Editor’s Note: This post is part of a new series highlighting cause marketing campaigns from around the world called ‘Global Voices’ and brought to you by Your Public Interest Registry. We hope our team of international contributors will shed insights into cause marketing in their home country and inspire you to expand your own purpose-driven horizons.
The UK’s Marketing Society Awards for Excellence earlier this summer recognised innovative thinking in cause marketing across a range of categories. The winner of the ‘Marketing on a Shoestring’ award was The Depaul Box Company and their creative agency Publicis UK.
Depaul UK Boxes in Homelessness
Depaul UK is a relatively small British charity which provides emergency accommodation and longer term support to young homeless people. Facing an increasing demand for their services, yet lacking the budgets required for a mass marketing campaign, the eventual solution twinned creativity with a gap in the commercial marketplace to then deliver a new income stream for the charity – selling cardboard boxes to home movers.
Supporting insight was a combination of recognising that house movers might respond to the issue of homelessness with more empathy, along with the practical requirement of needing boxes to complete their move and the historical association of rough sleeping and cardboard boxes. Depaul UK therefore established a trading arm – the Depaul Box Company, to sell packages of boxes, the profits of which would then fund the provision of the charity’s services.
The Depaul Box Company was launched in Spring 2013 with gift in kind media space from national newspapers including The Guardian, The Independent and Metro and has been trading successfully since. The company has since also diversified into archive boxes.
A brilliant example of simple yet smart, issue-aligned marketing communications, delivering further benefits of sustainable income generation.
Paddy Power Kicks Homophobia Out of Football
Other award winners included bookmakers Paddy Power in the Cause Related Marketing category, for their campaign to kick homophobia out of football through their “Right behind gay footballers” campaign – a strapline which reflected Paddy Power’s cheeky brand positioning (as evidenced again with their World Cup deforestation stunt in partnership with Greenpeace – see below).
Working with equality charity Stonewall, the company provided footballers at 134 professional football clubs in the UK with rainbow coloured bootlaces to use in a sign of support for the campaign, which ran in September 2013.
The campaign generated significant support within the football community, involving 54 footballers, including campaign ambassador Joey Baton, who boasts 2.55m followers on Twitter.
The campaign provided rich content across social media channels, supported by an advertising campaign, PR and digital activity at a cost of £150,000. Over one week, it generated 400million media stories, with an estimated reach of 500million readers.
Public demand for the laces also exceeded expectations and resulted in Paddy Power ordering a further 10,000 to meet demand. The campaign gained traction beyond the football community, with actors, musicians and politicians showing their support for an issue that had long been considered a taboo within sporting circles.
More recently, Paddy Power teamed up with Greenpeace UK in a controversial move to highlight awareness of Amazonian deforestation with a Twitter stunt – #Shavetherainforest, causing a huge Twitter storm and media coverage on the World Cup opening weekend, before the company admitted it had all been well planned, deliberate hoax more here
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