Cause marketing was on the rise prior to the pandemic, as consumers increased their expectations for brand transparency, sustainability, fair treatment, and standing up for their beliefs — but in a post-pandemic world, that’s only more true. According to Refuel’s Cause Explorer Series, consumers are both more likely to support your brand if it supports a cause, and more likely to stop purchasing from your brand if they suspect you aren’t living up to their standards. If you’re wondering, “What is cause marketing?”, you can take a look at our post here — but here are a few of the best cause marketing examples from brands that got it just right.
What is Cause Marketing?
Cause marketing involves the collaboration between a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization for a common benefit. Cause advertising can also refer to social responsibility or charitable campaigns taken on by for-profit brands. The benefits of cause marketing strategy include brand loyalty from your customers and raised awareness for a cause.
At Refuel Agency, we’ve been executing impactful cause marketing campaigns with nonprofits and brands for over 30 years, educating and involving the niche audiences we deliver. Cause marketing is here to stay. Here are a few of our favorite cause-related marketing examples:
Lyft - “LyftUp | Access to Rides for Essential Workers”
The pandemic launched an explosion of cause marketing initiatives as brands sought to leverage their existing products and services to help vulnerable populations, essential workers, and their communities. Lyft, partnering with Bread of Life, is an example of a brand that successfully used their existing platform to give back by providing access to rides for essential workers.
FDA - “The Real Cost”
After launching the first iteration of “The Real Cost” campaign against tobacco, the FDA sought to expand their message to teens to include the dangers of e-cigarette use and vaping. With Refuel as a partner, they launched “The Real Cost of Vaping”, which targeted teens through Refuel’s extensive in-school out-of-home network. This guerilla/postering marketing campaign was deployed in high schools nationwide, using strategic placements and teen-centric language. The campaign garnered 761M+ impressions in over 10,000 high schools nationwide.
Read next: “The Real Cost” of Vaping Case Study
Kenneth Cole - “Tied with Pride”
Kenneth Cole has a number of equality and social justice initiatives, including their Tied with Pride campaign. This campaign couples a line of rainbow-detailed Pride clothing with a fundraiser and an extensive digital and social campaign. The ad began with an introduction by each cast member, and them saying in turn, “Whatever our differences, we’re proud of who we are — and we’re Tied with Pride.” Then, the music picks up and shows off each member showing off their Kenneth Cole Pride-themed shoes.
This campaign is right in line with Kenneth Cole’s mission — to “Look Good, For Good”. Kenneth Cole’s website states that, “For over 35 years, in conjunction with the Kenneth Cole Foundation, we have sought to make a meaningful difference in our community and our business with a focus on Public Health and Civil Liberties”. The campaign worked because it was authentic.
Red Nose Day + Walgreens
Walgreen partnered with Red Nose Day in raising money for children in poverty by offering the iconic red noses for purchase during the annual 6-week campaign, with all proceeds going directly to the foundation. Customers are encouraged to take pictures and wear them to other Red Nose Day fundraising events.
This campaign works because it leverages the power of influencer marketing, the virality of social media marketing, and the draw of experiential marketing to generate large-scale public awareness.
Mythical Kitchen - “Leftovers Challenge”
In this cause-related marketing campaign, Josh Scherer, a “FoodTuber” that hosts the Mythical Kitchen channel, teamed up with multiple food channel hosts to introduce the #LeftoversChallenge. The campaign supported the Restaurants Workers Community Foundation, an organization that advocates for hospitable and fair treatment within the restaurant industry and that has supported restaurant workers for the duration of the pandemic.
The campaign asked hosts’ audiences to create unique meals from their leftovers, and then to share them on social media with the hashtag #LeftoversChallenge. The YouTube hosts also provided donation links in each of their videos, encouraging their subscribers to donate to the organization.