Real Cause Marketing

sharon_macleodby Unilever’s Sharon MacLeod

Cause marketing usually annoys me.

Obviously my irritation is not based in a belief that brands should not benefit a cause. My life at Unilever has been all about great brands and great causes.

But consider those brands and causes for a moment.

When Dove launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004, first telling the world about its point of view on beauty and then creating the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, cause marketing was still in its infancy. But Dove was not an accidental tourist in the cause of real beauty. Dove has used “Real Women” in advertising for years. Ogilvy Toronto became experts at shooting ads with real women instead of professional actors long before we created Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.

Dove came to the campaign with a long record of celebrating real women who take great care of themselves with quality products and an equally long record of using straightforward, honest language. It was perfectly natural for Dove to teach girls about media literacy so they could understand the myths around beauty advertising and build positive self-esteem.
The pieces all fit together with who Dove had always been.

Similarly Becel has always been a leader in heart-healthy living; it is a low-in-saturated-fats and trans-fat-free margarine. It is no surprise that Becel is recognized by the Heart and Stroke Foundation as a Heart Healthy product and it’s perfectly natural for Becel to be a part of the Ride for Heart. It’s who Becel is.

Or consider Hellmann’s commitment to the Real Food movement. Hellmann’s is made of eggs, oil and vinegar. Food doesn’t get more real than that. Local foods, urban gardens, real food and Hellmann’s are a perfect fit.

For each of these brands, the attachment to a great cause is more than a matter of convenience. The brand and the cause are intrinsically linked. No other brand could do what your brand is doing for the cause.

This is the first essential ingredient in cause marketing done well: a natural fit between the cause and the brand.

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