Posts Tagged: Commercial Co-Ventures

Let’s Review Some Tricky Commercial Co-Venture Issues

From a quick Google search I see articles citing “at least 22” states have commercial co-venture laws; “over 30 states have laws governing commercial co-ventures”; “currently 27 states define ‘commercial co-venturer’ in their solicitation laws”; “about 20 states” have commercial co-venture laws.  You get the point.  This can be a tricky area of the law.  For the record, 23 states have specific statutes pertaining to commercial co-ventures/venturers and additionally, the Illinois “charitable trust” statutes would apply to commercial co-venturers.

Many of these commercial co-venture statutes are uniform in their definitions and applicability.  However, there are always grey areas where the practical doesn’t always fit with the statutory.  I’d like to review a few of these areas with questions frequently posed:

If we only ask consumers to “like” our Facebook page to trigger a donation to charity is that a commercial co-venture?

Perhaps in some states.  The vast majority of state statutes expressly require a purchase to trigger a donation.  But a few states (AL, MA and MS) have statutes drafted which could encompass non-purchase solicitations.  By their terms, these states’ laws would apply whenever a company “conducts, promotes, underwrites, or sponsors a sale, performance or event of any kind which is advertised and which will benefit to any extent a charity.”  See AL Code § 13A-9-70(A); Mass. L. ch. 68, § 18; Miss. Admin. Code 1-15-1.01. (more…)

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Giving Tuesday: An Opportunity to Market for a Cause

I’ll admit that I’ve been part of the people lining up in the wee hours of the morning waiting for the doors to open on Black Friday. I even (temporarily) lost my young son once even though I specifically instructed him to run toward the tv’s. Luckily, my wife chose to chase him as he ran to the video games, and it ended up a win-win when I got myself a huge flat screen at a great price. But I digress.

As you may or may not know, in 2012, to compete with the commercialism of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the NY 92nd Street Y teamed up with the United Nations Foundation to create #Giving Tuesday.

During the first year more than $10 million in online donations were processed and by 2015 this number increased to approximately $116 million. These numbers are pretty impressive given that according to a 2015 survey, only 18% of consumers were familiar with Giving Tuesday. While this new holiday has been specifically geared toward the charity’s online solicitation efforts, it appears to be an ideal vehicle for corporate giving through cause marketing campaigns. The statistics bear this out: (more…)

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I Wanna Help: Cause Marketing for Tragedies

A good brand’s reaction to any human tragedy is to try to find a way to help. Most recently, we have seen an outpouring of support for the Orlando victims, and we can recall the many millions of dollars raised for Katrina, Haiti, Sandy Hook, 9/11, among, unfortunately, many other devastating events.

Cause marketing may not be the most accurate term to describe a brand’s efforts to pitch in, but since these efforts can arguably come under this penumbra, here are a number of non-exclusive charitable ways a brand can support the victims of horrendous natural or man-made events. (more…)

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Cause Marketing Lessons from the Wounded Warrior Project Scandal

Your company just made a major announcement that it is partnering with a charity that you now find is involved in a scandal. What can you do?

The recent ousting of The Wounded Warriors Project CEO and COO amid allegations of lavish spending on travel, conferences and public relations requires a company to examine their cause marketing campaigns. While there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water – recent studies still confirm that consumers, and in particular Millennials, strongly support buying from companies associated with a cause* — picking the right charity is critical.

*For example, according to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average).” (more…)

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“All Profits to Charity” – How Much is That? A Brief Commercial Co-venture Lesson

You’ve heard this sales pitch before. Its cousins are “A percentage of proceeds to charity” and “A portion of the proceeds to charity”. Do you really know how much will be donated? The short answer is no. I’ve read estimates that net profits on a pizza pie are typically 4% to 8%, on new cars around 1-2%, and in the clothing industry profit margins range from 4% to 13%.  The Wall Street Journal has reported that McDonald’s makes 6 cents on a one-dollar hamburger. So if a brand tells you it’s giving “all of its profits to charity,” you need to know where’s the beef. (more…)

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Cause Marketing by the Numbers – What’s In It for Me?

There is a common belief that corporations must do everything with an eye to producing profits for shareholders. But that is not so. In fact, in its opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, the U.S. Supreme Court stated: “Modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not.” Brands can (and should) include cause marketing in their promotional campaigns. (And you don’t need to tell anyone, but doing so will probably increase your product awareness and bottom line!)

Consumer studies have shown: (more…)

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