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Cause-Related Marketing Meets Its Match in Local TV

April 18th, 2019   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

Cause-related marketing is ideal for local television stations, bringing together the reach and viewer loyalty the station engenders while supporting a worthy cause that makes the public feel even better about the station.

Cause-related marketing is usually a collaboration between a business and a nonprofit; the business supports the cause with marketing dollars and/or donated labor. Local television stations are prime partners for charities that want to raise awareness or money, because they have the eyes and ears of the community.

Partnering With Organizations

When Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State wanted to find mentors for 90 kids, they turned to DDL Advertising. The agency contributed funds, ran a digital campaign, and also brought in CBS affiliate WPRI-TV.

The result was a live event preceding a televised minor league baseball game featuring costumed characters from The CW’s hit shows. WPRI ran 30-second spots on programming including The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Flash, Arrow, and sports programming, targeting men ages 18 to 49, their Big Brother target. A representative from Big Brothers Big Sisters also appeared on WPRI’s Rhode Show, a news magazine show. The campaign was not only successful for the organization but also linked the station with a positive event.

Local Stars

One benefit for charities is being able to leverage the star power of local news anchors and celebrities when they partner with TV stations. Bringing in local businesses and brands provides opportunities for cross-promotion, as well as greater impact.

That was the case with a fundraising event for Mary’s Place, a Seattle nonprofit that serves women, children, and families. Local musician Seth McDonald created Seattle World Tour, a showcase of local musicians performing in historic Seattle locations, with funds benefiting Mary’s Place. He brought in a variety of local companies including Jones Soda.

NBC affiliate KING-TV did a segment on the upcoming concert on its morning show, so Jones Soda designed custom labels featuring the TV anchors who’d interview them. The segment not only promoted the concerts, it gave this sponsor a nice boost as well, according to Sugarbird Marketing, the PR agency for the concerts.

Expertise in Public Service

Local stations can also draw on their expertise in public service information by creating their own cause-related marketing event. Plus, the format of local station magazine shows provides an excellent opportunity for cause-related marketing.

Red Apples Media president and Hometown Health Television host Marc Robertz-Schwartz not only diligently scheduled his colonoscopy after he turned 50; he broadcast it to raise awareness of the importance of screening and early detection, according to the Daily Commercial.

Inspired by Today Show host Katy Couric’s similar broadcast in 2011, Robertz-Schwartz partnered with AdventHealth Waterman Hospital to film his colonoscopy experience (minus the actual procedure). The footage was then used to create two episodes for the local television station. This is cause-related marketing directly on the station’s behalf: In addition to getting the word out about colon screening, the broadcast likely attracted extra viewers. And it resulted in earned media for the station via an article in the local newspaper.

A Great Match

Public relations information service Glean.info recommended local television news and talk shows as excellent opportunities for PR professionals to get publicity. It said, “Local TV still offers a valuable public communications channel and will probably continue to do so for some time.”

As we’ve seen, partnering with a local TV station provides nonprofits with much more than air time. Stations can provide them with on-air segments that let them tell their stories in an engaging way, and the recommendation of a television personality carries a lot of weight.

These partnerships are great for stations because they not only show their commitment to the community, they also offer opportunities for live events and cross-promotions with other businesses—that are potential advertisers.

Cause-related marketing is a win for everyone.

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