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Cause Marketing - US - November 2014

“As partnering with a cause organization has become a standard marketing tactic, it has become increasingly difficult to stand out from competitors using cause marketing. Consumers have become skeptical of cause marketing and some brands have seen backlash from aligning with controversial causes.”

– Lauren Bonetto, Lifestyles & Leisure Analyst

This report covers the following issues:

  • Consumers question the true motives behind cause marketing
  • Some consumers are cause-fatigued
  • Taking a stance on controversial issues can result in backlash

Cause marketing has become so commonplace that simply aligning with a cause and making monetary donations is no longer enough to impress consumers. Campaigns must be genuine and innovative to make an impact. Some demographic groups are more receptive than others to cause marketing, such as Millennials and parents of children younger than 18. Companies must consider how they will overcome skepticism, cause-fatigue, and disinterest in their cause marketing initiatives.

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:
Cause marketing is when a company joins forces with a charity/nonprofit organization for a mutually beneficial outcome. Namely, the company benefits from being viewed as philanthropic and the charity benefits from increased attention to the cause it supports and often donations from the company and its customers.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Consumer qualitative research
              • Direct marketing creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                        • Cause marketing reaches more than 180 million
                          • Figure 1: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                        • Issues and insights
                          • Skepticism: motives for cause marketing campaigns often questioned
                            • Cause-fatigue: consumers overwhelmed by the many causes and calls to action
                              • Backlash: cause controversy can alienate some consumers
                                • The consumer
                                  • Children and generation strongly influence cause marketing attitudes
                                    • Figure 2: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision (frequently, occasionally), by presence of children in household and by generation, September 2014
                                  • About four in 10 buy products with cause marketing messages
                                    • Figure 3: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, September 2014
                                  • Millennials are more sleuthy
                                    • Figure 4: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, Millennials versus Baby Boomers, September 2014
                                  • TV commercials, product packaging, and in-store displays educate consumers
                                    • Figure 5: Top ways consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, September 2014
                                  • Half of consumers think companies should support health-related causes
                                    • Figure 6: Top causes consumers think companies should support, September 2014
                                  • Companies should align with causes that somehow related to their products
                                    • Less consensus among Millennials reflects diversity of the generation
                                      • Figure 7: Top causes consumers think companies should support, by generations, September 2014
                                    • Favorable opinions do not necessarily translate into brand loyalty
                                      • Figure 8: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Opinions of companies and loyalty, September 2014
                                    • Conflicted consumers
                                      • Consumers want companies to commit
                                        • Figure 9: Most appealing cause marketing strategies, September 2014
                                      • What we think
                                      • Issues and Insights

                                          • Consumers question the true motives behind cause marketing
                                            • The issues
                                              • The implications
                                                • Some consumers are cause-fatigued
                                                  • The issues
                                                    • The implications
                                                      • Taking a stance on controversial issues can result in backlash
                                                        • The issues
                                                          • The implications
                                                          • Trend Application

