Dear Colleagues:

Companies get behind causes all of the time. Many get involved through the company's community relations department or through the corporate leadership's CSR goals. Others are promulgated through cause related marketing campaigns. These initiatives may set out to give back to the communities where they do business or show appreciation customer communities, and in other cases tie a brand to a great cause to motivate purchases.


These days with consumer interest so high in associating with brands and companies that are involved with doing good, how brands approach public education campaigns may affect how well they are perceived and how consumers and investors respond to them. In this issue of Marketing Coach, we share thoughts on factors that guide the consumer's consideration of such branded campaigns and share examples of AT&T, Sprint, Secret and Cartoon Network campaigns for you to review their approaches and develop your own opinion of their value to the company and public good.



In This Issue
Brand Building or Genuine CSR?
Don't Text and Drive!
Sprints Wireless Etiquette
Mean Stinks: Secret Anti-Bullying Campaign
Cartoon Network's Stop Bullying: Speak Up Campaign


Is this

a marketing campaign?


Is it a CSR initiative?


Do the lines blur?


Or does it matter?

Branding or Public Service?

Brand Building or Genuine CSR?

When we experience branded public education campaigns, marketers and consumer wonder about its motivation and authenticity. Those who follow or are driven by CSR and public service may quickly screen what they hear/see/read with a couple of questions to determine the campaign's merit. Is this a marketing campaign? Is it a CSR initiative? Do the lines blur? Or does it matter?


To engage on this topic, we will first lay out some of the factors that are relevant to how a public education campaign fits into a company's strategy and how it may be perceived by the marketplace. Then subsequent articles will provide case studies of a few such campaigns that have recently been in the market. We will not conclude the corporate objectives, rather leave that to our readers to share your thoughts about the merits and any concerns that marketers should be on the lookout for when putting such campaigns out in the marketplace.


Major factors that help us determine the nature of a campaign. Here are some of the screening questions we propose to help you figure out the brand's objectives and how you or the brand's consumers may want to approach the campaign:

  • Does it provide resources in the form of information, tools, documentation, etc. To help enable others to benefit?
  • Does the company each out to request collaborations and welcome their participation to promote the cause? Or is it a solo effort not welcoming other brands/companies?
  • Is a particular product closely associate or promoted or just the company brand? Is your support or interest in the cause tied to a purchase?
  • In the name of CSR, does the company created branded PSAs and get them placed in lieu of advertising expenses?
  • Is a celebrity spokesperson tied to the brand who might not otherwise because they are interested in the issue? Are they providing their time pro bono or are they paid?
  • Does the brand have a reputation issue or potential future liability that may interest the company in the cause to buy goodwill to potentially offset future difficulties? What does the brand stand to gain (directly or indirectly)?

Don't Text and Drive!

AT&T has committed to raising awareness regarding the dangers of texting behind the wheel. The company's CEO Randall Stephenson understands the critical role texting plays in communication and recognizes the necessity of staying connected, but decided it was equally important to send a vital message to discourage the increasing number of individuals texting and driving at the same time and emphasize the importance of keeping cell phone devices away when behind the wheel. Cathy Coughlin, senior executive vice president and global marketing officer for AT&T, had an "aha" moment when attending focus groups and asking to read a last text and ask if they could wait to respond or read that last text. Reading the texts aloud let people realize the insignificance of responding to a text instantly. AT&T's campaign was created to ensure consumers stay safe while using their technology.

  • The campaign message platform features simple messages such as "When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait" and "No text is worth dying for". The campaign takes a multi-media approach with digital and traditional advertising tactics, inducing:
  • A 10-minute documentary, "The Last Text" featuring families affected by accidents associated with texting and driving targets teenagers with distribution to schools nationwide
  • Public Service Announcements with high-profile spokespersons addressing adults and teens shown through traditional and digital media outlets
  • Communication with customers through bills, text messages and e-mails
  • Print, TV and online advertising
  • An online resource center "It Can Wait" which includes an advertising and educational toolkit for schools and companies to utilize
  • "No texting and driving" messages on the protective "clings" on the front of new devices sold in AT&T stores
  • An AT&T DriveMode mobile app ,which sends an automatic reply message telling the sender the receiver is driving and will text when it is safe or sends calls directly to voicemail

Sprints Wireless Etiquette

In an effort to promote general courtesy, Sprint has entered a multi-year agreement with Cine Media to urge people to turn off their cell phones and avoid texting in movie theaters. Sprint Media Director, Simon McPhillips, notes that movie theater audiences appreciate the reminder regarding proper cell phone usage. Both the company and the marketer of movie theater media packages find "that audiences are responsive to these messages." The campaign follows Sprint's previous campaign promoting the cell phone, the Instinct, from Samsung on National CineMedia's FirstLook digital pre-feature program.

