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Showing posts from November, 2012

My New Favorite Cause Marketing Fundraiser

One of the first rules of blogging is to never start a post with an apology. But rules were made to be broken, especially when it involves tattoos.

I apologize for not posting on Food Tattoos for Hunger, which took place at tattoo shops mainly in the United States but also elsewhere on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. Food Tattoos for Hunger was a collective of shops and parlors offering food Flash tattoos in order to raise money for various hunger charities and food banks. ‘Flash’ tattoos… that is tattoos designed originally using Adobe Flash…go on quicker than when using more traditional methods.

At left are some designs submitted for the event from artist Joe King.

The way it worked is that artists would volunteer their time and materials in a marathon tattoo day. Back in the day, hairdressers did something very similar with ‘cut-a-thons.’

The goal of Food Tattoos for Hunger was to attract 100 shops and generate an average of $1,500 for a total of $150,000. I called Food Tattoos for Hunger a co…

A Three-Way Cause Marketing Tie-up Between Hasbro, Duracell and Toys for Tots

The point of co-branding… of which cause marketing is one type… is for brands to combine their advantages in such a way that they create worthwhile synergies.

In an article from several years back, Accenture, the big consultancy, named six varieties of co-branding:

Promotional/Sponsorship. This is the category cause marketing falls under. Also Papa John’s sponsorship of the National Football League.

Ingredient. Betty Crocker brownie mix made with Hershey chocolate, or any of the Jack Daniels' dishes at TGI Fridays.

Innovation Based. The Apple-Nike tie-up.

Value-Chain, which is meant to bring new experiences to the consumer, not just another flavor. There are three varieties of value-chain co-branding:
Product-Service. Sea World and Southwest Airlines.Supplier-Retailer. Starbucks wifi service from AT&T.Alliance. Think FTD, or those alliances between multiple airline carriers. In short, co-branding is common and familiar.

Less common is co-branding between more than two brands. That&…

Today's Dose of Anti-Cyncism

Get ready to have your heart warmed.

Last year, when he was six, Jamie Ashbourne of Jensen Beach, Fla., wanted to give some toys to less-fortunate kids at Christmas-time. But he found the whole process of donating unwrapped toys to kids he’d never meet somewhat joyless. That's the little fellow at the left.

So he set about buying… I assume bankrolled by mom and day…and wrapping enough toys to fill a sleigh. But by the time he was finished, it was just days before Christmas and most toy drives were over. But in the last hour the Gertrude Walden Child Car Center in Stuart, Fla. welcomed him, and Jamie got to play Santa after all.

Now age seven, Jamie will be back at the Walden Center on Dec. 19. But Jamie has also turned his eye to the kids affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, although it’s too soon to see how that will play out.

Jamie’s website,, is set up to accept donations and well wishes. And, I suppose, if you can do anything to help enable …

Current Canadian Opinion on Cause Marketing

A public opinion survey published Nov. 1, 2012 by Ottawa-based Abacus Data finds Canadians very supportive of the basic practices and premises of cause marketing.

The Internet survey of 1208 Canadians found the following:
82 percent say they would switch brands to support causes they care about.
The same number of people say that companies should donate to causes.
Canadians would be more likely to donate at checkout if the company would match their donation (67 percent), if offered a bounceback discount on their next purchase (61 percent), and if allowed to choose the cause their purchase supports from a list of charities (51 percent).
Most Canadians want to know more about the specific impact of their contributions.
82 percent say that a company’s commitment to social and environmental issues helps them to decide where to buy or shop. 65 percent say such considerations inform how they invest.
As a whole, Canadians are willing to travel an extra 18 minutes to buy a product that supports a…

Cause Marketing That was Born This Way

Short post today… I’m still muzzy from the Thanksgiving feast. But I'm not too groggy to deliver a cause marketing post that is directly related to today, Black Friday 2012.

During the Black Friday sales event at Macy’s today through Sunday, the retailer will donate $10 for every bottle of Lady Gaga ‘Fame’ fragrance sold. Also, for everyone that takes a photo in a Macy’s store and posts it to Twitter with the hashtag #macysBTWF, the company will donate another $5. The money goes to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. The total donation is capped at $250,000.

To me the challenge for this effort is in how to activate the campaign. I got a press release from Macy’s PR staff. But even Macy’s doesn’t have the social media reach that Lady Gaga herself does.

