Cause Related Marketing Campaigns Getting The Celebrity Treatment


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Celebrity + Charity = Brand Sales

The cosmetic brand, Urban Decay has announced their latest socially responsible campaign to support women’s empowerment, ‘The Ultra Violet Edge’. For this campaign, the brand has enlisted the help of their newest spokesperson, Gwen Stefani.

With the release of their most recent product – ‘The Ultraviolet Edge’ facial primer, Urban Decay has chosen to market the product using two creative marketing strategies to grab the attention of their consumers. They’re employing the celebrity endorsement strategy and teaming it up with a Cause Related Marketing strategy in an effort to raise money to empower women around the world. But how does a brand create campaign benefit from teaming endorsement deals with cause related marketing tactics?

Urban Decay’s Mission


Urban Decay has chosen to donate the majority of the money raised from the campaign to the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund in support of the organization’s effort to help women on a direct and personal level. The initiative aims to pool together money made from sales of a brand-new limited -edition product, to support a variety of organizations that are currently working to help empower women. Urban Decay has revealed that they are committed to donating 100 percent of the profits made from product sales to a total $3 million to a variety of causes over the next five years.

Through the money raised from product sales, the brand hopes to fund microloans and business training, literacy programs, leadership development initiatives ensuring women have a “seat at the policy table,” and on-the-ground infrastructures and local staffing to support the program.

Urban decay has chosen to market the product with the help of their celebrity endorser, Gwen Stefani. However, this particular endorsement is very different from the typical celeb endorsement: Stefani's status is not being used to launch the product. Stefani is teaming up with the brand in an effort to bring awareness to the cause itself, and what the product and product sales will do for the cause.

What is Cause Related Marketing?

Cause related marketing, (or CRM) is described as a marketing strategy that is used by organizations supporting social and charitable causes through revenue exchanges in both for-profit and non-profit. The marketing strategy is favored by charitable organizations as it boosts consumer’s awareness of the organization, as well as the organization benefiting from the monetary donation from the brand.

Not only is this a tactic that is used to boost awareness of the brand – it is also a way that brands can create a more favorable brand image, and thus, generate a positive brand perception by consumers. Many brands not only want to ‘do good’ for the social reasons, they also want their brand image to appear more socially responsible. In turn this perceived image will prove (hopefully) to be beneficial by boosting overall revenue not only for the product associated with the charitable cause, but for all products made and sold by the brand.


Why This Marketing Strategy Is A Hot Commodity

A lot of celebrities are interested in partnering with brands who are trying to do better things in the world, and Urban Decay certainly is not the only cosmetic brand to use a celebrity endorsement in their CRM campaign. MAC Makeup launched MAC AIDS fund in 1994, and to date has raised over $315 million exclusively through sales. MAC has utilized the cause related marketing and celeb endorsement tactic by signing multiple celebrity endorsees over the 18 yearlong campaign – these celebrities include Rihanna, Lady Gaga, RuPaul, Cyndi Lauper and Nicki Minaj, and many more. Rihanna is the latest addition to the campaign, and has raised over $50 million dollars alone.

Don’t think the celebrities are just in this for the feel-good moments. The campaigns themselves help pay the celebrity’s endorsement rates. While the celebrity may (MAY is the word here) work at a discounted fee for the charity association, they also may not. It is more likely that an extra appearance fee here and there will be waived versus a highly discounted endorsement campaign.

Rutgers-Camden researchers found that athletes, movie stars and newscasters are associated with the largest increase in public donations when serving as the spokesperson of a brand's CRM campaign. Much like an endorsement for regular brand product marketing, the celebrities are often able to use their status not only as a way to sell the product, but also promote the cause itself. Consumers will associate the cause with the celebrity in the same way that they would associate a product with the celebrity and attribute image related links based on the attractiveness, likability, expertise and trustworthiness of a celebrity. 


Why Gwen Stefani Is A Good Celebrity Ambassador

Gwen Stefani has a long-running personal relationship with the Urban Decay brand - dating back as far as the 90s, when Stefani first met Urban Decay's founder, Wende Zomnir. Stefani had broken into the music scene as the front lady of the punk band 'No Doubt' at a similar time to when Zomnir first launched her new makeup brand, Urban Decay. Stefani's recognizable style has always been complementary to Urban Decay's alternative brand image, leading way to a long standing friendship between the brand and the front lady.

Zomnir states that Stefani was chosen by Urban Decay as she feels the star breaks down barriers in style, much like the makeup brand. "We dig Gwen's innate ability to set trends and defy expectations. She also shares our passion for empowering women, and will help give this initiative the attention it deserves." (InStyle).


What Do You Think?

Hollywood Branded discusses the right celebrity qualities for the perfect beauty brand endorsement, you can read about it here.

Do you feel that the CRM combined with celebrity endorsements approach to marketing is an effective way of raising brand awareness and donating to worthy causes? We would love to hear your opinion, please comment below with your thoughts. 

Celebrity endorsements are more effective than you may think! And they're not the only tactic you can incorporate in your entertainment marketing mix. Download the results of our 2015 Entertainment Marketing Survey to learn more about the tactics that consumers and other brand marketers think you should be using. 

 Download The 2015 Survey Results