Cause Marketing Challenge: The Boston Common

Dating from 1634, the Boston Common is one of the oldest city parks in the country. And like our national parks it's literally being loved to death and in desperate need of improvements and repairs.

Boston's ABC affiliate reported last week that there's a movement afoot to allow corporate sponsorships on the Common. Boston Parks and Recreation supports the idea as does the neighborhood group that supports the Boston Common and nearby Public Gardens.

"We have to find new ways to fund these projects," said Boston Parks Commissioner Toni Pollak.

But a key person doesn't share the common opinion: the Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino. He doesn't want the Common cluttered with cheesy banners and corporate logos. Neither do I. That's why I don't think corporate sponsorship is the right strategy for the Common.

I wonder if anyone has considered cause marketing?

Cause marketing would be a better alternative since most of the promotion would happen off the Common and not from signage on site.

But what would be the best cause marketing strategy?

  • Would you pool the Boston Common together with other city parks across the country and launch a cause marketing campaign similar to the ones we've seen for national parks?
  • Would you position the Boston Common as a national landmark similar to the Adams National Historical Park that Columbo Yogurt raised $100,000 for in 2003? I suggested a similar approach for Boston's Freedom Trail four years ago.
  • Or would you take a different approach and connect the Common to an issue like childhood obesity and city kids having green places to exercise and play and raise money that way?

How would you execute a cause marketing campaign for the Boston Common?

Let's come up with a couple great ideas together and I'll present them to hiz honor the Mayor myself!

[Update: Here's the email I sent to the City with our comments.]