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
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
’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
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.