45 Companies Share a Simple Message with Consumers: Follow the Frog

I've been a fan of the Rainforest Alliance since their famous "Follow the Frog" video in 2012.

This year they're back with another video. It's not as good as last year's, but it's still fun and spot-on.

rainforest-alliance-certified-logoThe best thing about this campaign is that it's super-easy. Just follow the frog.

“The Rainforest Alliance’s little green frog is recognized by consumers worldwide as a symbol of sustainability and is an assurance that goods come from well-managed farms and forests that protect people, wildlife and the environment,” said Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance.

During Follow the Frog Week, the Alliance had more than 45 participating companies, including McDonald’s, Clif Bar, Reunion Island Coffee, Timothy’s and Best Western – encouraging consumers to support a healthy planet by looking for the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and Rainforest Alliance Verified mark when they shop and travel.

For example, McDonald's in Australia - not sure if this is true for stores in the U. S. - uses 100% Arabica coffee beans sourced only from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica. These beans meet the strict environmental and social standards set by the Rainforest Alliance.

Want to support a healthy environment? Follow the frog.

Related Pinterest Boards: #FWB40 - Watch-to-Give, Cause Marketing - Message Promotion

Shamrock Pinups Bring in the Gold for MDA

I started my fundraising career at the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 1993. In February, I'd load my car up with Shamrock pinups and delivering them to bars, restaurants, department stores and anywhere else that had customers and a cash register. At the end of March, I'd circle back around and collect the money. Even today, when Shamrock season rolls around I see all those pinups hanging in stores and I think: "Boy, lugging those pinups around was a lot of work!"

But they were also lucrative. I remember raising thousands of dollars in restaurants and bars that I never thought would raise a hundred bucks!

Today, Shamrocks are still surprising everyone and raising a lot of money. My jaw dropped last year when Lowe's Home Stores raised $7.6 million selling Shamrock pinups.

I wonder how they'll raise this year?

Shaw's Supermarket in Newtonville, MA always does a great job selling and displaying MDA Shamrocks.

I scanned this QR Code to see where it would take me. Note to MDA: I shouldn't have to guess where it will go!

Good start! The QR Code took me to a mobile page!

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Thanksgiving Cause Marketing - Pinterest Roundup

I might have been too busy on Halloween and Veterans Day cause marketing. Or I might have jumped ahead too soon to Christmas cause marketing, but I'll be honest: I didn't see a lot of Thanksgiving cause marketing this year. 

However, I do have some favorites from previous years, including the Hanes Sock Drive Mark Horvarth put together in Los Angeles last year. 

A local favorite for me here in Boston is Harpoon's Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale that supports local food banks.

You can check out the other promotions I found, both past and present, on my Thanksgiving cause marketing board on Pinterest. Also, read my post from last year: 6 Thanksgiving Cause Marketing Promotions I'm Thankful For.

Let me know if you have any additions to my board. You can use the hashtag #GiveThanksCM.

Veterans Day Cause Marketing - Pinterest Roundup

This past week HBO re-aired its miniseries The Pacific, which chronicles the U. S. fight against the Japanese during World War II. Some scenes are difficult to watch. The death, grief, hardship and fear these men endured would incapacitate most people. I'm sure I'd be rocking back and forth in a foxhole.

It's important for us to give thanks to all soldiers - living and dead - who defend our country. As a cause marketer, it's good to see so many companies stepping up to support our troops this Veterans Day.

Check out this Pinterest board of Veterans Day cause marketing. If you see any other promotions - local or national - send them along or use the hashtag#BizThxVets on Twitter and Pinterest.

Also, you can read this post I published on the For Momentum blog last week, Hurricane Sandy Photo Goes Viral, Honors Veterans While Companies Give Thanks.

Thank you, veterans!

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Screen shot 2012-11-10 at 1.46.03 PM

Will the Lincoln Movie Trailer, Cause Marketing, Help Obama Win?

Like most Democrats, I was disappointed with President Obama's performance during the debate last week. But I felt a lot better about his chances in November after I saw the two minute trailer for the new Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln. It aired right after the debate.

The trailer is powerful, and better than the first one released in early September. This second attempt, entitled Unite, focused on the tough decisions leaders have to make to bring about difficult but necessary change.

Spielberg has said that he's releasing the movie mid-November on purpose. He doesn't want to influence the election. But the Lincoln movie trailer will. Instead of giving us a two-hour plus historical drama to sip on, the trailer serves a pro-Obama shot straight up. 

