cause marketing

12 Best Cause Marketing Campaigns – 2022 Roundup

Advertisers and marketers across the world are constantly trying to find new ways to show how a brand is up to date, educated and sensitive, all whilst standing out from the crowd.

Cause-related marketing has become a way for brands to show how they align with social values in a variety of ways.

What is Cause Related Marketing?  

Cause marketing aims to raise awareness and funds for non-profits and worthy causes whilst simultaneously driving business. By championing a cause for good, brands can expand their reach while generating positive sentiment with consumers.  

Part of the reason cause marketing has gained popularity is that most consumers can see the benefit such campaigns are bringing to the charities they support. However, while cause marketing campaigns may mean a short-term hit to profits for one product, for example, the net gain they offer brands often outweighs any sacrifice on their part. 

Many brands have benefitted from cause marketing over the years, developing memorable campaigns that aid very worthy causes. In 2020-21, mainstream cause marketing campaigns were largely dominated by the Coronavirus outbreak. Companies of all kinds have found creative ways to help those in need all over the globe. 

Below we outline some recent, well-known cause marketing campaigns…

1. McCain’s – Little Moments

McCain’s “Little Moments” is an ongoing awareness campaign which plays on meaningful everyday moments. Working with families who have neurodivergent, disabled or chronically ill children, the adverts discuss how the little moments often mean the most to families where children struggle more than their peers. In partnership with the Family Fund, which offers grants and financial support to families raising disabled or seriously ill children, the campaign involves a series of nationwide, televised adverts that captured the essence of family time.

2. Starbucks – #whatsyourname

Back in 2012, Starbucks began writing customer names on cups, which later became a staple for the global coffee brand. Although a small gesture, naming customer cups creates a warm welcome, recognising and accepting that, as Starbucks says in its advert, “every name’s a story”.

Starbucks has always been on a first-name basis with its customers. But, in support of the transgender charity, Mermaids, the coffee chain wanted to reinforce its values of inclusivity one cup of coffee at a time and show the impact that a chosen name can have on a non-binary or transgender young person. The advert shows the moment a transgender boy gets to put his name on a cup, rather than legally be forced to use their ‘deadname’, the term given to a trans person’s previous name if they choose to change it.

3. Gillette – The Best Men Can Be

Revising their old slogan – “the best a man can get” – Gillette decided to modernise their appeal to men across the globe in a new campaign. Challenging male stereotypes and the notion of toxic masculinity, Gillette’s new slogan asks men to become their best versions, and hold other men accountable.

As part of this campaign, Gillette distributed $1 million (for three consecutive years) to charities that demonstrated impactful programs that helped men of all ages.

4. Intimina – The Wait

Intimina, a Swedish brand that offers intimate care products such as menstrual cups for menstruators, created a campaign called The Wait, highlighting the time it takes to diagnose endometriosis. In the campaign, they invited eight-year-olds to tell the stories of women who are waiting for a diagnosis, as eight years is the average length of time it takes to diagnose endometriosis.

It talks about the pain experienced, the disbelief of medical professionals and the wait before finally getting a diagnosis.

5. Gillette & Football Beyond Borders – Made of What Matters Campaign 

Shaving firm Gillette and brand ambassador and footballer, Raheem Sterling, have partnered up with Football Beyond Borders, a charity focused on supporting education and social inclusion through football.

Together, with their ‘Made of What Matters’ campaign, the team hoped to bring attention to the ways in which football can support young people in society, through a series of films.

The thought-provoking films share wholesome messages about the importance of good role models, being proud of who you are and where you’re from, and never excluding anyone. For every view the films receive, Gillette has pledged to make a donation to Football Beyond Borders. Find out more about the Made of What Matters campaign.

6. M&S & Macmillan Big Coffee Morning

2022 marks the 13th year of this cause marketing campaign, in which M&S and Macmillan Cancer Support strive to raise money and awareness for those affected by cancer.

Hosted every September, the Coffee Morning campaign is marketed to encourage people to socialise together over coffee and cake while donating a few pennies or pounds to the charity.

As well as raising money in-store, M&S also stock a range of supporting products, including a Macmillan-themed Colin the Caterpillar cake. These products have a 10% Macmillan donation. Discover how M&S supports the Macmillan Coffee Morning.

7. Virgin Atlantic’s Gender Identity Policy Change

At the end of September, Virgin Atlantic released a new gender identity and uniform policy, removing the requirement for gendered uniforms. To announce the change, Michelle Visage, a well-known figurehead in the LGBTQIA+ world and judge of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, was the face of the campaign, along with non-binary and transgender activists and influencers.

Jamie Forsstroem, Cabin Crew at Virgin Atlantic commented: “The updated gender identity policy is so important to me. As a non-binary person, it allows me to be myself at work and have the choice in what uniform I wear.”

8. Ventilator Challenge UK 

More than twenty UK companies in the engineering, technology and industrial sectors have collaborated to work on Ventilator Challenge UK. This initiative was created to design, manufacture, and test medical ventilators for distribution throughout the UK, to help fight the effects of Coronavirus.  

Participants include Airbus, Dell, DHL, Ford, McLaren, Microsoft, Rolls Royce, Siemens, and Unilever among others, demonstrating the effectiveness of collaboration during this time. Learn more about Ventilator Challenge UK.

9. Cadbury’s – Donate Your Words 

This campaign was started pre-coronavirus outbreak and remains to be as important and impactful as ever.  

In an effort to fight loneliness among the elderly, Cadbury’s have collaborated with Age UK to highlight the need for people to reach out and communicate.  

Cadbury’s removed the wording from the front of their packaging, and donated 30 pence of every bar sold to the charity. 

Find out more about the Age UK and Cadbury’s Donate Your Words campaign.

10. Decathlon – Ventilator Masks 

Sports equipment company Decathlon were approached by ISSINOVA – the Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems, an independent Italian research institute, for help in the creation of ventilator masks at the beginning of the pandemic.  

Recognising that Decathlon’s snorkelling Easybreath mask had the necessary features for a ventilator, medics at the institute requested CAD drawings from Decathlon to understand its features. They then developed an additional valve which could be made with a 3D printer, which, when combined with the rest of the snorkelling mask, make it suitable for ventilators. 

Find out more about Decathlon’s ventilator masks.

Is Cause Marketing Worth It?  

Cause-related marketing needs to capture everything your audience holds dear and create genuine social impact. Do it well and your business will benefit from the increase in brand equity. Recent studies revealed that 74% of young consumers prefer to shop with companies that align with their values.

But you have to do it right. When it comes to social issues, consumer preference is very strong. According to Edelman’s 2018 Earned Brand Study, 64% of consumers choose, switch, avoid or boycott brands based on their stand on societal issues. 

For businesses who want to embark on a cause marketing campaign, you need to weigh up the cost of execution against the risk of alienating your audience. 

Choose your cause wisely. Listen to your audience. Invest the money and the time your cause deserves. 

Consumers want to see positive change in the world. We’re all being encouraged to come together and build a better world. Cause marketing has a powerful role to play in galvanising this desire and leading the change. 

For advice on how to incorporate cause marketing into your larger marketing strategy, get in touch with the experts at MRS today. We stay abreast of all the changes and developments in digital marketing and work closely with our clients to grow their businesses using the methods that work.

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