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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 ever use the phrase Super Bowl. To do that you either have to be a media outlet like yours truly or an NFL/Super Bowl sponsor.

In a 2011 article, Bloomberg Businessweek put Rudolph’s sales at around $100 million. Moreover, Rudolph has a complicated relationship with Frito-lay because it makes the snack company’s pork rind product Baken-ets under contract. Businessweek says that roughly half of Rudolph’s sales are to Frito-Lay.

In short, even if it had deeper pockets, it would be challenging for Rudolph to go head to head with Frito-Lay in straight up advertising. Pork Rind Appreciation Day, with its accompanying Facebook component and a contest to win a Super Bowl Party for 25 people with a new 50” plasma TV, is a way to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

This promotion is meant to get into the Super Bowl conversation without paying for $3 million ads. Pork Rind Appreciation Day is a good start, but I think they need to get more guerilla in a way that respects and honors their cause partner.

Super Bowl XLVII will be played in the Superdome in New Orleans. So imagine a party in the French Quarter or the Garden District or even one of those big hotels on Canal Street filled with former players who are or have been helped by Gridiron Greats.

The point of the party for Rudolph Foods would be to help these former players tell their stories… some of which will be quite sad… reminding the media and fans of their legacies, as well as their current needs.

Naturally, the party would be filled with low-carb Rudolph pork rind products.

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