Cause and Effect.,
Charities are wooing marketers with turnkey programs that make them look
good and move products, too.
by Noreen Brubeck
Marketers looking to jump on the cause-related bandwagon face rules
and attitudes that are transforming
the way such programs are developed
Do-good promotions have moved away from the simple "feel-good"
campaigns of a few years ago. In a business climate where accountability
is king, charity tie-ins have become
broad-based campaigns that must create
positive images and move products off the shelf, not necessarily in that
Marketers find themselves dealing with savvy charity fundraisers who work
with promotion agencies to develop
and aggressively sell turnkey programs
that generate various levels of retailer support The retail environment
has also changed radically with respect to what sorts of cause-related
programs the trade will back with merchandising.
"Cause-related marketing began in an age of innocence," says
Robert Herron, president of Easton, CT-based
Senior Marketing Partners.
"Charities would gather merchandisers for an FSI, then go to the retailer
say 'please support this cause.' Retailers began to back off when they
realized the causes were diverting manufacturers'
away from their coffers. They felt cheated because manufacturers were expecting
support for less or no money."
Mickey Goodman, managing partner of Market Growth Resources, Wilton, CT,
sees retailers as overwhelmed with the
number of cause-related promotions
to choose from. "The retailers we work with regularly in coordinating
these events are generally supportive, but they're becoming more selective
because there's limited fixed space
for displays and both manufactures
and local causes are competing for it," he says.
Because of the virtual elimination of traditional funding sources, a slowed
economy, slackened corporate
contributions, new tax deduction limitations
and a tightening of discretionary income, tying in with marketers
top priority for many charities looking for alternative sources of funds.
As a result, marketers are being
deluged with cause-related marketing proposals.
The American Red Cross, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the American Diabetes Association,
the Arthritis Foundation
and others are developing highly targeted programs
aimed at achieving multiple promotion objectives. Innovative
concepts are increasingly being created by top-level marketing executives
who have crossed over
from package goods marketing to corporate relations
positions within charities.
Promotion agencies are taking control in many cases, developing proprietary
and syndicated promotion programs
and aggressively pursuing manufacturers
on behalf of the charitable causes they represent. They are Delivering programs
to vendors that measurably improve the bottom line
enables agencies and charities to pitch retailers successfully.
a win-win scenario that is adding up to big bucks and increased market
share for all sides of the equation.
Harry Abel, former national sales director of Coca Cola USA, took the plunge
into corporate fundraising when he
joined the Arthritis
Foundation, headquartered in Atlanta, as vice president of corporate relations.>"When I told
Coke I was planning to make the move, they reminded me
that each year more than 500 cause tie-in proposals crossed
desk. The only way not to get lost in the shuffle, they advised, was to
create first-class promotions
and bring marketing ideas to the table."
Abel took Coke's advice to heart and has been actively developing programs
for manufacturers to take to retailers.
In this way, the retailers can
take credit for the ultimate donation of funds to the foundation or non-profit
organization. "We try to make the donation side as painless as possible," Abel
says. Locally-generated funds
get fed back into local programs in that
community," he says. "In addition, our promotion costs run 10
percent or less, making it easy for corporate marketers to work with us."
One such program is the "Help Is In Your Grasp" promotion targeted
at consumers over age 45 - the
population segment with 40 percent of U.S.
disposable income. The program provides manufacturers with a targeted
insert in Readers Digest (16 million circ.) while lending grass roots support
from some 71 Arthritis
Foundation chapters and 80 branches in securing
local retailer participation in the program. The event includes
television support during the Arthritis
Foundation Telethon and a free ad for manufacturers in Arthritis Today,
the foundation's 500,000 circulation magazine.
The Arthritis Foundation guarantees exclusive marketing opportunities, co-op advertissing, off-shelf merchandising
and event marketing
to the vendor through Westport, CT-based Ryan Partnership, the promotion
agency that coordinates
the program. Manufacturers pay a $25,000 participation
fee and a $75,000 minimum donation to the Arthritis Foundation.
Emotional satisfaction is a by-product of working on social issues, even
in an era where every product seems to
have a mission. By mirroring the
needs of our society. marketers are using these sentiments to their advantage."
A successful cause-related program has to have bottom-line consciousness.
If we can't produce results that are measurable
for our sponsors. they
won't be back next year," says Bill Lembeck, president of Ryan Partnership.
Ryan is the agency of record for the Children's Miracle Network (CMN), now in its eighth year. CMN was established
to generate funds and awareness
programs for the benefit of children served by its member hospitals. With
of the Osmond family and extensive celebrity endorsements,
this little-known charity soon developed the most successful
generating a record $89.4 million in 1990.
A grass roots program, 100 percent of the funds raised in each area stay
in the local market to help hospitalized
children. local hospital executives
help retailers execute programs in their communities. In eight years, the
telethon, which will air June 1-2 this year, has raised a staggering $336
million. Achieving front-line support
from 465 food, drug and mass merchandisers
explains why participation has grown from two to 80 sponsors in the
Asked if the results would be diminished as the number of products participating
in the telethon via FSIs,
displays and feature ads increases, Lembeck says,
"The total emphasis is on generating increased retailer
incremental sales for participating manufacturers. The end result is helping
five million children
to better health."