Gaga currently has 31.4 million followers on Twitter. In addition to her website she has a social media website devoted to her fan base called The site, which takes its name from Gaga’s name for her fans, is …

My Annual Homage to the American Holiday Called Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday when we watch parades and American football before eating an enormous feast of turkey, ‘stuffing,’ mashed potatoes and gravy, and then chase it down with great slabs of pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream.

Recently I read how the original feast was perhaps 600 calories. Nowadays... the dietary nannies tell us... the Thanksgiving meal might tip the scale at 5 to 10 times as many calories.

That news almost makes me want to cut back. Almost.

Americans love this holiday. So do Canadians, who celebrate it on the second Monday in October.

We North Americans have done our level best to try and export the holiday, but with very limited success.

Historian Thomas Fleming tells how our British cousins opened up Westminster Abbey on November 26, 1942 during World War Two for a special Thanksgiving Day service for American servicemen and women, the first-time ever the cathedral had been used in that way.

Alas, while the 'Special Relationship&#…

Five Tips for Recruiting Nonprofit Sponsors

Yesterday I talked about the power and ease of working with other nonprofits who serve as sponsors. I mentioned that when I worked at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) my four nonprofit sponsors were collectively worth more than $5 million a year to CMNH. That was more than 10 years ago and I’d be surprised if the current number for those four sponsors wasn't some multiple of $5 million.

So how do you recruit valuable nonprofit sponsors? Here’s five tips:
Network, network, network. The initial contact with the American Legion came through Riley Hospital for Children, the CMNH member hospital in Indianapolis. Someone knew someone at the Legion headquarters there, and my predecessor sweet-talked, cajoled and weaseled his way towards the decision-makers, many of whom had had personal experience with Riley.A ‘no’ doesn’t always mean no; sometimes it just means not now. What I mean is that persistence is vital if you want to recruit new sponsors. So, too, is good-timing. Log-…

Cause Marketing With Other Nonprofits

We’ve seen many times that not all cause marketing takes between a company and a cause. But after more than 950 posts it only just now occurs to me that I’ve never given much more than a passing mention to a kind of cause marketing that takes place between a nonprofit cause and another nonprofit.

There’s a certain irony to this because I spent the second part of my career at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) running accounts for four large nonprofit groups that worked to help North America’s children’s hospitals; the service groups Kiwanis and Key Club International, the veteran’s groups the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, Log-a-Load for Kids, a subset of the trade group called the Forest Resources Association, and the fraternal benefit society called Foresters.

I was reminded of these sorts of relationships by a press release issued by the Illinois State Bar Association, which recently announced a goal to provide 1 million meals to needy Illinoisans. The…

Put Your Social Network to Work for a Worthy Cause

You’ve got a big following on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +… maybe even thousands of people. Isn’t it time your social network slipped into its spandex and buttoned on its superhero cape and did a little good in the world?

That’s the premise of HopeMob, originally funded on Kickstarter, and about to enter its second year of business.

Here’s how you and your social network can do good using HopeMob. Suppose, in honor of the UN’s recent International Day of the Girl, you decide to start a fundraiser to provide school uniforms for an all-girls school in Accra, Ghana. School uniforms bring many benefits, but if a family can’t afford the price of the uniforms, that would preclude their daughter from going.

But you know that the education of girls helps inoculate them against child marriage, and is highly correlated with advancements in society and economic growth. Educated women have a lower infant mortality rate, higher skills, self-confidence, and the information to be better m…

Join the Newsgroup, Get a Cool Tool You Can Use on Your Next Cause Marketing Campaign

Kind Readers:

Amriti S. from Hyderbad, India is the latest to join the Cause Marketing Google Newsgroup.

It’s super easy 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 Amriti, when you subscribe you'll get a PDF copy of the "Five Flavors of Cause Marketing" a matrix which explains the basic elements of Cause Marketing and includes specific examples.

It's a great brainstorming tool that helps ensure your cause marketing campaigns have all the appropriate components.

Did I mention that all this cause marketing goodness is free?

Finally, rest assured that I will never sell your name or contact information.

So join today.

Warm regards,

Aldenkeene at gmail dot com

Cause Marketing Jewelry that is the Bomb

Some 37 years after the end of the Cambodian civil war, landmines left by the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese and unexploded ordnance from the Americans still shroud the landscape. Wikipedia says that it will take a decade more to remove the majority of it. Like a monster with long arms, the mines and unexploded ordnance (called UXO) of long-past wars regularly reaches forward in time to kill and maim Cambodians today.

If placing landmines or dropping ordnance is easy, clearing minefields is laborious, expensive, and dangerous.

