Skip to main content

Making Your Cause Marketing Promotion Clear and Understandable

In the fall of 2012 the New York Attorney General’s office released Five Best Practices for Transparent Cause Marketing. The first one was “clearly describe the promotion.” We might assume that the AG was speaking only to marketers with malintent (to use the neologism). But being clear and understandable can also be a problem for marketers with good intent too.

Case in point: This coming weekend June 28-29 Dave Matthews Band is doing a two-day concert at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey. The promoter of the concert is Reverb, which is a 501(c)(3) with a mission to make concerts more sustainable. Reverb frequently partners with other nonprofits in the tours it promotes. For the Dave Matthews Band concert in Camden the nonprofit partner is the Food Bank of South Jersey. Reverb asks that fans bring non-perishable food with them to donate to the food bank.

That’s a promotion we’ve all seen and can understand, right?

But, amazingly, the press release issued by Reverb and the Food Bank of South Jersey manages to be confusing and unclear. Here’s the pertinent paragraph:
“To come to the concert, fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate as they enter. Additional support will come from the Dave Matthews Band self-labeled seed packets which sell for $5.00 each. The proceeds from these seed packets will go to purchase fresh produce from a local farmer. That produce will go to the Food Bank of South Jersey.”
That first sentence sounds as if you can enter the concert for the price of a non-perishable food item, which most certainly is not the case. If you show up on Friday with a can of food but without a ticket, no Dave Matthews Band for you. This is a simple food drive, not a full-blown benefit concert.

So what’s the deal with the seed packets? Well, as the website explains, Dave Matthews Band has lent its name to a packet of basil seeds sold at the concert’s Eco-Village. Donate $5 to Reverb and you’ll get the packet of basil seeds. You’ll also be entered to win a rafting trip from the Wilderness Society.

Not everyone likes The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Critics find it too prescriptive. But two of their prescriptions still make sense to me; “make every word tell,” and “omit needless words.”

Had the writer of the press release followed both pieces of advice that first sentence could have read, “Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item which will be donated to the South Jersey Food Bank.”

Doesn't that more clearly describe the cause marketing promotion?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …