I’m sure you are aware of the fact that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s interesting to see how much awareness the consumer goods companies have taken in this as a marketing ploy since I started writing about cause marketing packages a couple of years ago.
This week, I received no less than five press releases about pink product packaging coinciding with the Susan Komen Race For The Cure and breast cancer awareness month. It ran from cereal to pasta. This is a far cry from the marketers a few years ago. As it turns out, many new companies are jumping on the “cause marketing” bandwagon in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by offering products in pink packages.
Right now breast cancer is the most popular female issue used in “cause” marketing. It is closely identified with marketing to women, the 80+% purchaser and decision maker of all consumer goods categories. So companies are thinking that pink is a win-win with female audiences. Yoplait, as well as Campbells Soup, has been supporting breast cancer for a number of years.
But let’s look at this a little more closely. It is important to recognize the fact that not all women are swayed by supporting a cause in their purchasing decision. It’s more complicated than just slapping a new (pink) label on the package or putting products in pink boxes. You have to connect with her in a meaningful way too. If she is not convinced about the validity of the product, then putting it in a pink package will not sway her either.
I am not sure how much each CPG company is donating to the cause but this presents a great opportunity for “cause marketing” through product packaging. You can capitalize through product packaging on other causes too. In fact, you can create ongoing cause marketing campaigns throughout the year with a little creative license.
A word of caution be sure and consider this.
There are two sides to this issue;
1) Companies that really believe in supporting the cause for which they are endorsing who develop pink products in the case of supporting breast cancer,
2) Companies who are use a cause as a marketing gimmick to sell more product. In this case, many people question the amount of money that is actually donated. Is it insignificant compared to the profits made during a special cause marketing campaign? I think the issue revolves around the words “a portion of the profits” and that varies from company to company.
All of the companies have details on their web sites just how much is actually donated of its not on the packaging. If you don’t like what its says or supports don’t buy it!
But whatever your opinion — whether you are induced to make a purchase or to support a cause — packaging for cause marketing is here to stay. The question is can you make it profitable for your company to support this endeavor. Will your customer, the ultimate decision maker, look at your company in a favorable light or be turned off because they think you are out there to make a quick buck just because it’s a popular initiative at the moment? So think pink or not, be sure and understand how and why pink product packaging might impact the bottom line.
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