My Three All-Time Favorite Cause Marketing Promotions

This time of year I’m busy writing my Top 10 Cause Marketing Promotions of 2014, which will be live on my blog next week. Putting it all together is a lot of work, but I’m not complaining. It’s a great chance to review past campaigns and see all the wonderful promotions I’ve written about through the years.

Here are three I admire the most!

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Photo courtesy of Dickies

Year it Appeared: 2010

Program: Dickies/The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit

Location: Detroit, MI

Details: Work apparel maker Dickies program for the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is a great example of product cause marketing. They donated 5,000 pants to the Army with the promise to donate an additional pair for each 874 sold for a total potential donation of 10,000 pants.

Why it’s one of my faves: Cause marketing programs don’t always have to involve cash (although Dickies generously donated $25,000 alongside its product donation). Companies need to think creatively about how they work with nonprofits so everyone wins. That includes donating product when it’s needed and available.

For More Information: All Cause Marketing is Not Gold

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Photo courtesy of the author (that’s my reflection in the window!)

Year it Appeared: 2011

Program: PUMA Runs Wicked Far for Soles4Souls

Location: Boston, MA

Details: The weekend of the Boston Marathon the PUMA store on Newbury Street put a treadmill in its front window on which passerbys could run a mile a two. For every mile logged PUMA donated a pair of shoes to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that provides shoes to poor people around the globe.

Why it’s one of my faves: While this promotion was created by an international footwear company, it shows just how easily cause marketing can be executed in just one store. If you run a bakery you can sell a special cupcake to benefit a cause. If you run a hair salon you have a cut-a-thon. And if you sell running shoes you can set up a treadmill on which visitors can run a mile or two to support a cause. You don’t have to be big to be bold!

For More Information: Puma Runs Wicked Far with Marathon Cause Marketing

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Photo courtesy of Mark Horvath

Year it Appeared: 2012, 2013

Program: #HanesForGood

Location: Various

Details: Over the holidays, Hanes, America’s No. 1 sock brand, donated socks to various Salvation Army locations across the country. Hanes has worked in partnership with the Salvation Army and with homeless advocate Mark Horvath. As the founder of Invisible People, an advocacy group for the homeless, Horvath has worked with Hanes for three years to raise awareness of homelessness in America.

Why it’s one of my favorites: First, socks are one of the most needed but least donated items in shelters. 500,000 socks from Hanes will have a big impact. Second, this isn’t a one-time donation from Hanes. They’ve been donating socks since 2009. Third, #HanesForGood involves one of the best advocates for the homeless in the country, Mark Horvath of Whenever Mark is involved you know something good will happen!

For More Information: I Hope You Get Socks for Christmas

Mark’s work with Hanes and the Salvation Army continues to this very day. The picture above is from earlier this month. To date, Mark, Hanes and the Salvation Army have distributed 1.5 million pairs of socks!

Joe Waters blogs at