Consumers want brands that support great causes and nonprofits want access to the vast budgets of brands. Cause marketing can create partnerships where everyone benefits.
Brands that support a cause can see powerful results. In January, Gillette released an ad rallying against “toxic masculinity”—namely bullying and sexual harassment—that drew both praise and calls for boycott. Whether consumers loved or hated Gillette’s ad, it drew 65.4 million views on digital platforms within the first two weeks. Procter & Gamble Vice Chairman-CFO Jon Moeller told investors that Gillette has been “pleased with the level of consumption;” large viewing numbers seemed to translate to sales.
But was Gillette’s ad truly cause marketing—an attempt to use its brand to bring attention and change to a social issue—or was it simply a public relations gimmick? The ad certainly had potential to help a cause beyond a donation, says Cody Damon, co-founder of social impact and nonprofit marketing agency Media Cause, but Gillette didn’t give viewers a next action. Instead, the ad sent people to a landing page that featured an application for nonprofits to receive a $1 million donation from Gillette. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America will be the first nonprofit to receive the donation.
“It’s a great message that was pulled off and executed well—it created a conversation,” Damon says. “But when we get to that landing page that Gillette was sending people to from the ad, there’s not a lot to do. That’s where organizations that are more focused on community and keeping folks engaged do a better job.”