Skip to main content

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 returns at an acceptable risk.

Here’s how Wikipedia summarizes Taleb’s ‘black swan theory.’

“The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain:"
  1. “The disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.” (Hurricane Sandy, for instance)
  2. “The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities)."
  3. “The psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs.”
I’m not logician, philosopher, mathematician or investor the way that Taleb is.

Instead I ask, where are the black swans of cause marketing? That is, what’s possible but hasn’t been seen yet? And, perhaps more interesting, while cause marketing enjoys relatively high esteem right now, what unexpected events could change the public's perception?

I hope you’ll weigh in in the comments section below.

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…

KFC Concept Restaurant Gives a Nod to Cause Marketing for Local Causes

KFC, a unit of Yum Brands, is testing a new quick-serve restaurant version of the fried chicken outlet and among the changes is that its cause marketing efforts will be much more local, according to Anne Fuller, senior director of development for KFC eleven.

The KFC eleven test store is in Louisville, Kentucky, KFC’s headquarters. When it opens August 5, 2013, it will feature rice bowls, flatbreads, salads, KFC original recipe chicken among other items, plus sides. A second test location is set to open in Louisville before year’s end. The 11 in KFC eleven is a salute to the 11 herbs and spices in their original recipe chicken.

The trade-dress for the test store includes lamp lighting, digital signage with community news, and artwork from local artists.

Why step into the quick serve space? Fuller answered a reporter from QSRweb.com this way: “People love KFC but it's not a frequent choice for many guests for some reason. We wanted to create a broad and balanced menu that could mayb…