                                                              • Trend: Moral Brands
                                                                • Trend: Giving Back
                                                                  • Trend: Play Ethic
                                                                  • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                      • Certification program: Food Recovery Network
                                                                        • Design does double duty: Project Gregory
                                                                          • Figure 10: Project Gregory exterior and interior, 2014
                                                                        • Making the connection: LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace
                                                                          • One-for-one expansion: L. condoms
                                                                            • Figure 11: L. Condoms, TV ad, 2014
                                                                          • Taking the high road: Intel cuts conflict materials
                                                                            • Complete transparency: Zady
                                                                              • Managing donations and sharing the news: PlanG
                                                                                • Making the connection: Cake Fundraising
                                                                                  • Instant giving: SnapDonate
                                                                                  • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                    • Overview of the brand landscape
                                                                                      • Health-related campaigns
                                                                                        • Breast Cancer Awareness – Pink Ribbon Campaign
                                                                                          • Figure 12: Macy’s, Email ad, October 2014
                                                                                          • Figure 13: Loft, Email ad and landing page, October 2014
                                                                                          • Figure 14: Aerie, Email ad, October 2014
                                                                                          • Figure 15: Nine West, Landing page from email ad, October 2014
                                                                                          • Figure 16: General Motors, Direct mail, October 2014
                                                                                          • Figure 17: Clinique, Email ad, October 2014
                                                                                          • Figure 18: Avon, Email ad, October 2014
                                                                                        • Ebola outbreak spurs cause marketing efforts
                                                                                          • HIV/AIDS continues to draw support
                                                                                            • Figure 19: Bank of America, website screenshot, 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 20: MAC Cosmetics, online video, 2014
                                                                                          • Child welfare campaigns
                                                                                            • Food insecurity
                                                                                              • Figure 21: Plum Organics, Online video, 2013
                                                                                              • Figure 22: Plum Organics, Website screenshot – Memes, 2014
                                                                                            • Illness
                                                                                              • Figure 23: Buca di Beppo, Print ad, 2014
                                                                                            • Education/literacy campaigns
                                                                                                • Figure 24: Target, TV ad, 2014
                                                                                                • Figure 25: Target, Print ad, 2014
                                                                                              • Poverty/homelessness
                                                                                                • Figure 26: Hanes, TV ad, 2013
                                                                                              • Other interesting initiatives
                                                                                                • Walmart supports women-owned businesses
                                                                                                  • Walgreens opens training center for autistic workers
                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Have Dreams, Online video, 2013
                                                                                                  • Chicken of the Sea celebrates 100 years with Great American Gratitude Tour
                                                                                                    • Uber holiday promotions
                                                                                                    • Social Media

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Market overview
                                                                                                            • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Key performance indicators, selected causes, Oct. 6, 2013-Oct. 5, 2014
                                                                                                            • Brand usage and awareness
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Usage and awareness of causes, August 2014
                                                                                                            • Interaction with brands
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Interaction with causes, August 2014
                                                                                                            • Leading online campaigns
                                                                                                              • Social good + social gaming
                                                                                                                • Viral marketing
                                                                                                                  • Rewarding altruism
                                                                                                                    • Social media-thon
                                                                                                                      • #GivingTuesday
                                                                                                                        • What we think
                                                                                                                          • Online conversations
                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Selected disaster relief twitter mentions, November 2013
                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Online mentions, selected causes, Oct. 6, 2013-Oct. 5, 2014
                                                                                                                          • Where are people talking about causes online?
                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Mentions, by page type, selected causes, Oct. 6, 2013-Oct. 5, 2014
                                                                                                                        • Influence of Cause Marketing on Purchasing Decisions

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Three quarters of consumers are influenced by cause marketing
                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                              • Affluent households most likely to be influenced
                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                              • Presence of children strengthens influence of cause marketing
                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                              • Millennials most influenced by cause marketing
                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                            • Reactions to Cause Marketing

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Four in 10 consumers ignore cause marketing messages
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, September 2014
                                                                                                                                • Women more receptive to cause marketing
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                                                • Millennials are more sleuthy
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                              • How Consumers Learn About Cause Marketing

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Media marketing plays largest role in spreading the word
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, September 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Children influence how consumers learn about cause marketing
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Millennials more likely to learn from online sources, recommendations
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Causes Companies Should Support

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Health-related causes most important to consumers
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), September 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Insight: The diseases that kill Americans versus the ones they donate to
                                                                                                                                              • Gender does not sway support of gender equality, anti-bullying, LGBT rights
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Respondents with children support kid-related causes
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Less consensus among Millennials reflects diversity of the generation
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Less consensus among those who are most influenced by cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes – Positive Opinions and Cause Marketing

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Authenticity valued in cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                    • Insight: The tarnishing of the pink ribbon
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Positive, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Cause marketing more appealing to higher-income households
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Positive – Any agree, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Presence of children strongly influences attitudes toward cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Positive – Any agree, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Millennials more positive about cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Positive – Any agree, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes – Negative Opinions and Cause Marketing

