Rachael Chong, founder & CEO of soon-to-launch Catchafire, had an interesting column on The Huffington Post over the weekend, about cause marketing and its history, including a Q&A with Simon Isaacs, head of the cause-marketing division for ignition Inc. She first mentions a partnership with the March of Dimes and Marriot Corporation in 1976, the first cause-marketing campaign, but then goes on to question if cause marketing is just plain old marketing:
As a member of the Millennial Generation, cause-related marketing seems like plain ol' marketing to me. It's commonplace. I'd garner to say that most of us have worn pink ribbons in October to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign started by the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure in 1991; or we've sported the iconic yellow silicone wristband for the Lance Armstrong Foundation's LiveStrong campaign launched in 2004; and we've probably bought something from Product Red, a campaign launched in 2006, and most notably promoted by lead singer of U2, Bono, to help fight AIDS. But do most of us know what our easy support of these causes has contributed to? And maybe this is the more important question - do we truly care about where our money's going when we buy into a cause-related marketing campaign or is it just really good marketing?