Taking a role in this complicated dynamic is Saught, a social enterprise based Singapore that buys the metal left behind by landmines and UXO and helps to support the training of Cambodians artisans to create jewelry which Saught sells on its website.

At left is the “Laurels of Us” necklace, which features streamlined doves and olive branches and was designed by Song Lin. The necklace sells for $129.90, which is on the high end of Saught’s offerings.

Saught is a …

Cause Marketing Miscellanea

Three different cause marketing efforts worth calling your attention to.

On Friday, Nov. 16 participating Menchies will donate 10 percent of sales to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. Menchies is a self-serve frozen yogurt chain with about 230 locations across the globe.

“Like the rest of the nation, we are deeply moved and feel we have a responsibility to be supportive in helping those impacted by the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused,” said Amit Kleinberger, CEO of Menchie's Group Inc in a press release.

The campaign is activated via in-store promotional materials and public relations.

Somali-born fashion model Ubah Hassan (that’s her at the left) and a partner have launcheda line of umbrellas called Maji that generate a donation sufficient to provide water for 20 people in the Horn of Africa, a drought-torn region that includes Somalia.

The umbrellas, in silver/black and blue/gold, are $40 at the Maji website. The charity partner is Oxfam America.

The campaign i…

Let's Clear Out This Cause Marketing Logjam

Suppose you’re a small entrepreneur with a generous impulse and you want to offer sponsorship dollars to one or more charities, especially prominent ones. How would that phone call or email go?

Karma52, an cause-based apparel company, is finding it tough going.

That’s because the biggest causes ask for (and get) large upfront commitments from would-be sponsors. They require such commitments as a kind of qualifier. If you can’t afford a cause's upfront, for instance, then it can assume that you’re not a likely partner. Moreover, causes are rightly concerned that they risk their brand by getting involved with a sponsor that is either a bad match, a dishonest operator, or worse.

But in their caution, causes are leaving money on the table. The Fortune 1000 has largely been picked through by causes. Most of the large companies are either already doing cause marketing or it doesn’t make sense for them. The future growth of cause marketing for causes will be with smaller companies. 


B2B Cause Marketing From the Financial Industry

I posted on B2B cause marketing last Friday and really didn’t expect to come back to the topic for a while to come. Then I came across an effort from Mischler Financial Group which, in conjunction with Veteran’s Day, announced that 10 percent of its November profits will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP).

Veteran’s Day in the United States was Sunday, Nov. 11. Mischler bills itself as the securities industry’s oldest and largest Service Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise. The firm’s founder and CEO, Walter Mischler, was disabled in the Vietnam War. Mischler is a West Point grad and the son of a career U.S. Army officer. He’s a patriot, in other words.

Founded in 1994, Mischler’s business is back-office financial services for private and public institutions. They end up being the junior underwriter in a number of bond issuances. Mischler is not a consumer financial services firm like, say, Fidelity or Charles Schwab.

I don’t know how big Mischler’s book of business is, …

Gateway Cause Marketing for the B2B Crowd

Most cause marketing is hosted by companies that face the consumer; retailers, restaurants, and the like. But B2B cause marketing has long existed, if on a much more modest scale than consumer-based cause marketing. The usual sticking point is foot traffic. Your average warehouse just doesn’t generate enough foot traffic to support something like a paper icon campaign. That’s why B2B cause marketing, when it’s done, usually takes a different tack.

Toolmex, in Natick, Mass., supplies the industrial marketplace with things like power chucks, end mills, milling inserts, electric motors, and CNC lathes. Few of us have ever set foot in a place like Toolmex.

So what kind of cause marketing does the company do? Well, you could describe it as gateway cause marketing for a B2B supplier like Toolmex. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from the press release:
“Toolmex Industrial Solutions is proud to support Toys for Tots this holiday season, and is helping to make the holidays brighter for disadvan…

Election Day Cause Marketing

Preliminary estimates suggest that voter turnout in yesterday’s general election in the United States was several million short of 2008. But don’t blame the nation’s quick-serve restaurants, which took all kinds of cause marketing-style measures to encourage Americans to exercise their franchise.

Here’s a few examples.
Tim Horton’s offered a free donut to anyone who purchased any beverage while sporting an ‘I Voted’ sticker. Horton’s also surprised voters at polling locations in Ohio, Michigan and Buffalo, New York with free coffee/lattes and donuts/muffins.
On election day you could get a free taco at California Tortilla locations along the East Coast when your showed your ‘I Voted’ sticker, no purchase necessary. 
Select locations of LaMar’s Donuts in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska offered a free donut to people wearing the ‘I Voted’ sticker. In the lead-up to the election LaMar’s promoted a straw poll of voters as activated by donuts shaped like either a donkey (representing the De…

Veteran’s Day Cause Marketing with Outback Steakhouse

Holidays are natural hooks for cause marketers to hang their promotions on and Veteran’s Day in the United States is increasingly a favorite peg.

