Cause-related marketing seen as cynical in wake of Diana tragedy

Most people feel that companies are cynically “cashing in” on public sympathy through cause-related marketing, according to new Mintel research exclusive to Marketing Week.

The report reveals that 60 per cent of the 1,492 adults questioned held this negative attitude, although Mintel notes that this could be linked to the recent death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and news reports about Diana merchandise.

National Lottery operator Camelot emerges as the UK business most readily associated with giving to charity, though almost one-third of consumers cannot name any cause-related marketing schemes.

The report shows that 28 per cent of the respondents linked Camelot with good causes. It is followed by Virgin with 23 per cent, and the Body Shop with 20 per cent.

However, 32 per cent of consumers are unaware of any major cause-related marketing scheme.

Tesco’s long-running Computer for Schools scheme has the highest level of prompted awareness, followed by Andrex and its link with Guide Dogs for the Blind – scoring 46 per cent and 38 per cent respectively. Twenty-four per cent take part in the Tesco scheme and ten per cent in the Andrex/Guide Dogs link.

Consumers are non-committal about such schemes, with 58 per cent saying they “would probably” buy a product that supported a good cause. Forty-five per cent say they “would probably” be willing to pay extra for goods which backed a charity.

Cancer charities are considered the most appealing, cited by 60 per cent of respondents. Lower down the list come heritage charities, such as the National Trust – Britain’s biggest charity – which is 14th.

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