Fri, March 16 2007

Seeing RED, Part 3

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Cause-related marketing •

As an update to my post on the RED and anti-RED campaigns, I wanted to provide links to the latest debate.

Bobby Shriver wrote this letter to AdAge, in response to their story characterizing the RED campaign as a disappointment.  Meanwhile, TIME picked up on the AdAge story here.  The RED Blog has also responded.  And, finally, the anti-RED campaign has posted a mission statement on their site.  They’ve also responded to Bobby Shriver’s letter here (you have to register to see this).

The mission of BUY (LESS) on an individual level is to provide a means for people to donate directly to charity, to remind them that this is the most efficient way to support a cause, and to inspire less consumption overall. On a policy level, our mission is to raise causumer awareness and provoke public discussion—resulting in explicit transparency standards, the adoption of best practices for all cause-related marketing efforts, and leading to greater causumer confidence and more assured revenue streams for charity.

Nope, that’s not a typo.  BUY (LESS) is seeking to coin the word “causumer” to mean people who “look at how their purchases effect not just themselves, but the world around them,” Ben Davis of the anti-RED campaign says.  I think the word is interesting, but it’s an odd match with the site, which is postioned as anti-cause-related-marketing and really, anti-causumerism (though they say that’s not the case, that’s what comes across to me).

I think the issue has been covered exhaustively at this point, but if you are contemplating causerism, so to speak, here are some tips:

1.) Check out Cause Marketing Forum.
2.) You might want to think about Buy (LESS)‘s idea of printing on price tags how much of the price of a product goes to charity.  At any rate, be as transparent as possible.
3.) Be sure you align the message, cause and products to the same audience.  The more targeted the audience, as always, the better.
4.) Segment your audiences.  There are givers and shoppers out there, and some overlap.  Offer many different ways to support your organization, based on your audiences’ desires.  I agree with Buy (LESS)‘s recommendation to put direct donation links on cause-related marketing sites so people have that option if they want it.  I recommend tracking the total collective donations too through any links for further transparency. 
5.) Have a plan for following up with people who buy stuff.  Reach out and cultivate relationships with them and the cause after they buy (a smart thought from the Spare Change blog.)

[Note: this entry edited to add links to Buy (LESS)‘s letter and recommendations.]

 

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