This effort from Outback Steakhouse is a prominent example. On Monday, Nov. 12… Veteran’s Day 2012… and Tuesday Nov. 13, any active duty or military veteran can get a free ‘Bloomin’ Onion’ and a Coca-Cola beverage at any participating Outback Steakhouse location with valid ID, no purchase necessary.

In addition, from Tuesday, Nov 13 through the end of the year, vets and active duty military receive a 10 percent at Outback, again with valid ID.

What are the advantages of pegging your cause marketing to a holiday? The simple answer is that three or four generations of retail promotions centered around the holidays have habituated consumers to the idea.

Sure, back to school sales make sense for August and chocolate promotions for Valentine’s Day. Consequently, those kinds of tie-ins have been around since time immemorial. But if you think gr…

Reporting the Results for Dine Out No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength reports that its one-day ‘Dine Out No Kid Hungry’ campaign at a number of the nation’s restaurants on Sept. 8, 2012 generated more than $5 million, more than twice last year’s total.

Regular readers know that I like to report the results of campaigns when they’re available.

No Kid Hungry is year-round anti-child hunger effort that concentrates on improving access to existing childhood nutrition programs, educating low-income families on how to stretch their food dollars, and raising public awareness on the issue of child hunger.

Dine Out No Kid Hungry was a one-day effort at 292 restaurants across the spectrum and representing 8,200 locations nationwide. Notable chains included Arby’s, Bruegger’s Bagels, Denny’s, Fuddruckers, Corner Bakery Café, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and others. By itself, the Arby’s chain generated $2.5 million for the effort.

I remember Arby’s activated its sponsorship in its weekly fliers, see at left. Share Our Strength activated the campai…

Gamifying Pet Cause Marketing

Back in October 2012, Purina ran a FSI ad highlighting an intriguing trivia game promotion benefiting Think Jeopardy for dog and cat lovers. Because of my focus on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month I didn’t have the opportunity to post on the promotion in October, which was scheduled to run as long as from October 23, 2012 through November 29, 2012.

I say 'scheduled to' because the promotion ended on Tuesday, November 1 when the donations reached the $50,000 mark, the cap amount. As of yesterday, Sunday, Nov. 4, you could still play the trivia game, it just no longer generates a donation for

Here’s how Purina’s gamified cause marketing promotion worked. You logged onto and choose either cat or dog trivia. Then there was a registration process that required your name, email and address. For each correct answer, Purina donated $0.25 to Each email address was limited to a $10 donation per day. Tha…

Where Are the Black Swans of Cause Marketing?

For years Europeans and the Romans before them presumed that there was no such a thing as a black swan because all the swans in the Old and New Worlds were white. As a result, the aphorism “all swans are white” signified something that was obviously true.

Finally European explorers sighted a black swan in Australia in 1697 and a pair were captured in 1726. Turns out black swans are common enough in Australia and New Zealand.

About that David Hume…the Scottish logician-philosopher who lived from 1711 to 1776 …wrote: “No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.” 

In the hands of logicians like Hume and mathematician-investors like Nassim Taleb, the author of the 2010 book on randomness called The Black Swan, the possibility of ‘black swans’ is a problem of logic and probability and for Taleb especially, a monumental challenge in generating reliable investment…

Cause Marketing When You Can't Use the Phrase 'Super Bowl'

With National Breast Cancer Awareness Month behind us, is not too soon to start talking about cause marketing and the next big holiday coming up, namely Super Bowl 2013.

Rudolph Foods, which bills itself as the world’s largest manufacturer of pork rinds is celebrating Pork Rind Appreciation Day on Super Bowl Sunday, with a modest cause marketing campaign that features an oversized ambition. When you buy a package of Rudolph pork rinds, the company will make a $0.10 donation to Gridiron Greats, a nonprofit that provides medical and financial help to former NFL players and their families in dire need. The modest part is that the donation is capped at $10,000. That needs to be a bigger number.

But I very much admire Rudolph Food’s ambition. Snack foods are a big part of the Super Bowl. But you could chew your way through a lot of advertising dollars trying to keep pace with the likes of Frito-Lay, the $13 billion snack foods division of PepsiCo. Heck, in its press releases Rudolph can’t e…