Cause Marketing – Coming to an advertisement near you!

The US has led many social media marketing innovations such as location based advertising through sites like Foursquare and group buying made popular by Groupon. Historically, in the UK we have only adopted these new advertising channels once they have been tried and tested. This is not a bad strategy and it can help us to predict what the next marketing movement will be.

So what other marketing ideas can we expect from across the Atlantic?

Cause marketing may be a term that is unfamiliar to many UK marketers but perhaps not for long. In recent years companies in the US have embraced marketing campaigns that combine their brand and a philanthropic goal.

For years many companies in the UK have been donating time and money to charities and non-profit organisations but very few have managed to effectively combine their good deeds with marketing their business.

This is where more and more US companies are succeeding and is why the term “Cause marketing” and the campaigns it describes is something all marketers should research further.

One of the most high profile cause marketing campaigns in recent times is the Pepsi Refresh Project. In December  2009 Pepsi announced that they would be ending their long standing relationship with the Superbowl and pull their legendary half-time advertising slot. Instead, with the $20 million saved, they set up the Refresh Project which encouraged people to submit their ideas to Pepsi for ways to refresh their communities, making the world a better place. To date over $20m grant money has been awarded.

It was a shrewd move from Pepsi and cause marketing has since gone from strength to strength. The reasons why are simple;

  • Consumers like brands that are socially conscious and engage with them on issues they care about.
  • Charities and non-profit organisations benefit from increased exposure and funding.
  • Brands benefit from an improved reputation and increased sales.


The Edelman Good Purpose Study 2010 is a global consumer survey that reinforces why Cause marketing will be increasingly important in the marketing industry.

  • 86% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests.
  • 62% of consumers would switch brands if a different brand of similar quality supported a good cause.
  • 62% are more likely to recommend a brand that supports a good cause than one that doesn’t.
  • 61% would help a brand to promote their products or services if there is a good cause behind them.
  • 65% have more trust in a brand that is ethically and socially responsible.
  • 64% believe it is no longer enough for corporations to give money; they must integrate good causes into their everyday business.
  • 61% of consumers have a better opinion of corporations that integrate good causes into business, regardless of why they do so.


Cause marketing is seemingly crossing the Atlantic on a pedalo but when it does finally arrive within the mainstream of UK marketing then it will certainly be something that consumers, charities and businesses will benefit from.

Written by James Hay, Social Media Coordinator at Fasthosts Internet Ltd.

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