Cause Marketing Pays Off For CPG Industry

by | Mar 3, 2008

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pur2.jpgNothing indicates the growing hold “ethical marketing” has on advertising better than the concept’s growing embrace by Procter & Gamble and Unilever, the world’s two biggest advertising spenders, AdAge reports. At least eight P&G brands have active ad campaigns touting CSR efforts.

Much of the CSR effort is because it’s getting impossible to attract or retain marketers without a solid reputation for ethical marketing. But there’s another reason – it works. ARSGreen says, for example, that green ads in the ARS database do about as well as others on recall and persuasion.

ARS has found that negative ads usually fare poorly in tests, but negative green ads generally do about average and green ads that offer solutions can sometimes score exceptionally well.

Overall, ARS research indicates that sustainability messages can sway about two-thirds of people.

Approximately 50 percent of U.S. consumers consider at least one sustainability factor in selecting consumer packaged goods items and choosing where to shop for those products, according to a survey conducted by Information Resources, Inc.

And 72 percent of consumers say that they have purchased a brand because it supports a cause they believe in, according to the 2007 PR Week / Barkley Cause Survey.

Nearly 80 percent of America agrees that “it is important for companies not just to be profitable, but to be mindful of their impact on the environment and society,” according to the Natural Marketing Institute’s 2007 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database.

Some 85 percent of consumers around the world are willing to change the brands they buy or their consumption habits to make tomorrow’s world a better place, and over half (55%) would help a brand “promote” a product if a good cause were behind it.

Still, more than a few companies have encountered serious pitfalls in marketing themselves as greener or green. In fact, a recent study found that of 1,018 common consumer products ranging from toothpaste to caulking to shampoo to printers, randomly surveyed, 99 percent were guilty of greenwashing.

To make matters worse, seven in ten Americans either “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that when companies call a product “green” (meaning better for the environment), it is usually just a “marketing tactic,” according to a recent survey.

Regardless of this, sustainability initiatives are taking on greater urgency for consumer products companies as consumers, retailers, NGOs, and their own employees push for an increased focus on environmental and social issues, according to AMR Researches John Davies.

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