  • Courtesy messages have played in theaters run by AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark Holdings Inc., and Regal Entertainment Group since October 2008
  • Online education and resources, such as tips on ways to use wireless devices effectively, promotion of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July and a podcast explaining proper wireless etiquette
  • Sponsorship of newly constructed "phone booths" at restaurants in the Atlanta-area to allow cell phone users to talk on their phones privately. These booths, intended to mimic historic phone booths, and offer privacy while also reducing the risk of disturbing others.

Mean Stinks: Secret Anti-Bullying Campaign

In order to help stop bullying, Secret has teamed up with Fox "Glee" star Amber Riley and Rachel Simmons, a nationally recognized relationship expert, to help combat the issues. P&G spokeswoman, Laura Brinker explains the motivation behind the campaign's name, Mean Stinkscenters on Secret's goal to stand "against things that stink, whether it's body odor or mean behavior like girl-to-girl bullying." The campaign looked at women aged 16 to 21 years and found that bullying goes beyond grade school and has been intensified through cyber bullying. Through a survey of 1000 women, Secret found that even women in college and the work place suffer from bullying. The campaign has generated significant success (sales increase (+9%) and market share (+.07) during the first half of 2011 when running) with raising awareness on bullying and has helped increase Secret's sales.


The campaign emphasizes its origins in the need to address the increasing need for young women to harness their strength and available resources to stop bullying. The Mean Stinks Facebook page has six-figure likes on Facebook and is geared primarily to women; it lists counseling centers, videos from Amber Riley, a store selling anti-bullying T-shirts and a section where women can upload apologies and complainants about bullying experiences

  • Utilizes a "Good Graffiti" app that passes positive messages
  • Secret's fan base on Facebook is growing faster than Old Spice and Axe even though it only sells deodorant and not body wash or hair products
  • A pledge to donate $1 to PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center through an iAd (Apple's mobile advertising network) for ever wallpaper downloaded when users see the Secret ad in apps they use

Cartoon Network's Stop Bullying: Speak Up Campaign

Cartoon Network aims to educate an empower children to stop and prevent acts of bullying. After conducting a poll of their youth viewers, they learned that topics children worried about included economic issues, war and bullying. Bullying was one of the worries children had that the Network felt they could actually help resolve.


With an increasing number of bystanders that witness bullying incidents each year in school, on the bus, on social media sites or on the playground, CN created a campaign targeting bullies, as well as bystanders of bullying incidents. The network brings significant efforts to the campaign throughout October, National Bullying Prevention Month. Cartoon Network's anti-bullying campaign consists of

  • A series of Public Service Announcements that raise awareness on the issue, encourage the social effort and point viewers to online resources
  • Collaboration with Simon and Schuster and Barns and Noble to reach more young educators, parents and students, and together they have created a list of resources online with videos, booklists and guides to prevent bullying
  • A Stop Bullying: Speak Up Social Pledge app with an interactive social media pledge that enables educators, parents and students to take a personal stance against bullying made available as an integrated campaign through Time Warner and Facebook broadcast, print, online and social media

Marketing Coach is a publication of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc.

ICCC helps companies build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market through

brand building, public relations and strategic communications.To find out how ICCC can

help you and your company build your reputation contact ivy@ivycohen.com,

call 212-399-0026 or visit www.ivycohen.com.


The brand case study articles in this issue were written by Nimerta Sandhu,
a sophomore at UC Berkeley who did an externship with Ivy Cohen
Corporate Communications in January 2012 and edited by Ivy.


Join our Mailing List I Twitter I Visit Our Website I Printable Version