Tips for Combining Marketing Messages with a Worthwhile Cause


“More brands are waking up to their social responsibility and doing good work through cause marketing campaigns. Yet too many still go about it the wrong way. I mean ‘wrong’ in two senses. Firstly, they are marketing ineffectively, and secondly, as a consequence, their positive social impact is not maximized.” Simon Mainwaring

I once worked for a business owner who had a favorite saying when something went wrong: “Every problem presents an opportunity.”

With the current coronavirus pandemic, I think it’s safe to say that there are plenty of problems to go around. But, if you subscribe to that business owner’s mantra, there are a proportionate number of opportunities as well.

Of course, I’m not referring to the nefarious scammers out there looking to take advantage of innocent and susceptible people during this time of crisis. They see opportunities too, but the opportunities they see are born of selfishness and are certainly not opportunities that a reasonable and caring person would look to exploit.

I’m talking about us, as copywriters, using our expertise and playing our part in helping businesses market their products and services in a way that benefits the business, their patrons, and a designated cause.

Cause marketing is a mutually beneficial partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit.

For example, given the rate at which stores are selling out of toilet paper during the current crisis, one of the world’s largest toilet paper producers, Cottonelle, delivered a direct message to ease consumers’ concerns and discourage panic buying. The brand urged people to, “Stock up on generosity,” and simultaneously launched a campaign called #ShareASquare, in partnership with United Way.

The brand pledged $1 million and one million rolls of toilet paper to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. And for everyone who uses the hashtag #ShareASquare, the brand will donate an additional $1 up to $100K.

Now that is marketing for a cause!

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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