Pepsi Trading Super Bowl Advertisements For Cause Marketing

Undoubtedly the biggest night in advertising, the Super Bowl attracts all the big players – from Anheuser-Busch InBev to GE – and for the past nine years, Pepsi has been one of the biggest. Until now. This week, the beverage giant announced it will not be advertising in the 2010 Super Bowl. Instead, Pepsi will be investing $20 million into its new cause marketing program.

Don't Tell Us It Can't Be Done

With COP15 in full swing, climate change discussions are heating up – and environmentally conscious companies are joining the conversation. Several big players, including Timberland (Cone’s client) and Coke have launched consumer-focused campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of COP15, which aims to secure a new global climate change treaty to replace the Kyoto protocol.

Philanthropy On The High Seas

We’ve all seen examples of companies jumping on the cause bandwagon, but this may be the first boat. According to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal construction is underway on Utopia, a luxury cruise ship that is using more than onboard amenities and exotic ports-of-call to sell its multi-million dollar residences. More than just a luxury cruise, it’s being touted as a “‘platform’ for learning, cultural exchange and philanthropy,” complete with an on-board Philanthropy Concierge.

Breaking Through Holiday Clutter With Value

Holiday-themed cause marketing programs have long been a staple for retailers to drive differentiation, loyalty and sales during a cluttered shopping season. This year, major retailers are raising the stakes by creating programs bigger and glitzier than years past. We’ve already begun to see full-scale efforts launched by Macy’s, JCPenny and Walmart that push the needle on innovation and integration.

The Giving Climate Unveiled

With all the chatter about the ups and downs of charitable giving during the down economy, it’s refreshing to hear some definitive - and positive - news. According to the 2009 Giving in Numbers Report, released this week by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), corporate giving was actually up during 2007-2008, despite worries that corporations would back down from charitable commitments as the economic turmoil raged in the second half of the year. What’s more, the data show that companies got creative when the economy started to sink, opting for pro bono work and skills-based volunteerism instead of simply backing down from their social commitments. In fact, the Wall Street Journal this week profiled how four chief executives at leading companies are rethinking their philanthropic strategies.

Best Practices For Celebrity Engagement With A Cause

Brands – and, increasingly, causes – have been tapping celebrity supporters for years, and it’s become a tried-and-true promotional tactic. But it’s important for organizations to understand what they’ll be getting – and not getting – when they bring a celebrity on board. The “ripped from the headlines” best practices below can help guide cause-celebrity relationships in today’s environment.

Warming Up To Causes Online

Temperatures are dropping and the holiday season is approaching, causing an outbreak of the “warm and fuzzies.” Yes, the giving season is upon us, and this year is already proving to be the most digitally driven to-date. Nearly every holiday cause campaign underway has an online component, thanks, in part, to growing consumer comfort interacting with brands via new media – up 32 percent from 2008.

The Power Of Positivity

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is taking a results-driven approach to promoting American investments in global health efforts by releasing an advertisement centered on impact. The video, part of the Living Proof Project, will strike a chord with policy-makers, philanthropists and citizens alike not by centering on unmet need, but by highlighting true and measureable change: “Polio cases reduced by 99%;” “Mother-to-child HIV prevention in 16 million pregnancies;” “Malaria cases down 50% in 29 countries.” This approach instills confidence that funding saves lives.

Making A (Collective) Difference

It’s the little things that count - when you add up the small efforts of many, they can create real change. As consumers, we adopt simple behaviors that can make a collective difference; turn off the faucet, pick up a piece of trash, buy a product that donates to a cause, recycle a soda can. When times are tough and cash donations are in short supply, how can companies adopt this concept to make a difference in society?

To Follow Is To Lead

Aristotle once said, “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.”

While I can’t say he was referencing Twitter, the wise philosopher certainly knew what he was talking about. In the age of new media, following is an increasingly overt component of leadership. Leading companies take advantage of Facebook, myspace, Twitter and the like, to follow the conversation about their brand and business opportunities and engage with stakeholders in transparent and courageous dialogue resulting in mutual gain.