How Corporations Co-Opt Compassion: Compliance, Cause-Related Marketing, and Corporate Social Responsibility

By Mara Einstein

Cause marketing has become the go-to strategy for companies that want to engender consumer loyalty while differentiating themselves from the competition. While these campaigns raise some funding and help to increase awareness of important social issues, they are not as positive as they market themselves to be. Alternatively, social innovation—a strategy that embeds “doing good” into the workings of a corporation—is recommended as a means to increase social good while delivering ROI.

Beyoncé appears on the TV screen in a beautifully shot black-and-white commercial, reminiscent of 1980s Bruce Weber/Calvin Klein advertising. First, we see a pair of five-inch black stilettos as she walks into frame. Then, the camera pans up her body as she kneels on an empty sound stage with a stark white backdrop. Dressed in a plain white T-shirt and jeans, she speaks directly and earnestly into the camera.

Beyoncé is not announcing her latest concert or her newest album. She is there to demonstrate her commitment to feeding the hungry by teaming up with General Mills’ Hamburger Helper to launch “Show Your Helping Hand” (SYHH), a campaign that in conjunction with America’s leading hunger relief organization—Feeding America—proposed to deliver 3.5 million meals to food banks.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.