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A Season of Cause Marketing on Facebook, Twitter

  |  November 22, 2011   |  Comments

Social media propels brand goodwill efforts.

charity22The 2011 holiday season promises to be chock full of cause marketing efforts. Pepto-Bismol, Dos Equis, Coke, Pepsi, Arby's, Guess, Groupon, and Kohl's are among numerous companies augmenting their campaigns with charitable elements, in part to capture the year-end giving spirit. All are using social media as an accelerator.

"Brands really started incorporating cause into their marketing five to six years ago," Elizabeth Ming, spokesperson at Proctor & Gamble, told ClickZ News. "Now there's so much potential with social media, goodwill campaigns have picked up even more."

P&G's Pepto-Bismol brand last week launched a Facebook-Twitter initiative to help feed underprivileged people during Thanksgiving. For every Facebook like and Twitter re-tweet, Pepto pledged to donate up to 2.1 million meals.

Dos Equis Runs Campaign for Wombats

Even "The Most Interesting Man In The World", Dos Equis' five-year-old brand character, has also gotten into the philanthropic act. Dos Equis is donating all proceeds from a fun eBay auction to The Wombat Foundation, an org dedicated to saving the northern hairy-nosed wombat species from extinction.

Ebay viewers can bid on a jar of jam put together by the so-called Most Interesting Man In The World character. The jam is a concoction of grasshoppers in Thai herbs, Cuban oregano and gold, as well as apples, sugar and apple cider vinegar. The first three ingredients were selected from around 3,000 comments posted on Dos Equis’ Facebook page.

Consumers increasingly expect as much substance as style from companies, Paul Smailes, senior brand manager for Dos Equis, told ClickZ News. Social media channels are good avenues to meet the public's expectations, he said, as they pertain to brands giving back to the community.

"Additionally, the ability to engage consumers via social media for charitable campaigns represents the first time cause marketing hasn’t been inextricably linked to product purchasing," Smailes explained. "You don’t need to buy a product to get a code, then log on to a website to donate $1. In many cases, you need only to re-tweet a message or 'like' a Facebook page. Social media is enabling cause marketing to be about the cause, not just the marketing."

Coke's Promoted Trend Ad Aims to Help Polar Bears

Here are some other goodwill marketing efforts running on social media channels:

- Coke purchased Monday's Promoted Trend on Twitter, using "#ArticHome" hash-tag copy to push the nonprofit World Wildlife Fund. The social ad costs $120,000 per day, according to Twitter. Viewers who clicked Coke's promo saw the following copy on the landing page: Let's help create a safe haven for polar bears! Join us on the virtual ice at #ArcticHome to explore the 3D tundra. http://t.co/Pm9U9WHW. Clicking the shortened link takes users to a one-minute YouTube video briefly examining the plight of the polar bears. Coke has often used animated images of the Artic-dwelling bears in its ad creative in recent years.

- Pepsi has partnered with 7-11 in an effort where 5 cents will be donated to hunger relief org Feeding America whenever a 20-ounce bottle of the cola is purchased at one of the convenience stores. The donation will be doubled when a consumer checks in on their mobile phone via Facebook Places or Foursquare.

- Kohl's is running a holidays contest on Facebook, encouraging consumers to submit stories and pictures about why they enjoy giving gifts. The top three prizes include $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 donated in the winners' names to organizations such as Feeding America and Toys for Tots. The trio of tiered winners will also receive $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 in Kohl's gift cards.

- Guess has recently used its Twitter account push its "Love" bracelets, which retail at $30. The jeans brand is donating $20 of each sale to Save The Children, an org that supports children affected by the drought in East Africa.

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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