Cause Marketing Gets Political

With the first presidential debate less than a week away, the campaign trail continues intensify – as does cause marketing. While businesses typically steer clear of politics, several companies are stumping for the voter registration cause, striving to gain both brand supporters and political votes.

Kenneth Cole this week announced a partnership with Rock the Vote to make voter registration fashionable. Consumers can now purchase a limited edition Kenneth Cole “Rock the Vote” tote bag with a QR code that links directly to an online voter registration tool. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the tote will benefit AWEARNESS, The Kenneth Cole Foundation, in support of Rock the Vote. Also partnering with Rock the Vote, Virgin America took voting to new heights with its “Both Sides of the Aisle Win” campaign. Passengers on Virgin’s Washington D.C. to San Francisco flight can register to vote mid-flight by scanning a QR code on the airplane’s back-seat screens. Patagonia also threw its hat in the political ring in June with its “Vote the Environment” campaign, in conjunction with nonprofit partners HeadCount and the left-leaning League of Conservation Voters. The campaign urges consumers to register to vote, learn about candidates’ environmental policies and platforms and declare why they “vote the environment” (via Twitter #becauseilove). The brand enlisted the help of the band Wilco to promote voter registration and education, and also released a special edition t-shirt, from which $5 of every purchase benefits HeadCount.


Politics can often be a great divider, but not always so when it comes to cause marketing. While some brands have found a way to tap into the nonpartisan political conversation through a focus on voter registration, others, like Patagonia, have decided to take a stand in alignment with brand values through messaging and nonprofit support. Regardless of political leanings, companies have harnessed cause marketing to influence, inform and motivate consumers to get to the voting booths come November 6th.


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