The trailer has a compelling, modern tone. Troops in the Middle East and the missing Twin Towers are just two images injected into Lincoln's wartime world. The larger message is difficult times demand a strong and moral leader that will stay the course.

A bunch of things came to mind as I watched the trailer.

  • Entitled Unite, the trailer says "There are those who unite us." That was Obama's yet to be fulfilled promise to voters four years ago.
  • Lincoln freed the slaves, which set in motion the election of the first black president.
  • Lincoln was - and is in the trailer - a strong proponent of federal powers, which Obama shares and which contrasts sharply with Romney's refrain during the debate to "Let the states decide."
  • Lincoln had a tough fight for reelection but ultimately swayed voters that during difficult times it's best not to "change horses in midstream." Obama is trying to accomplish the same feat.

As Scott Feinberg noted in the Hollywood Reporter, "There are some clear parallels between Lincoln and another tall, lanky, and aloof lawyer from Illinois who pushed through controversial legislation."

You may think that most Jersey Shore watching Americans know very little about Lincoln. They may not know he was born in Kentucky, but they know and admire Honest Abe. In a 2011 Gallup poll of the greatest Presidents, Lincoln ranked ahead of modern presidents Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy and was second only to Ronald Reagan. Obama ranked 7th, right behind FDR.

I also think your average debate-watching American knows more about the Civil War, and the issues that led to it, than any other American war except World War II. In short, Lincoln will resonate with viewers and voters.

The day after the presidential debate I was speaking to a group in Denver and showed them the trailer. I asked if it helped either candidate. Almost everyone agreed that it was pro-Obama - although some gave Romney the nod as his party is (at least in name) the party of Lincoln.

Last night, Lincoln had its worldwide opening at the New York Film Festival. Tomorrow, Spielberg and the film's star, Daniel Day-Lewis, will participate in a live chat on the film.

The rest of us will have to wait until after the election to see the movie. But 37 million Americans watched the debate last week, after which the trailer aired. Who knows how many more times it will air during the three remaining debates.

Combined, the two Lincoln movie trailers have over six million views on Youtube and will get millions more before the election. That means a lot of voters will be drawing positive parallels between the two "uniters," Lincoln and Obama.

Come election day, Americans will recall their greatest Republican president and re-elect a Democrat.  

What My 14-Year-Old Brother Taught Me About Cause Marketing

This is a guest post from Erin Palmer. Erin is a writer and editor for the University Alliance. She writes about nonprofit and public sector topics relevant to Villanova University’s Master of Public Administration degree.  The areas covered in the MPA curriculum help improve nonprofit management. 

Teenagers can be pretty apathetic. Adults may blame it on the technology that teens have grown up with, but I don’t think that's it. Honestly, it seems as if every generation complains about their crop of teenagers. I don’t believe that teenagers are uncaring about the world. When you’re a teenager, it feels as if you and your friends are the world.

So when my 14-year-old brother told me about a local teenager named Katie that got into a serious car accident, he looked like the world was caving in around him. He was upset and scared, but most of all he cared. He wanted to help.

Get people to care

Cause marketing is about getting people to care. When people care, they will want to donate their money. They will want to spread the word to others. In order to get people to help, first and foremost you must first get them to care.

Get creative

My brother isn’t the only teenager who was moved to action after Katie's accident. Her friends started a website to raise awareness and money for her. They sell “Go Katie” bracelets and “Pray for Katie” car decals to help with the costs of her medical care. The dance studio that Katie attended sold the bracelets during intermission of its annual dance recital. Katie’s friends even got Tyce Diorio, a frequent judge on the show So You Think You Can Dance to record a message for Katie.

Get the word out

Teenagers also are experts at spreading the word. If they see something they like, they share it. They want all of their friends to see it, all of their family to see it, and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. They will post it on Twitter and share it on Facebook, but they will also talk about it. They will tell their loved ones to check it out. Cause marketing is more than just creating a Facebook strategy. If you want people to get involved, talk to them - both on and offline.

Don’t give up

One of the most impressive parts of Katie’s story is how resilient these teenagers are. They were frightened, but they didn’t wallow in fear. They harnessed their feelings into action. Cause marketing isn’t just about making people feel. You have to get them to take that feeling and do something with it.

In a couple weeks my brother will be a freshman in high school. He hasn’t chosen a career or a college. Despite his youth, he’s shown me the best example of effective cause marketing. Effective cause marketing is about getting others to care, using creative means to get their help and spreading the word to as many people as possible.

My brother didn’t just teach me a lesson about cause marketing. He taught me that the next generation of causes is already in good hands.