The Staggmobile is on the road about 48 weeks out of the year, making stops at such events like hot-air balloon festivals and asparagus fairs.
But just two months ago, the Hormel Foods' marketing vehicle drove to the Shaqtacular, a charity carnival sponsored by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal. Held at Universal Studios in Hollywood, Calif., the Shaqtacular was organized by Athletes and Entertainers for Kids, a charity organization.
At the carnival, Staggmobile representatives handed out samples, coupons and T-shirts to promote Hormel's Stagg Chili.
While cause-related marketing is not the primary purpose of the Staggmobile, such events help generate good PR about the Hormel brand, said Larry Raskin, group product manager, grocery products, Hormel, Austin, Minn.
"People who attend these types of events are there because they feel an emotional connection to the cause. When Hormel goes there, these people also feel a connection to the brand," Raskin said.
Because of the numerous mobile-marketing programs in operation, it's often difficult for marketers to generate awareness of their own campaigns. But tying in with a charity helps to break out from the clutter, according to Jeff McAlpine, public relations manager, U.S. Marketing & Promotions, Torrance, Calif., Hormel's marketing agency of record.
Overall, events and sponsorships are an important part of manufacturer promotions. According to a Brand Marketing study, 92% of manufacturers reported using them over the last year.
When running such promotions, 78% of manufacturers choose those associated with a charity or cause, according to the study. Other popular options are events linked to sports and entertainment.
The Promotion Marketing Association, New York, has seen a rise in cause-related marketing. According to a study conducted last year, over 85% of marketers and 65% of nonprofit organizations reported participation in a partnership to raise money for a charitable cause.
But before a company gets involved in such promotions, it should do its homework to make sure the campaign fit with its brand, Claire Rosenzweig, executive director, PMA, told Brand Marketing.
If marketers are looking to run a true cause-related marketing campaign, the program has to make sense and be part of a thought-out plan.
"Companies should find causes that make sense," she said. "The values of both the company and the cause have to be in line."
That's not to say that companies can't help out in emergency situations, such as how many have done in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. Bailey's Irish Creme did just that with a concert series in Minneapolis. Just five days after the tragedy, it sponsored two fund-raising concerts. While the concerts had been scheduled prior to Sept. 11, organizers considered canceling them in light of the attacks. That's when it was decided to use the concerts as a way to help those affected by the tragedy.
At the concerts, stations sold the "Ribbon of Hope" and matched dollar for dollar all proceeds from those sales. A total of $162,000 was raised and donated to the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, according to Patrick Kane, senior vice president, corporate development, CRN International, Hamden, Conn., a radio marketing company that organized the event with two Minneapolis radio stations, KTCZ and KEEY.
Along with concert sponsorships like these, marketers can tie in with a host of other causes. For instance, in September, Unilever teamed with Albertson's supermarket for a bowl-a-thon for a home for battered children. At the event, a life-size version of Unilever's Snuggle bear, the icon for its Snuggle fabric conditioner, handed over a check for $25,000, which was a donation from both Unilever and Albertson's. The Snuggle bear was accompanied by an assistant who greeted and read books to the children in attendance. Unilever also handed out about 150 plush Snuggle bears to the children, according to Tammy Kucharski, senior project manager, client services, Sunflower Group, Overland Park, Kan., the promotion company that executed the event.