Cause Marketing: Seeing Red??

by Chris Brown on Friday, March 9, 2007

I think getting involved in cause marketing is dangerous. Although you do everything right, you still get nailed for not doing it enough.

Sometimes even professionals get confused between a donation of the revenue and a donation of the profits. Sometimes people get confused between the money used in normal marketing efforts for a campaign and the money generated as a result of the sale of products (that still has to cover the COGS and the G&A etc… and cough up a profit.)

And sometimes people are confused between a charitable donation and a purchase where some of the profits go to a charity.

I left a comment on a post this morning about the Product(RED) campaign at Citizen Brand. Do you agree with me or do you think I am the one that is confused?
The Ad Age article.

What do you think? Do I owe Mike Swensen at Barkley an apology?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Swenson Friday, March 9, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Chris, no apology necessary. I will repeat my response to you from my blog over here at yours. I’m glad you commented.

Chris, I think I was wrong to use the BBB 65% standards for charitable organizations as a measurement for the RED campaign. A couple of others have made that point to me as well.

As I noted in a second post on RED, I have always believed any amount of money that can be contributed to a cause in a meaningful way is a good thing. My bigger concern is the need for us as cause advocates to always push for total transparency as to what every dollar is being used for and demonstrate real benefit.

I think the shocking thing about the disparity between the marketing dollars spent and the charitable return is the knowledge that most programs will not have that luxury. I worry that there could also be a reverse impact on corporations who believe they have to spend that kind of money to have a good cause program. You and I both know they do not.

Thanks for joining this important conversation.

Chris Brown Friday, March 9, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for the clarification Mike. You do make a good point that corporations don’t have to spend $100 million to help have a good cause program.

I agree with that. I think some corporations may feel that the sting of getting nailed about diparity between revenues and the amount of profit donated will keep them from seeking to do the right thing.

thanks for taking the time to comment.

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