Cause Marketing Goes to the Movies

My team and I have had some luck working with movie theaters here in Boston. But we have yet to find the right partner to execute the large transactional cause marketing program that raises a lot of money. The movie theater cause marketing program of note in my city benefits The Jimmy Fund. It's been around since the late 1940's and last year it raised $530,000.

Ushers or volunteers collect the change and bills in canisters after moviegoers watch a short trailer on The Jimmy Fund's mission and services. They've had some moving trailers through the years.

This one is my favorite.

The Jimmy Fund program has been very successful, but coin canister programs aren't for everyone.

My friend Steve Drake recently passed along another movie theater cause marketing program that happens in his hometown of St. Louis.

Wehrenberg Theatres with 15 locations throughout the Midwest are supporting Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis through the purchase of Variety’s 2011 Gold Heart pin.

February 4 through March 31 moviegoers can purchase a pin for $3. When they buy the gold heart with any concession combo, they'll receive a free choice of Buncha CRUNCH™, Sno-Caps™, Kazoozles™, Chewy Spree™, or Chewy SweeTarts™. (Personally, I would go with the Sno-Caps.)

The tie-in with concessions is a smart one. The key, of course, is the ask at the counter. "Would you like to buy a Gold Heart pin for $3 to help Children's Charity? Buy it with a concession and you get one free."

Whatever they're doing at Wehrenberg Theaters, I hope they continue their work. Last year in just 15 theaters they sold 31,317 pins and raised $94,000. This year they hope to raise $100,000.

I often talk about retailers being great venues for transactional cause marketing because they have the secret sauce: lots of locations and lots of foot traffic. But so do movie theaters. You should give the ones in your area a call.

Have you seen other examples of cause marketing going to the movies in your community?