A 2010 study by Cone Communications, an agency that focuses on cause-related marketing, found that 41 percent of consumers had purchased a product within the last year because it was associated with a good cause, up from 20 percent in 1993. Cone also found that 80 percent of Americans were likely to switch to brands that supported a good cause.
Craig Bida, an executive vice president at Cone, said clients contemplating a cause-related marketing campaign often mention the Buckets for the Cure campaign with trepidation.
The Komen campaign “has become a teaching moment for cause marketers and for the corporate social responsibility space in general,” Mr. Bida said.
“The critique that was leveled was that eating fried chicken can make people obese, and that obesity has been linked to cancer,” he continued. “And it is an absolute delight for your critics if they can say you’re helping to create the problem you’re helping to solve.”
But Mr. Bida said the antihunger campaign reflected far more positively on the company. “This is a lasting commitment, and the United Nations World Food Program is a blue-chip partner in the space,” he said.
It also may better align the business and philanthropic interests of the company. “This is a company whose business mission it is to feed people, and here they’ve taken on a social mission to feed people, too,” Mr. Bida said.