The campaigns listed here are among the promotions I admire most — because the cause marketing itself is the consumer benefit.
Rather than spending media budget on traditional advertising, these companies have converted promotional spending into product feature enhancements. Examples:
- Boost Mobile stores became more than a place for low-income minorities to get prepaid phones when the stores were used as election-day polling places in under-served communities, in which access to voting is otherwise unequal and limited by hours-long lines. Meanwhile, Boost Mobile attracted to its stores, and earned the gratitude of, the same people who are the target market of its no-contract, no credit check, wireless services.
- Pantene became more than hair care products when its dad do (aka hairdo) videos and kit showed fathers how to use Pantene to spend quality time with their daughters, with the premise that father-daughter quality time increases the daughter’s self-confidence and self-reliance.
Note the cause beneficiary: the consumer. That’s unlike most other cause marketing promotions, where the primary beneficiary is someone else. For instance, a typical cause marketing offer is constructed as: “If you buy product x, we’ll donate $5 to children in need, or to save the whales, or to victims of natural disasters.” In other words, your purchase triggers support for a cause other than you.
But, when cause marketing itself is the benefit, the customer (or prospective customer) is the direct beneficiary.
The Proud Whopper was sold at a single San Francisco Burger King restaurant, to coincide with the city’s Gay Pride Parade. The Proud Whopper generated: over one billion media impressions (worth $21 million of earned media), 7 million video views, 450,000 blog mentions, and became the number one trending topic on Facebook and Twitter.
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