Kelloggs’ Fields Grrreat Cause

To earn a return on your cause marketing efforts, you must spread the word. It helps you and it helps the cause. It’s not a case of bragging. If you do good — share it. No one expects marketers to be shy — good corporate citizens maybe, but not self-effacing saints.

Earlier this year, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes used the Super Bowl to tell their cause marketing story, which is about as big a stage as one can find, featuring a TV spot for its “Earn Your Stripes” campaign.

The Earn Your Stripes campaign, first launched in 2004, according the website, “Aims to inspire kids to work hard, eat right and believe in themselves in order to achieve their goals and “be their very best” on and off the playing field.” The “Plant a Seed” spot which aired on the Superbowl, provides a warm-hearted look at how athletics help kids grow both physically and emotionally, thus rationalizing its effort to renovate playing fields. At the end of the spot, Kellogg’s invites viewers to nominate local playing fields for renovation at

On this site, visitors are encouraged to “earn your stripes” by taking these four steps:
• PLANT A SEED. Nominate a field in your community.
• NURTURE IT. Show support for fields across the country.
• HELP IT GROW. Create your own seed packs and spread the word.

According to a spokesperson for Kellogg, “[they] are fully committed to supporting programs that encourage kids to be active and that have a positive impact in [their] communities.” & Frosted Flakes enjoyed a substantial boost in traffic to its websites immediately after the Super Bowl. As you can see from this chart courtesy of, traffic tripled and continued to be strong long after the Super Bowl. In the three months since, an amazing 3,184 fields have been nominated.

Visitors are encouraged to email their friends about the contest, and since Frosted Flakes allows the consumer to vote on the nominees to select the 100 semi-finalists, there is a strong viral effect to this campaign. Kellogg’s also supported this effort with a major search buy to help steer interested parties to the Frosted Flakes site.

Because Kelloggs shared their story offline and online, they have ensured that a broad swath of consumers were made aware of the Frosted Flakes “Plant a Seed” program and had an opportunity to participate. Now that’s grrrreat.

Brita Pours on the Goodness

I recently completed a brilliant (says me) speech on Cause Marketing that was recorded for release later this year. In the course of my research, I found a number examples of cause marketing that are worth sharing in bite sized blog chunks.

Brita has found a highly relevant cause with its Filter for Good program. While transparently self-serving, this program promotes the environmentally friendly case against drinking bottled water. The Filter For website encourages consumers to “pledge” to drink less bottled water, noting that one Brita pitcher filter can effectively replace as many as 300 standard 16.9-ounce bottles.  (Feel free to take “the pledge” like I did–it’s a quick and does make you think about buying less bottled water.)

On the site you can find out about all the layers of the program, including the recent Brita Climate Ride and The College FilterForGood Eco-Challenge, that solicited eco-friendly ideas from universities and from which Brita was so overwhelmed by good proposals that they elected to fund 5 of them.   The relevance of this effort is irrefutable, providing Brita a pure and simple way to do well by doing good

This example shows how Marketing for Good and Marketing as Service can overlap, as the cause is the service. From where I sit, its all good.

Packaged Good

Add this one to your lexicon of “new” marketing approaches–“purpose-based marketing.” Somewhere between Marketing for Good and Marketing as Service, this one is being touted by former P&G CMO Jim Stengel which helps explain why it was prominently featured in last week’s Wall St. Journal:

Starting Monday, the 25-year P&G veteran is opening Jim Stengel LLC, which will try to persuade companies to buy into a newfangled way of selling. It’s called “purpose-based marketing,” which Mr. Stengel says is about defining what a company does — beyond making money — and how it can make its customers’ lives better.

I am truly excited to see someone as prominent as Mr. Stengel endorse what for traditional marketers like P&G would have been considered a radical approach just a couple of years ago:

The well-known adman maintains that the idea of “purpose” isn’t just the latest cooked-up marketing-speak. He says dozens of companies and brands have used this approach. He points to P&G’s Pampers brand, which several years ago decided it had a higher purpose: helping moms develop healthy, happy babies, rather than just keeping babies’ bottoms dry.

