Using a Cause for Advertising & Marketing

causes marketing

Cause Marketing is not new, actually it have seen a huge growth since mid 2014.
Like emotional advertising, the cause marketing appeal to the emotional brain, in other words it’s also another kind of emotional manipulation.
But unlike the emotional advertising mentioned above, cause advertising actually help a cause.
It’s true that the benefit for the company outweigh by far the benefit for the cause, but sometimes the association can be a good deal for the cause as well.

Great examples of Cause Marketing:

  • American Express Statue of Liberty Restoration (1983):¬† American Express offered to contribute 1 cent for each card transaction and $1 for each new card issued during a three-month period to restore the statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
    The offer was backed by a huge media campaign, and successfully raised $1.7 million.
    This gave huge exposure to American Express business and probably led to the creation of this new field in marketing, “the cause marketing“.
  • Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives (1999 to present): Yoplait offered to donate 10 cents to G. Komen for the Cure, breast cancer foundation, for each sticky lid mailed, it quickly became one of America’s best-known breast cancer campaigns. And consumers saved and mailed millions of sticky lids to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Since, Yoplait have continually refined the initiative and supported it with paid and earned media. The campaign have raised to date more than $26 million.
  • ¬†1,000 Playgrounds in 1,000 Days (2005 to 2008): The Home Depot and KaBOOM offered to build within 1000 days, 1000 playgrounds for kids. Relying on employee volunteerism with this national three-year program they built play grounds for kids within walking distance of their homes.
  • Live Strong Bracelet (2004 to present): Nike teamed up with Lance Armstrong Foundation to raise funds for Armstrong’s cancer charity, this was done by selling yellow rubber bands for $1 each, the campaign was a success and the bands were worn by a lot of people. The campaign have raised to date more than $70 million.

Taking Advantage of Cause Marketing:

The last few years more and more companies and corporations, thought of taking advantage of cause marketing, without really offering anything of value, for the causes they pretend they support, i will take a few examples of the latest of these campaigns, there’s a lot, but i will just select a couple of the recent ones.

  1. The Hypocrites: Are the companies that pretend to support an idea, but in reality they don’t, they just want you to think that they are doing so, to push you to unconsciously like their brand more.
    Here’s an example: The Budweiser 2016 SuperBowl Ad . In this specific example, getting drunk means more beer sales, thus the message clearly contradicts the interest of the company …. Or does it? No, not really because the small negative effect this ad will do on sales will be compensated by the increase of sales due to : 1- Brand loyalty increase¬† 2- Less hard alcohol more beer, when driving.
  2. The Dull: The companies that just embrace a common idea, and transform it into a cause.
    Here’s an example: The Colgate 2016 Super Bowl Ad . In this specific example, turning off the faucet is a logical behavior that most adult do, so unless this is addressed for kids, it really isn’t doing much.
  3. The Exploiters: The companies that are just taking advantage of “causes” for their own selfish and unethical gains.
    Here’s an example: PornHub marketing stunts & campaigns, like “Save the Whales”, where they pledged to donate 1 cent for every 2,000 videos viewed on their site between February 8 to 29. These stunts are controversial and click bait material, which make many publications go through with them.