'Cosmopolitan' launches first Facebook app in cause campaign

NEW YORK: Hearst's 'Cosmopolitan' title launched its first Facebook app October 26, which tasks participants with sharing and passing along "small acts of kindness."

NEW YORK: Hearst's Cosmopolitan title launched its first Facebook app October 26, which tasked participants with sharing and passing along “small acts of kindness.” The “Cosmo Karma Project” allows users to post good deeds, such as volunteering or donating money to a cause, and the results are aggregated on the dedicated page, as well as posted to participants' news feeds on Facebook. It is themed around breast cancer awareness.

A dedicated Twitter page was also developed for the social media initiative in order to “cross-promote and drive people from there to Facebook,” said Jason Cavallo, creative services director at Cosmopolitan.

The idea for the campaign came earlier in the year when negative talk about the recession seemed to be dominating the news, he said. “We started talking about bringing up spirits and mobilizing all these people and to give back to the community.”

The effort was developed in coordination with the publication's advertiser Estee Lauder, and it will run until January 31, 2010, Cavallo said. The magazine's internal marketing team came up with the idea, and then pitched it to advertisers with the plan to fill in the details around the sponsor's own CSR platform. Estee Lauder's Evelyn Lauder is the founder of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, so this cause initiative was themed around breast cancer awareness with the idea of keeping the discussion going beyond the traditional awareness month of October. The magazine plans to donate to the foundation as part of the effort, though it declined to disclose the amount.

Cosmopolitan's goal is to reach 30,000 “actions,” he said. It is also a business opportunity. The microsite for Cosmo Karma Project includes a subscription form, and the company is actively seeking additional sponsorship for future, similar projects, Cavallo said.

Though on launch day, there were less than two dozen actions posted to the Facebook page, and less than 100 people following the Twitter feed, Cavallo said he expects the app to take off “virally” given the more than 300,000 fans of Cosmopolitan's own Facebook page – the highest of Hearst's titles. He referred to the Cosmo audience, 18- to 34-year-old women, as social-media savvy.

Larkin/Volpatt Communications, AOR for Hearst Magazines digital media, is reaching out to trade publications, women's lifestyle, and online and social media outlets, about the effort.

The company is also considering taking out advertising on Facebook, and its editors and communications managers will blog and tweet about the initiative going forward. It is also advertising it through e-mail blasts to subscribers and in the October through January issues of the magazine.

“It's about the social networking audience and engaging them with the brand,” Cavallo said. “It's easy to participate in; for your everyday person to get involved.”

To entice participants beyond the feel-good effect, Cosmopolitan is offering a chance to win a spa weekend for two, along with Estée Lauder products.

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