So I write this open letter:

Dear Mr. Stengel:

If you have a spare minute, we should talk. I’ve been gathering cases that support your thesis for the last 4 years and have no doubt what you say is true. More importantly, while having a purpose-based strategy provides a solid foundation, you still need an agency that can create a transformative 360° experience–an agency like Renegade.

Finally, as a fellow punster, I love the title of your upcoming book, Packaged Good, and can’t wait to read it.



CEO, Renegade

Good is in the Can for Pringles

In the world of extruded potatoes, it is often difficult to find genuine goodness. Here’s how Pringles is attempting to bridge that gap, as reported by BRANDWEEK‘s Elaine Wong:

Beginning this week, consumers can go to to play with its new “Can Creator.” The application allows users to design and print their own creations, which they can then tape onto their Pringles can.

For every can created, parent company Procter & Gamble will donate $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network (up to $20,000). The campaign runs through June.

Up to $20,000? Come on P&G, with $265 million in sales for Pringles alone, surely you can do better than that. Are we really supposed to prefer Pringles given such a modest charitable commitment? While I’m sure the Children’s Miracle Network isn’t complaining, this is the perfect time to step up and make a sincere commitment. I’d propose donating up to $1.0 million and shame the rest of the marketing world into doing good on a grand scale.

Would such a grand commitment be good for Pringle’s sales? You bet. More from the BRANDWEEK article:

The 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study found that 79% of consumers said they would switch brands (provided price and quality were equal) to the one that is associated with a good cause. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they have a more positive image of a company when it supports a cause that is dear to them. And 38% have purchased a product associated with a cause in the last year.

I’m all for doing well by doing good. Just make sure your commitment is clear and sincere, otherwise there will be no pop in your sales.

Time for Good

As the markets retreat and marketers regroup, non-profit organizations, especially New York-based ones, are sure to feel the pinch. The Wall St. Journal reported on this last week:

Officials at charities are trying to devise creative ways to stand out. They are making urgent appeals through direct-mail and email campaigns and taking to the airwaves. Charities also are gearing up to tap their wealthy board members and other well-off supporters for extra cash. If they fail, charities may have to cut staff or seek loans.

As I’ve noted before, brave marketers will dig deep and keep investing in their marketing for good activities. These commitments don’t have to only be in cash. Marketers like Home Depot have learned that they can make a huge impact on their local communities by donating the time and expertise of their employees. Here’s an inspiring example followed by a happy video that should cheer you up:

On Friday, August 22nd, 2008 volunteers from WNY AmeriCorps, Home Depot, and Hands On Greater Buffalo came together to revitalize the outdoor space in front of the Henry J. Kalfas Magnet School in Niagara Falls. Projects included planting a new garden in place of dead or obtrusive plants, installing paver blocks on either side of the walkway, building two benches, and painting the flagpole. A community cookout following the project welcomed local citizens to become invested in their school. Watch the video of the project day below!

Batting for Mom

Lots of companies use cause marketing like a magic bat with which they hope to get a quick hit. The commitment from the sponsor is obviously insincere and ends after one at bat, a strike out with both consumers and the cause they supported. Marketers who support a cause should do so because they believe it is the right thing to do and plan on staying in the batter’s box season after season.

Major League Baseball has made this kind of commitment to Breast Cancer and is doing so in quite an innovative way. Here’s a bit about their program this year from MediaPost:

Major League Baseball launched a Mother’s Day campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. A full-page print ad ran in USA Today on May 9 depicting a flower made from pink baseball bats. “This Mother’s Day, give more than just flowers,” says the ad urging baseball fans to support the Susan G. Komen For The Cure foundation by attending MLB games on Mother’s Day, or by watching MLB games on TBS and ESPN. Special pink baseball bats were available for purchase at the stadiums and MLB will donate $10 to the Susan G. Komen fund for every bat sold.

I know this is at least the second time around the bases for this effort by the MLB. And as far as I’m concerned, this cause marketing program is a hit. It’s good for Susan G. Komen since it raises awareness and money (the pink bats are auctioned off). It’s good for MLB because it brings a little good will into an arena of otherwise self-obsessed, absurdly-paid and questionably-muscled athletes. And its good for the baseball fan–I for one found the whole idea of these macho athletes swinging pink bats both hilarious and touching–reminding us all that these players have moms too.