Traditionally there has been a target market and a designated route for cause marketing. MediaPost’s Perry Allison sums it up well with the phrase Charitable Commerce Consumers http://bit.ly/GIhtVv. A survey shows these are consumers with a median household income of $125,000 a year and median net worth of $375,000. 90% of Charitable Commerce Consumers say they are likely or very likely to shop with a business aligned with a charitable cause. 75% of them have served an active role in a local school, community or national charity and 12% have served on corporate boards. For Charitable Commerce Consumers, supporting businesses that take a serious approach to charities is the norm. Yet, while these consumers have a lot of disposable income and word-of-mouth influence, they don’t represent all of the people out there who donate or would donate to a worthy cause. There are more people to reach and different ways to reach out to them. It’s time for cause marketing to expand its scope and lighten up a little with a dose of humor. David Hessekiel cites Kenneth Cole, Ben & Jerry’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill as examples of companies who raise profits for causes through their humorous and playful takes http://bit.ly/GIhtVv.
Kenneth Cole is known for his tongue-in-cheek ads that use clever wording to get the word out about issues like AIDS, homelessness, gun safety and women’s rights. For example, a 1997 ad addressing abortion is accompanied by the tagline “It is a woman’s right to choose. After all, she’s the one carrying it.” Above this text is a picture of two handbags. Ben and Jerry’s has used its ice cream to generate awareness, coming up with unique flavors and donating profits from their sales to various causes. Phish Food is one notable flavor, a chocolate and marshmallow one named after the band Phish, and its profits go towards environmental efforts in the Lake Champlain, N.Y./Vt. area. In 2002 One Sweet Whirled, named after a Dave Matthews Band song, emerged and partnered with SaveOurEnvironment.org to fight global warming and get people to reduce their CO2 emissions. Hubby Hubby, a 2009 flavor renaming of their popular Chubby Hubby, celebrated the legalization of gay and lesbian marriage in the brand’s home state of Vermont and raised awareness of this issue across the country. In addition to brand partnerships there are event partnerships.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, for the last two years, has hosted a Boorito event, encouraging people to show up on Halloween dressed as one of the worst kinds of junk food imaginable. Participants received the opportunity to purchase $2 Booritos with profits going to healthy and sustainable food operations. This year’s Comic-Con International features a “Course of the Force” five-day event leading up to Comic-Con http://bit.ly/GH5qEo. An Olympic-style torch relay from Santa Monica to San Diego is the focus of this event, allowing participants to celebrate their love of Star Wars and support Make-A-Wish Foundation at the same time. Each quarter-mile will raise $500 for Make-A-Wish Foundation.
These are only some of the ways in which a brand or event can use humorous and playful promotions to raise money for charitable causes. Approaching cause marketing in this way draws in another demographic all together, one that is not seen through other efforts. Bringing this demographic into the fold means more supporters, more interest and more money for the cause. All of which are essential to keeping charitable causes financially healthy and meeting their goals. Basically, you stagnate probable growth when you only focus on a narrow area of cause marketing. Similar to musicians like Madonna, who constantly reinvent themselves, cause marketing has many different approaches and outlets. Why not utilize them all? The results may surprise you.