Using Cause Marketing to Help Expand a Regional Brand

Cheerwine, an extra-bubbly cherry-flavored soft drink bottled in Salisbury, North Carolina, is distributed to a relatively small portion of the United States, but is working towards national distribution in time for its 100th anniversary in 2017.

So how to prepare markets outside of the Southeast for a national roll-out in five years?

Part of Cheerwine’s answer is a cause marketing campaign called Avett Brother’s Cheerwine Legendary Giveback Concert, which takes place on Oct. 19, 2012 in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s a benefit concert for Operation Homefront, a charity for the families of military families, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital in Charlottesville.

The Avett Brothers is an indie rock band with a cool bluegrass-country-pop-punk-honky-tonk sound.

The amount of money a benefit concert can raise is necessarily limited by the size of the venue, how much can be charged for tickets, sponsorships, and merchandising, and what the production expenses are.

But part of Cheerwine’s goal is to get the word out. So the company has expanded the promotion by asking people to pledge volunteer time to causes in local markets. When make a pledge via Facebook or on Cheerwine’s website, the company will send out a special code to watch the show online.

In addition, ten fans from the town that pledges the most volunteer service will get a special viewing event the night of the concert. The details are a little sketchy, but you gotta assume that means food and plenty of Cheerwine.

I like this promotion and am interested in trying the product. But I wonder why there’s only one of these parties. Why not offer a special viewing party to the individual that pledges the most time? Why not break out several categories by region? Cheerwine enjoys cult status on several college campuses, so why not several college categories?

Ten more of these special viewing parties, with the accompanying Cheerwine, would help spread the brand and the news of the benefit concert.

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