The combination of cause marketing and product marketing is fairly common in the auto business, but typically the cause is the caboose on the campaign train, not the engine. One exception is Subaru's "Share the Love" campaign, where charitable donations are the driver. The company is prepping its fifth iteration of that campaign, which launched in 2008. When you buy a Subaru, you get to choose among a short list of charities and the automaker makes a $250 donation.
Now, Ford is also hitching cause to the locomotive for the new Escape, with hunger as the issue. The 2013 Ford Escape Hunger Drive ties to U.S. hunger relief organization Feeding America. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker says people can host special parties at which Ford provides an Escape, along with an expert to explain the attributes of the new sport utility vehicle. Ford will provide 40 meals per guest to people at risk of hunger for a total of 1.2 million meals. Participants will also receive a Ford backpack and automatic entry into a sweepstakes.
These drive-for-charity events could take place anywhere within a supporter’s community. An event could be tied to already scheduled events at churches, community centers or other civic organizations. The first events are slated to kick off later this month.
The program, at www.escapehungerdrive.com, is part of Ford's cause-marketing strategy around hunger, that includes a Ford Motor Company Fund partnership with Newman’s Own for Partnership for Hunger Relief with Ford refrigerated trucks delivering meals.
Ford and Feeding America are touting the new program via social media, per a Ford spokesperson. "Once we have the volunteers that are needed to host the parties, they will be inviting their family and friends. We will then help to get the word out." She says the automaker has hired event agency Xperience to handle the program on the ground.
Ford expects to do about 1,000 parties, "and there is potential that we will hold more," says the spokesperson. "Event attendance may vary, but on average, we would like to see about 20 attendees at each event."