By Rich Maiore, Vice President, For Momentum
We’re always monitoring the cause marketing landscape here. This summer, while it’s been easy to find numerous campaigns targeting women (Mollye highlighted some of them in her “Five Standout Mother’s Day Cause Campaigns” post), it’s been harder to locate campaigns geared toward men.
Several studies indicate men respond to cause just as favorably as women. They will reward companies that support causes in an authentic and impactful way. However, June, a month dedicated to improving men’s health and celebrating dear old dad, ended without a lot of fanfare. It’s been more than 20 years since Congress declared the month of June “Men’s Health Month,” and fathers everywhere—myself included—enjoyed cookouts and quality time with families on Father’s Day. Still, for a month dedicated to connecting men to important issues like health and wellness, community and family, I saw very few cause marketing campaigns directed to men. Let’s take a look at a few of them and see if there’s an opportunity for your organization to connect with cause-motivated men.
Giving Men a Chance to Show They’re True Blue
Men’s Health Network is the nonprofit organization behind Men’s Health Month. In June, they mobilized men and women around the #ShowUsYourBlue hashtag, which encouraged individuals and companies to post photos of people wearing blue to raise awareness of men’s health. The Wear BLUE website offers toolkits, printable posters and men’s health facts, making it easy for organizations to activate their employees and customers. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to raise awareness and money for research and education about men’s wellness and disease prevention.
Baseball fans may have seen some of their heroes, like Hall of Famer Joe Torre (featured in the above video), sporting blue to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer research. An estimated three million men are living with prostate cancer in the United States. Cause partners since 1996, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation teamed up on the Home Run Challenge, a campaign that gave fans an opportunity to pledge a dollar amount for each home run hit between June 13th and Father’s Day, June 19th. On June 20th, the Foundation announced that they’d had their best #HomeRunChallenge ever with 241 home runs. Fans still have a chance to support the cause by purchasing specially designed light blue Father’s Day merchandise in the MLB Shop.
Ties and Slices in Honor of Dad
In honor of Father’s Day, two corporations led cause programs to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Brooks Brothers, an iconic fashion brand with a largely male customer base, sold ties that were inspired by some of the patients’ artwork. Ten dollars from the purchase of each tie went to St. Jude’s. Brooks Brothers has been a longtime corporate partner, raising more than $12 million for the children’s research hospital since 2005.
Many families celebrate Father’s Day and Mother’s Day with a meal. That’s part of the reason that quick service restaurant chain Sbarro launched its #SlicesforHope campaign this year. On May 8 and June 19, Sbarro donated 50 cents for every slice sold at company-owned eateries to St. Jude. The Brooks Brothers and Sbarro Father’s Day campaigns offered customers fashionable and delicious ways to honor men’s devotion to kids’ causes.
Fall for Mustachioed, Millennial Men
Maybe it’s just a summer thing? Months ending in -ber usher in more cause marketing campaigns targeting men. One of the best examples is the month formerly known as November, when men stop shaving for 30 days to raise awareness of men’s health issues. According to its website, the Movember Foundation has raised more than $700 million and funded over “1,000 projects focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity” since 2003. Research suggests that the Movember campaign is so successful because it appeals to Millennial men’s need for facts and figures and entertainment. The Foundation releases report cards filled with proof-of-performance data and often engages this generation of men via social media—offering videos, photos, podcasts and a “Run Mo Run” game.
While a lot of brands and nonprofits are developing entire programs or movements for female consumers, few are fully integrating men into their marketing and communications plans. This is important because an increasingly cluttered cause marketplace offers little white space and opportunities for differentiation. So brands, here lies your opportunity: show the guys some love when it comes to cause! Email me if you’d like to brainstorm some ideas on how to do this within your organization.