Tipping Point 2.0: ‘Good’ Business = Big Business

Cause-related PR is on the verge of exploding.   

For years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts have been handled by small, sometimes one-person staffs.  As consumers reacted positively to companies that did good deeds, CSR gained increasing credibility as it expanded from corporate philanthropy to a new marketing tool.  Rob Densen wrote a thoughtful guest post recently on CSR (he calls it “Cause Commerce”), and today Deron Triff, CEO of Changents, provides the following curtain raiser for what we might expect in the next generation of CSR.  Deron’s post bodes well for future jobs to support innovative CSR and sustainability programs.   

      Deron Triff

The Super Bowl… the world’s most famous advertising bullhorn.  Shelling out $2.6 million for a :30 second pop this year, corporations haven’t blinked at the opportunity since Super Bowl I in 1967.  However, with the economy in the doldrums and 95 million Americans ages 18-35 facing a collision of social and environmental issues standing between them and the future they desire, Pepsi has turned its back on half-time sophomoric humor to sell a can of soda.  Instead, the company is investing $20 million to build a global community to support projects that make our world healthier, greener, smarter and better.

Say what?

Yup.  If the Pepsi Refresh Project is successful, perhaps more advertisers will not only think twice about traditional media mega-platforms like the Super Bowl, but also about how “good” business can be big business.  With an estimated $1.5 billion invested last year in cause campaigns by companies seeking to convince consumers of their pro-social bona fides, Pepsi’s “no thanks” to Super Bowl XLIV may just be the tipping point that cause-wired new media pundits have been predicting.

Let’s be clear, though.  Corporations embracing cause is not the headline here.  Ho-hum cause marketing campaigns have been around for decades as corporations partnered with high profile non-profits to win customer kudos and to raise money for pet charities along the way.  

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