Archives For Cause marketing

On October 7th and 8th, our company will do another 24-hour round-the-clock marathon, donating advertising and marketing goods and services to Dane County non-profits. It’ll be our sixth year. So far, KW2 and its partnering businesses have contributed almost $1.5 million.

We call it Goodstock.

Since non-profits are businesses, and they’re constantly strapped for cash, time and expertise, and they do so much good for so many people, we think this is a nice way to help out, while making our community a little better.

It’s wild. We pick about 10 non-profits (out of about 350 in Dane County), and literally, from noon on Thursday to noon on Friday, we sprint and think and work and drink Red Bull to complete thirty to forty different projects, from TV commercials to logos to public relations proposals to web-based tools. It’s exhausting, but immensely gratifying. We reveal the work at a big party at the High Noon Saloon.

But we want to do more good this year by asking others to directly help some non-profits on the 7th and 8th as well. Not at our offices, and not through us, but on their own. What can individuals, and schools, and groups and associations and businesses do? Really, anybody can simply contact a non-profit and ask what they need, right? How hard is that?

I thought we could ask senior citizen centers to contribute baked goods, or knitted stuff to soup kitchens or homeless shelters. We could ask schools to have kids to take the 7th to make some cool, inspiring art. Maybe some non-profits just need a new coffee pot, or copy paper, or new toys, or a rake, or a fridge, or gift card to Office Depot. Businesses can allow their employees to take the day off and volunteer. And then there’s the old stand-by, writing a check. Even in this economic fun-house we’re in, lots and lots of businesses can afford to cut a $50 check.

Think of how much extra good we can generate in just 24 hours. It’s exciting.

Do you have any ideas on how we can get more folks to do more good for non-profits on October 7th and 8th? Please let me know. Thanks.

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You may have seen this great effort from Levi’s and Weiden & Kennedy (the same company behind the Old Spice “I’m on a Horse” ads). They all hunkered down in the city of Braddock, Pennsylvania just outside of Pittsburgh, and didn’t just shoot some TV ads. They invested real cash money into its community center, library, and an urban farm.

It’s a fantastically cool idea. Advertising, reality TV, cause marketing and economic investment, all in one. Awesome. It takes a lot of hustle to pull something like this off.

Levi’s got a lot of crap for doing this. “Why didn’t they put jobs into Braddock?” “Why help just one city?” “Levi’s are made in Mexico, not the U.S. for Pete’s sake!” Parts of the ad community hammered it, calling some of the lines trite (“We are all workers”) and the whole thing too precious. It stirred up debate. Good.

Listen, Braddock is hosed. This town is dying before its eyes. But Levi’s put $1 million into this dying city. The State of Pennsylvania didn’t. General Motors didn’t. The critics who called the advertising crappy didn’t do a damn thing for Braddock, except help raise Braddock’s search rankings. Levi’s got off it’s denim ass and tried to do some good, and should get some karma points for that at the very least and profit at best.

I’m a die hard Levi’s guy. It’s practically all I wear. And despite thinking that most of their advertising has stunk for the last 15 years (including the Spike Lee stuff – sorry Spike), I really hope this one works for Levi’s. They’re sales are up worldwide 8%, so it may be doing them some good. But (much) more importantly, here’s hoping it does some good for the people of Braddock.

Okay, “social justice” may be a bit of a reach. But Miller, Pepsi and Coke are among brands who are using the big stage to relate to the millions of Americans (and earthlings, what with the Super Bowl’s worldwide reach) who truly need a hand during these cruddy economic times.

Here’s Miller High Life’s campaign idea. Here’s their ad on Facebook. (Hat tip to Robin Marohn.) It’s a great idea that salutes four small American businesses. Not your typical Super Bowl ad, but that may help Miller stand out, especially when Anheuser-Busch will most likely stick with the tried and true slapstick-n-Clydesdales approach. It’s a perfect fit for Miller High Life’s everyman brand persona. And hell, I bet the four businesses will have a much better 2010 than 2009. Way to go Miller.

Pepsi’s Refresh Everything effort is going to give millions in grants to fund helpful projects. Pepsi’s tactic of not running any ads during the game puts it into first place for pre-game brand awareness between these cola war rivals. Nielsen says Pepsi got 21.6 percent of the total online buzz among all Super Bowl advertisers (which is really, really huge), about 10 times more than Coca-Cola. But with Coca-Cola’s historical international sales lead, and Coke having about 14 times more Facebook fans, Pepsi still has a long climb to gain market share and fans.

Coke is donating $1 for each “bottle of Coke” that is “virtually gifted” on Facebook. Check it out here. Um. That’s a cool idea, but why even bother with the virtual give of a virtual beverage language? Just say “here’s a buck for a good cause.” Here’s AdAge’s story on the rivalry.

What’s a better approach? I like Miller’s. Sure Pepsi and Coke are doing good things. And they’re putting money on the ground, into the hands of folks who need it, which is really great. But I suspect that these campaigns are simply shifting corporate charitable giving and marketing budgets around. And ultimately, they’re doing the exact same thing, except Pepsi is saving a few million by not running ads. This lack of differentiation could wind up giving neither one a big win today.

Hey communications professionals: next time The Client asks you to give `em super-functional AND super-emotional, remember this engaging, smart campaign from Ikea. Lots of product. AND lots of feeeeeeeling. It can be done.

And the diversity message almost comes across as a social marketing campaign, like public service announcements to be cool to each other, even when NOT sitting on Swedish-designed futons.

The (RED) campaign to fight AIDS in Africa has a cool new element — Lace up, save lives. Can’t wait to see these red shoelaces adorning our fellow human’s feeties.

(RED) launched (one or two years ago?) with Gap, Nike and Apple, all offering products branded with (RED). Proceeds of these products go to fight AIDS in Africa. What a great new step this is.

Purchasing shoelaces contributing to the fight to do some good on the other side of the world? Great idea.