"This is our second year of participation in the CMN Telethon,"
says Hugh Cavanaugh, consumer promotions manager at Clorox. "The target
audience is predominantly families
with kids. and that is important to
us. The program is also looked on favorably by the grocery trade which
supports it heavily on a local level," he says.
Hershey has participated in the CMN program for six years. "We're
now using the CMN cause as a year-round
theme in our marketing efforts,"
says Lori Klucker, new products manager at Hershey. "We
tied in with
a back-to-school promotion and a successful Halloween contribution.
CMN is our biggest and most important charitable
promotion, because it's
a natural fit. It's consistent with our concern for children as evidenced
by the Milton
Hershey Boy's School in Pennsylvania."
Also in its sixth
year of sponsorship with the CMN Telethon is Kimberly Clark. Ernie Pugliese,
director of sales promotions says, "Our brands enjoy excellent
trade support and consumer take away. The
CMN event gives an extra boost
to sales that is attributable to the positive reaction from shoppers to
The National Easter Seal Society which pioneered cause related marketing
had a unique program that it implemented
on the first Sunday in March, called the "Partners
for Independence," which was a cooperative coupon program
designed to help America's
disabled, that tied in with Easter Seals' annual telethon.
These ad co-op programs are promoted to more than 200 retail chains
by heads of local Easter Seals chapters.
The program includes special ad
allowances and merchandising incentives for each chapter to encourage local
"Red Ribbon America," a promotional event developed
with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), by
Marketing Corporation of
America (MCA in Westport, CT), was billed as the largest in-store promotional
ever and the first national in-store couponing program tied to a
The promotion will bring manufacturers, retailers and volunteers from MADD
together for a heightened November
public awareness campaign. Funds will
be generated for MADD through a logo licensing agreement between MADD and
The program hinges on the more than 25,000 trained MADD volunteers who
will distribute 30 million coupon books
and red ribbons in-store to support
safe and sober driving. Nearly 15,000 supermarkets will participate and
manufacturers can target from among 22 markets.
Dave Moran, marketing director-promotion programs at MCA, explains, "MCA
obtains retailer and manufacturer
participation, MADD provides the volunteers,
MCA trains them and manufacturers provide the coupons and tie-in promotions.
Radio, Best Food Day newspaper ads and ancillary direct marketing efforts
will support the effort.
Important Qualifying Factors
Cost-per-thousand of the MADD program is $12, and 13,000 stores
--including eight of the top 10 chains --
signed up for the program.
Moran sees in-store cause-related couponing as a major marketing thrust
, and MCA has
developed criteria for choosing contemporary causes
for future promotions based on twelve qualifying factors
such as consumer
awareness, broad-based appeal and organizational credibility.
MCA also solicited
corporate underwriters for a drug-free
entertainment special to air on national television.
effort, with turnkey promotion tie-ins established a school-based drug awareness/prevention
program for grades
K-12 throughout America, and has drawn support from more than 50 celebrities,
Headed by Roger Chapin, founder and president of Help Hospitalized Veterans,
the four-hour special was filmed in in
Hawaii, Universal City and Nashville.
The seed money was divided between grant programs to benefit local
in developing appropriate programs, and drug education programs for kids such as
Q.U.E.S.T., D.A.R.E and "Just Say No".
Consumers, who are being hit with more and more appeals to the heart are
becoming more discriminating in the campaigns
to which they respond. They
tend to shy away from charitable appeals that rely on gimmickry and respond
to those that
address them with intelligence, accountability and a legitimate
sense of necessity. One annual promotion that addresses
a very real need
is "The Generations of Service" campaign sponsored by the American
Senior Marketing Partners, of Easton, CT, developed a strong retailer appreciation
program last year that spotlights
the contributions of the retail food
industry over the last 30 years as the key source of supplies for the Red
in times of disaster. This public-relations-based promotion was delivered
to consumers via in-store displays and ads
which complimented participants' marketing efforts featuring the "Generations of Service"
and Red Cross logos.
Nabisco donated more than $600,000 to local chapters in the names of various
retailers last year, and advertised
every one of its brands in the program.
An 800-number attached to various vehicles enabled consumers to make direct
donations to the Red Cross. In return, Nabisco sent a coupon booklet to
The booklets were customized for each retail chain and non-competing
private-label offers were featured
on the back cover. Each certificate
will be coded by brand and retailers will earn 10 cents per certificate
With the bulk of charity dollars coming out of marketing budgets and being
deducted as business expenses,
manufacturers are concerned that causes
prove how they can justify proposals that seek dollars from allocated funds.
That's not all that is standing in the way of blindly throwing support
behind cause- related campaigns. Retailers
want to make sure that manufacturers
are not taking advantage of them by soliciting support for causes the manufacturers
would normally be paying for.
The Better Business Bureau's Philanthropic Advisory Service has compiled
a set of voluntary disclosure standards
for manufacturers to follow in
detailing guaranteed contribution deals. Clear standards regarding the
of non-profit groups from endorsing products are specified
and recognized in the industry.
Corporate social responsibility is something that everyone has come to
expect. Cause-related promotions provide
an opportunity to meet that responsibility
in a positive and upbeat way that can also result in a better return on