Teen-targeted companies need PR boost for causes

BOSTON: Teens favor companies that align themselves with causes, but believe that most are not doing enough to support the causes they care about.

BOSTON: Teens favor companies that align themselves with causes, but believe that most are not doing enough to support the causes they care about.

BOSTON: Teens favor companies that align themselves with causes,

but believe that most are not doing enough to support the causes they

care about.



This was a key finding of the 1999 Cone/Roper Cause-Related Teen Survey,

which bolsters the notion that cause-related marketing can influence

buying habits and gain adolescent loyalty and trust. The study was

conducted via America Online between August 5 and 17, and consisted of

more than 600 online interviews with teenagers aged 12 to 17.



’All the research we had on cause marketing was for adults aged 18 and

older,’ said Cone CEO Carol Cone, whose agency has been involved with

cause programming since 1993. ’With the so-called generation Y

reportedly being more socially responsible and volunteering more than

past generations, we decided it was about time to create a baseline and

a benchmark.’



According to the survey, 67% of teens are shopping with a cause in mind

during the back-to-school season. Over half of survey respondents said

that when price and quality are equal, they would switch brands and/or

retailers to another that is associated with a good cause.



’This sends an important message to companies about how teens will be

making their buying decisions,’ said Cone. ’The price of entry into the

marketplace is a quality product, a fair price and good customer

service, which all of the leaders in their categories have. The question

becomes, how can you tap into the customer in a relevant way?’



Eighty-nine percent of teens said they value companies that support

causes they care about, while 78% claim they have purchased a product

that helped benefit a cause. And if a company is involved in

cause-related activities, almost all respondents - 90% - want to know

about it.



Despite this, over two-thirds of the teens surveyed said that companies

are not doing enough to help combat the issues they are concerned with,

including violence in schools, drugs, crime and AIDS.



Cone pointed to several companies (some represented by her agency) that

she believes have established highly effective cause-marketing

programs.



Levi Strauss is communicating its commitment to AIDS awareness through

PSAs and by teaming up with partners such as MTV. Jane Cosmetics donates

profits from a special shade of makeup to selected causes such as

Artists Against Racism.



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