A Short History of Cause Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

American Express coined the term "Cause-Related Marketing" in 1983

American Express coined the term "Cause-Related Marketing" in 1983

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a huge history buff! I'll study just about any era or event, but I'm particularly interested in U. S. History during the 18th and 19th centuries.

As a cause marketer, I'm obviously interested in the history of cause marketing. I have a hypothesis that it all started in Boston (like all good things do), but I have yet to prove it!

What we do know is that cause marketing began in the 1970's when Bruce Burtch organized fundraisers between Marriott Corporation and the March of Dimes.

However, I've argued that cause marketing goes back a bit further to the start of the Jerry Lewis Telethon in the 1960's. Not only did Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association harness the power of television for good, but they were quick to involve companies in the show.

In this pre-internet age, television was the undisputed advertising king for companies, and executives were eager to appear with Lewis to present their "big checks."

A few of the key moments in cause marketing history include:

1983: American Express coins the term Cause-Related Marketing in a campaign to restore the Statue of Liberty. That same year Carol Cone (aka "The Mother of Cause Marketing") launched her first cause program!

2002: David Hessekiel starts the Cause Marketing Forum. The following year he honors top campaigns with Halo Awards.

2004: I published my first post on Selfish Giving. That same year, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital launches its successful Thanks and Giving cause marketing program. Coincidence? I think not. 

2006: TOMS Shoes and Product RED open shop.

There are plenty of other events in cause marketing history, many of which are not included in my infographic. But it's a start!

I hope you'll add this graphic to your web site, pinboard, etc. But please include a link back to my site. If you need any help just let me know.

I hope you enjoy the history lesson.

history of cause marketing