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Why is Pepsi Giving Away $20M? The Value of Cause Marketing

Posted by | 1:49pm on Thursday, January 13, 2011
image of a heart

Pharmaceutical companies have also partnered with nonprofits to improve reputation. 

In 2010, consumers cast 61 million votes in the Pepsi Refresh Project. To put that into perspective, there were approximately 89 million votes in the U.S. general election. The Project allows consumers to apply for grants online and the ideas with the most votes each month get funded. Coincidentally, in January there are three rare disease nonprofits in the Pepsi Refresh Project that deserve your vote: National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), Jacob’s Cure and Cure San Filippo.

Cause Marketing is Effective
The 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study found that 41% of Americans said they have purchased a product in the past year because it was associated with a social or environmental cause, a two-fold increase since Cone first began measuring in 1993.

The survey found when a company supports a cause:
• 61% of Americans say they would be willing to try a new brand or one unfamiliar to them.
• Nearly one-in-five consumers (19%) would be willing to purchase a more expensive brand.

Pharma Cause Marketing
Pharmaceutical companies have also partnered with nonprofits to improve reputation. They have partnered with Trust Agents to help reach their target audience.

Manny Hernandez of the Diabetes Hands Foundation (the nonprofit that runs TuDiabetes.org) has been very successful in this type of collaboration. It started in July 2007 asking people with diabetes to send in a photo showing one word written on their hand about diabetes. “We wanted to empower people touched by diabetes to express themselves and let the world know what it is like to have diabetes,” Hernandez wrote on TuDiabetes. The Word in Your Hand campaign was so successful that the idea was licensed to LifeScan, the makers of the OneTouch glucose meters. They launched the Global Diabetes Handprint project inspired by it. The company donated $5 to one of three diabetes charities for every hand photo that was contributed. Since it was first launched in the U.S. in 2009, the Diabetes Handprint project was effectively replicated in Australia and is about to be launched in Mexico.

Another project led by Diabetes Hands Foundation was the Big Blue Test program on World Diabetes Day in 2009. The concept behind it was simple: to test one’s blood sugar, exercise 14 minutes, test again and share the result. The project was successful,  so in 2010 the Foundation collaborated with other groups and reached out to Roche Diabetes Care (makers of ACCU-CHEK® diabetes products and services), to underwrite the production of a video to promote the initiative. The goal was a minimum of 100,000 views of its video. To help reach this goal, Roche made a donation for every view the video received up to $75,000. These funds were received by Diabetes Hands Foundation, resulting in two equal-sized grants given to Life For a Child and Insulin For Life, two humanitarian diabetes programs that provide life-saving diabetes supplies and insulin to children with diabetes in need. (Thanks to Manny for responding to my email to ensure I got all these details right.)

Lundbeck Supports Rare Disease Research
Lundbeck Inc introduced the Raise Your Hand to Fight Rare Diseases campaign in February 2010 in recognition of World Rare Disease Day. The web-based initiative was designed to generate support for people with rare disorders and engage the community in raising awareness and research support. In response to individuals clicking an icon on NORD’s Rare Disease Day website (www.rarediseaseday.us), Lundbeck made a donation to a general research fund managed by NORD. During the 21-day campaign, more than 4,100 people clicked the icon and hundreds encouraged others to participate in Rare Disease Day by sharing the information through Facebook and Twitter.

The $10,000 donated helped to fund a research grant for Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare acquired neurological disorder, recently awarded to Eric Lancaster, MD, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania. Lundbeck will soon be launching the 2011 Raise Your Hand to Fight Rare Diseases initiative.

My colleague, Pam Todd, wrote about Bayer and the National Coalition for Women’s Heart Health. I’m sure there are other great examples of pharma collaborating with nonprofits around a cause. Do you have any to share?

(Image courtesy of Q Thomas Bower on Flickr.)

About Eileen O'Brien

Eileen has more than 16 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media and biopharma, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications.

View other posts from Eileen

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