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Consumers’ relationships with cause marketing is complex
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Negative, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • High-income consumers have mixed feelings about cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Negative – Any agree, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Parents also conflicted
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Negative – Any agree, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Millennials also more likely to have strong opinions – both positive and negative
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Any agree, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Changes in Behavior Around Cause Marketing

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • More than six in 10 say cause marketing influences their purchases
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Changes in behavior around cause marketing, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Higher-income respondents more likely to be doing some activities
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Respondents with children more likely to be doing nearly all activities
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Baby Boomers giving money, Millennials giving time
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Appeal of Various Cause Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Companies need to commit, regardless of consumers buying in
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Appeal of various cause marketing strategies, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • Respondents with children more interested in nearly all forms of cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • At least half of Millennials see appeal in all strategies evaluated
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                    • Non-Hispanic Whites are least likely to be influenced by cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Black and Asian respondents appear more engaged in cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Causes of choice differ slightly among Black, White respondents
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 66: Causes consumers think companies should support, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Blacks more positive, Asians and Hispanics appear conflicted
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Any agree, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appeal of top cause strategies similar regardless of race/Hispanic origin
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer Segmentation

                                                                                                                                                                      • Overview
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 69: Cause marketing cluster groups, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                                        • The Believers (27%)
                                                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Conflicted (38%)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Other Priorities (35%)
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 72: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 73: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 74: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Any agree, by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Strongly agree, by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 76: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 77: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (less), by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by cause marketing clusters, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Cause marketing clusters, by demographics, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Social Media

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Online conversations
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Online mentions, selected causes, Oct. 6, 2013-Oct. 5, 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brand usage or awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Brand usage or awareness, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 83: Health-related (eg Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The Movember Foundation) usage or awareness, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 84: Disaster relief (eg American Red Cross) usage or awareness, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 85: Animal welfare (eg The Humane Society of the United States, PETA) usage or awareness, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 86: Military/Veterans (eg The Wounded Warrior Project, (USO) United Service Organizations) usage or awareness, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 87: Self-acceptance and anti-bullying (eg The Trevor Project, GLAAD) usage or awareness, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 88: Child welfare (eg UNICEF) usage or awareness, by demographics, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Activities done
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 89: Activities done, August 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decisions
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 90: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 91: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 93: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by gender and age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 94: Influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Reactions to cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 95: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 96: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, by gender and age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 97: Reactions to cause marketing campaigns, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • How consumer learn about cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 98: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 99: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 100: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by gender and age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 101: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 102: How consumers learn about cause marketing campaigns, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Causes companies should support
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 103: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 104: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by gender and age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 105: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 106: Causes consumers think companies should support (top five), by reactions to cause marketing campaigns, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes toward cause marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 107: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Positive, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 108: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Negative, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 109: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Any agree, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 110: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Any agree, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 111: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Any agree, by gender and age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 112: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Any agree, by influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 113: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Strongly agree, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 114: Attitudes toward cause marketing – Strongly agree, by influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Changes in Philanthropic behavior
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 115: Changes in behavior around cause marketing – Rebased, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 116: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 117: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 118: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 119: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 120: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 121: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 122: Changes in behavior around cause marketing (more or about the same), by influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 123: Changes in behavior around cause marketing – Less, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 124: Changes in behavior around cause marketing – Any more or same use (more or about the same), by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 125: Changes in behavior around cause marketing – Any more or same use (more or about the same), by influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 126: Changes in behavior around cause marketing – Less, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Appeal of various cause marketing strategies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 127: Appeal of various cause marketing strategies, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 128: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 129: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 130: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by gender and age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 131: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 132: Any appeal of various cause marketing strategies, by influence of cause marketing on purchasing decision, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Cause Marketing - US - November 2014

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