Top 10 Cause Marketing Campaigns of 2010?

2010 was a big year for cause marketing. More and more campaigns are springing up with new ideas for engaging participants and facilitating change. Which campaigns piqued your interest this past year? Ad Age compiled a list of their top ten favorites.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)
Advocates have done a fantastic job of pushing breast cancer awareness and support to the top of the growing heap of causes. Not many people fail to immediately connect throngs of walkers dressed in signature pink with breast cancer events. Link here.

Pepsi Refresh
In 2009, Pepsi passed on a Super Bowl ad in order to concentrate on launching this campaign. It invites people to post proposals for change in their communities and other users to vote on their ideas. Funds are awarded to the most popular proposals. In 2010, 7,000 projects garnered 51 million votes. 287 ideas from 203 cities and 42 states won $11.7 million. In 2011, Pepsi plans to expand its program’s reach to Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Dawn Saves Wildlife
This longstanding campaign is enough to make you believe in premonitions. Dawn was able to pull off a neat trick – parlay its product message into a cause slogan that has endured for over two decades. Many people may not remember the part Dawn played in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but Dawn was on the spot once again during the BP disaster and people were reminded how Dawn soap is tough on grease (oil) but gentle on hands and wildlife.

American Express
During the most materialistic time of year, Small Business Saturday captured the minds and hearts of consumers and carved out a profit for small businesses during the biggest holiday selling season since before the recession.

Pureit/Unilever Sustainability
Unilever aims to use Pureit to bring clean drinking water to 500 million people and make a profit. As ambitious as this goal is, it’s only part of their overall sustainability plan to halve environmental impact and double sales.

Boxtops for Education
General Mills continues to expand the scope of this long-running program each year. In 2010, it raised $49 million for U.S. schools.

Target (5%)
Target has been ahead of the cause marketing game for decades, donating 5% of its profits since 1946. Currently Target reports more than $3 million a week in donations from this program.

Proctor & Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water
Although the program has been in existence for six years, in August 2010, P & G turned to social media to help their cause. Each click on a widget equals one day of purified water. In just five months it has generated 50,000 days of water toward a goal of 100,000.

Prilosec’s Offical Sponsor of Everything You Do Without Heartburn
A smaller initiative than Pepsi Refresh, but along the same lines. 100 small ideas have been funded so far with budgets between $500 and $4000.

Walmart Fighting Hunger
Walmart pledged to give 2 billion dollars to food banks in funds, food or equipment by 2015.

So what do you think of the list? Do you agree with Ad Age’s picks, or do you have other ideas? Let us know your favorites from 2010. 2011 should be an interesting year – will these campaigns endure and what new ideas will gain popularity?

Andrea Newell has more than ten years of experience designing, developing and writing ERP e-learning materials for large corporations in several industries. She was a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a contract consultant for companies like IBM, BP, Marathon Oil, Pfizer, and Steelcase, among others. She is a writer and former editor at TriplePundit and a social media blog fellow at The Story of Stuff Project. She has contributed to In Good Company (Vault's CSR blog), Evolved Employer, The Glass Hammer, EcoLocalizer and CSRwire. She is a volunteer at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can reach her at and @anewell3p on Twitter.

One response

  1. I think the Pepsi Refresh initiative is great on multiple levels. While it encourages community members to actively pursue positive change around them – it creates a positive association between Pepsi and the communities it assists. It’s just a shame that its not a healthy product!

    Was also interesting to learn Target have dedicated 5% of profits to charity since 1946..

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