4 Videos That Get Cause Marketing Right

Businesses can benefit by allying with charities, and contributor Kelsey Libert explains the right way to go about this.

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4 Videos That Get Cause Marketing Right

“We’re in business to help improve lives.”

If you hadn’t heard of TOMS, you might find this an unlikely slogan for a trendy shoe and apparel company. But I’m betting that you’re familiar with the company and the concept that has made it memorable: to help one person in need for every product purchased.

The company’s “One for One” mantra has resonated with consumers, and the cause marketing success story earned TOMS a $625M valuation when Bain acquired 50% of the company in August 2014.

There’s a reason that products like TOMS can charge slightly more than competitors and remain successful. It’s the same reason that checkout charities in eBay, WalMart, McDonald’s, and other retailers raised more than $358M in 2012.

Customers are eager to feel that their shopping habits are doing more than just fulfilling material needs; when all that’s required is a few extra dollars or a different brand choice, they’re willing to spend in a way that supports causes they care about.

Causes aren’t limited to charities; several recent marketing success stories have revolved around championing values that contribute to a vision of a better world. In order for cause marketing to be effective for your brand, there are four key elements to consider:


The cause(s) your company champions must resonate with your mission. In the case of the Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign, which earned an astounding 64.9M views,

Unilever (Dove’s parent company) tapped into very personal feelings regarding beauty and how others see us.

These are both concepts that one might consider while engaged in the intimate act of using a body soap. By opening an emotional and relevant conversation in a positive way, the campaign successfully related self-esteem to its brand values.


To persuade people to care about your cause or values, you must explain the need for their concern in an emotionally engaging way. A successful marketing campaign must employ a narrative that powerfully shares the impact that a purchase will make.

In its new Christmas Wishes video, eBay established a need, showed how the company can be part of the solution, and captured the joy and gratification that comes from helping others.

By sharing this experience with consumers via video, eBay created a memorable moment that makes viewers feel good and connect their purchase with supporting a cause.


Finding a way to make your values relatable is fundamental to the success of a cause marketing campaign. Life insurance is generally not an industry that conjures feelings of goodwill or a path to happiness.

Yet Thai Life Insurance overcame the stigma of cold, corporate financial policies by tapping into basic, everyday choices about living a better life in its Unsung Hero video.

A translation of the caption says, “This clip is not the answer. But it could be a starting point for you to do something …To find the answer yourself.” The mission of improving ourselves and the world around us is a value with which nearly everyone can identify.


Even companies that have niche audiences – sports and outdoor enthusiasts, in the case of GoPro – can create widely appealing, emotional stories that highlight the good that their products can be part of.

By promoting a video of a fireman resuscitating a kitten, GoPro offered a vision of challenge and triumph that reached beyond the typical athletic market.

Finding the inspirational hook in a story can be a compelling way to engage both your traditional and new audiences, empowering them to imagine ways in which they can share, support, or participate in your values through their purchases.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Kelsey Libert
Kelsey Libert is a public speaker, Harvard Business Review columnist, and VP of Marketing at Frac.tl, a company that specializes in the science behind viral marketing.

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