Forget the celeb, support a cause

NEW YORK: Agencies planning a cause-marketing campaign should ditch the high-priced celebrity and get their employees out there supporting a timely issue.

NEW YORK: Agencies planning a cause-marketing campaign should ditch the high-priced celebrity and get their employees out there supporting a timely issue.

NEW YORK: Agencies planning a cause-marketing campaign should ditch

the high-priced celebrity and get their employees out there supporting a

timely issue.



That was the main finding of a study on corporate citizenship conducted

by Hill & Knowlton and research firm Yankelovich Partners.



When asked what influences them most in deciding whether or not a

company is a good ’corporate citizen,’ 42% of 1,000 respondents chose

’the cause itself,’ while 31% chose company employees or executives who

volunteer their time. But only 6% said a celebrity’s involvement was

crucial.



’Consumers expect corporations to be charitable but they want to see a

display of commitment to the project they’re in,’ said Judy Hamby,

director of H&K’s strategic philanthropy asset group. ’It can’t smack of

promotional opportunity.’



Added Yankelovich associate director Beverly Romanowski, ’Many people

think that celebrities can attract people to causes but consumers are

really looking at the cause and making their own decision.’



In forming opinions about corporations, Americans rely on the media

first (33%) - not surprising given that a PR firm commissioned the

study. Personal experience (17%) and word of mouth (15%) also factored

in, but paid advertising barely registered (4%).



Since the Internet was not included among the ’media,’ one has to wonder

how much of an impact online chat rooms and sites like The Drudge Report

have on people’s opinions. ’We didn’t ask that but it would be

interesting to include it next year,’ Hamby said.



One paradox revealed was that while respondents were more impressed when

corporations supported a variety of causes, they measured a

philanthropic program’s success on tangible results.



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