news shows. I can imagine local events like ‘mushroom week’ or cooking contests or some kind of pink till collection whereby each till gets redeemed for a local donation to some breast cancer outreach charity.

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…

Unconventional Metrics of Cause Marketing Power

The printed edition of Fortune Magazine runs a regular feature called ‘My Metric’ wherein business leaders identify informal but telling measures of current economic activity.

In the January 17, 2011 Michael Glimcher, CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust cited as his metric an increased number of black cars on the streets of New York City as a sign of the U.S. economy’s (still pending?) resurgence.

That got me thinking, what unconventional metrics evidence the power of certain cause marketing efforts?

One immediately leapt to mind, although only General Mills, which makes Yoplait yogurt in the U.S., can measure it.

The Yoplait lid at left... which I purchased in December 2010... can NOT be redeemed for a $0.10 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Instead it promotes Yoplait’s sponsorship of Komen’s Race for the Cure events, which are numerous.

But I’d bet you a six-pack of Yoplait Greek Honey Vanilla that people nonetheless still send in some number of the lids above in an attempt to redeem th…