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Taking Your Cause Marketing International With Less Headache

One of the topics broached at the Cause Marketing Academy a few weeks back in Phoenix is was what a sponsor with operations outside North America should do if its preferred cause stateside doesn’t really have operations abroad, which is true of all but a select few charities.

The obvious answer is that you work with causes abroad that follow a like theme; children’s health, or animal welfare.

Then we went down the rabbit hole on treasury issues, requisite disclosure in multiple countries, currency exchanges, and all kinds of legal headaches. Then there’s the issues of coordinating the marketing across multiple languages and cultures.

Sponsors can be forgiven is they just throw up their hands at the thought of some kind of unified cause marketing effort that takes place at roughly the same time in multiple countries.

Or, you could just call one of the causes associated with the UN and be done with it.

That’s what two luxury brands, TAG Heuer of Switzerland and Mont Blanc of Germany are currently doing.

You can get into a TAG Heuer watch for a little less than $1000, but they also sell models that go well into the five digits. TAG Heuer has been owned by the French luxury giant LVMH since 1999.

The activation I saw in the New York Times featured actress Cameron Diaz, and promised that funds are donated to UN Women. Shown was a limited edition Cameron Diaz watch, which is available in multiple metal options, as are several Cameron Diaz link bracelets and rings.

More transactional is a campaign from the luxury pen company Mont Blanc, which benefits UNICEF education projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Mont Blanc also makes leather and jewelry items, perfumes, and watches.

Ten percent of retail sales of Mont Blanc’s Signature for Good Collection, excluding VAT/sales taxes, goes to the UNICEF effort.

Mont Blanc and TAG Heuer have to cover all their legal bases for co-venturing in the various countries where the promotions take place (Mont Blanc’s website lists 10 different language sites). But such laws are only well settled in the United States, the Commonwealth countries, and, to a lesser extent, the Eurozone.

They still have to translate the offer, of course, they just don’t have to translate the cause. UNICEF is well known. And, while UN Women, which is the United Nation’s entity for gender equality, was new to me, it bears the UN brand and carries its cachet. 

In picking UN causes Mont Blanc and Tag Heuer saved themselves all kinds of headache.

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