Why is Pepsi giving away $20 million? Because its good for business. Eileen OBrien explores how pharma can make the most of cause marketing
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 US general election.
The Project allows consumers to apply for grants online and the ideas with the most votes each month get funded.
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 and nearly one-in-five consumers (19%) would be willing to purchase a more expensive brand.
Pharmaceutical companies have also partnered with nonprofits to improve reputation.
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 US in 2009, the Diabetes Handprint project has been 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 ones 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 in need with diabetes.
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 NORDs Rare Disease Day website (http://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.
My colleague, Pam Todd, wrote about Bayer and the National Coalition for Womens Heart Health. (For more on cause marketing and corporate social responsibility, see GSKs approach to corporate social responsibility, Compliance and the corporate brand, and Mals Musings: Its time for pharma to get serious about CSR.)
Im sure there are other great examples of pharma collaborating with nonprofits around a cause. Do you have any to share?
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