The Most Interesting Jam in the World

Thanksgiving is only a couple days away and Christmas is right around the corner so what does that mean?

Food piled so high you can’t see the person across from you, family and friends singing terribly off key (except for the one voice that happens to not be tone-deaf), air so cold you contemplate hibernation and the best thing of all – holiday marketing.

Marketing tends to get in the holiday spirit much like the rest of us. Images and sounds begin to reflect the season of cheer and marketing begins to not feel so much like, well, marketing. One new trend that has made this possible is cause marketing – but doesn’t all marketing serve a cause? Marketing has a purpose, cause marketing is something completely different.

The purpose of marketing is to increase sales.

According to Mary Plessas of the Presidio Graduate School:

“Cause marketing is when a for-profit company teams with a non-profit organization. The for-profit company benefits by generating goodwill and the non-profit benefits by increasing awareness and, usually, raising funds.”

A good example of cause marketing is being run by Dos Equis and “The Most Interesting Man in the World”. The company has partnered with The Wombat Foundation, an organization dedicated to thwarting extinction of the hairy-nosed wombat species.  That sounds like a pretty good cause – “The Most Interesting Man in the World” helping out one of the most interesting species in the world, but how?

The Most Interesting Man in the World is more than a philanthropist, he happens to also be a jam maker. This isn’t your ordinary jam; unless you make jam with grasshoppers in Thai herbs, Cuban oregano, gold dust, apples, sugar and apple cider vinegar.


The jars of the most interesting jam in the world will be put up for auction on eBay with all funds raised being donated to The Wombat Foundation.

We may not be able to appreciate the grasshoppers in Thai herbs…yet, but we can appreciate the thought behind the campaign. The marketing serves a cause that aligns with the corporate image. Another similar campaign is being run between Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Foundation in an attempt to help preserve the habitats of polar bears.

Any company has the ability to use cause marketing this time of year, just remember to have it align with your marketing strategy. Partnering with an organization may seem like a nice cause but it should still serve a purpose.


Flashback Friday — “Often a Bridesmaid but Never a Bride”

What do you think of when you hear the word Listerine? You probably think of fresh breath, a healthier mouth, and whiter teeth. Does the phrase, “Often a Bridesmaid but Never a Bride,” come to mind?  You’re probably thinking of Katherine Heigl and 27 Dresses, but I’m sure you didn’t know that this catchy phrase originated with Listerine. It’s true, in 1923  Listerine came out with this phrase to explain why girls in the 1920’s were left on the shelf instead of out on dates with men. The 1920’s were a very different time from today, it was more important to settle down and start a family. So, Listerine capitalized on the fact that as young women age, there was a simple answer as to why they couldn’t find “the one”. They even came up with a story about a young girl named Edna.

“Poor Edna was getting on for thirty and most of her girlfriends were either already married, or about to tie the knot. How she wished that, instead of being their bridesmaid, she could be the bride! However, any romance of hers invariably ended quickly. There was a reason. Unbeknownst to her, she suffered from bad breath and no one would tell her, not ever her closest friends.”

Essentially Listerine wanted all of the single women to believe the reason they couldn’t find a man to settle down with was because they had bad breath and none of their friends wanted to tell them. It worked on Listerine’s end; they sold millions of bottles of mouthwash. Was it the answer for the women who tried the product?  I guess we will never know, but it did give Listerine a breath of fresh air in the mouthwash world!

Flashback Friday — “Take a bite out of crime!”

Take a bite out of crime.

Why would anyone want to take a bite out of crime? It’s doubtful that most connoisseurs of fine food and drink would be familiar with the taste of crime anyway. There are no restaurants that have “Crime” on the menu and we can only imagine how a waiter would describe the flavors to a customer.

“Today’s special is Crime, prepared exactly how you like it. The flavors are quite bitter and sour and the dish is served with a side of jail time. The side can be substituted for prison time, ruined relationships and complete misery for an additional cost.”

This Flashback Friday we will look at the dog that popularized crime prevention among adults and kids for the past three decades.

I don’t think the face above needs any introduction. Seeing the picture probably brings back memories of childhood school events and community awareness days. Or perhaps the image triggered a suppressed memory of a Chicago zip code you can somehow recite: 60652.

McGruff the crime dog is the creation of advertising agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (now Saatchi & Saatchi), which volunteered its creative time and talent to the Advertising Council, Inc. in 1978; the mission was to help the nation learn ways to prevent crime.

The bloodhound dog is more than just a great way to educate about crime prevention. It is a masterpiece in marketing and advertising.

The image is widely recognized among adults. Seventy-three (73%) percent of adults recognize the image of McGruff and ninety-four (94%) percent know him once the name is mentioned according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

Children recognize the trench-coat clad dog just as often with seventy-eight (78%) recognizing the dog without being prompted on his name and ninety-three (93%) percent knew after being given the name.

Connoisseurs of fine food and drink may not appreciate the bitter taste crime has, however, advertising enthusiasts can appreciate a good dish when we see one.

Customer comment cards are always appreciated and can be sent to the restaurant manager at:


Chicago, IL. 60652.

Hot-N-Ready School Buses?

The end of August brings about the start of school for millions of kids across the country. With the economy in the plunged state that it currently resides, many school districts are faced with budget cuts and rough times. This has led to the recent decision in some states to sell school bus space for advertising in return for extra funding that schools are losing.

Sites, such as, have emerged which make it easy for school districts to sign up and start earning revenue by allowing signs sized at 90 inches long by 30 inches tall to be displayed on the side of their school buses.

Currently only seven states; Utah, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee Arizona, and New Jersey, have passed laws allowing school bus marketing to be legalized. There are many other states in the process of starting this since they have seen the success school districts have gained from these additional sources of revenue.

Regulations have been placed on the ads and do not allow the school buses to promote alcohol, gambling, politics, religion or sexual innuendo. Beyond these restrictions it is up to individual school districts to decide what should and should not be allowed on the sides of their children’s transportation. While the target audiences of these advertisements are the motorists and community members who see the moving billboards, many groups still raise concerns about having ads (such as the pizza ad shown in the image to the right) promote unhealthy eating habits endorsed by the learning environment.

Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) is one organization that is taking a stand against these ads saying that while they may help fund the school district, this could just be the beginning of corporations invading the learning environments of our children, potentially swaying their views from an early age. Some parents and community members are also worried that students who associate riding the bus as part of their education may psychologically think the ads are part of their learning.

What are your thoughts? Are allowing these ads a good way to save sagging school district funds or a marketing strategy gone too far?

Flashback Friday – The Breakfast of Champions

What do Stone Cold Steve Austin, the 2007 Florida Gators basketball team, Joe DiMaggio and Kristi Yamaguchi all have in common? Well, besides perfectly toned athletic bodies and international fame, they are just four of hundreds of sports celebrities and teams who throughout the years showcased their success by appearing on the front of a Wheaties cereal box.

The cereal Wheaties was first created in 1922 when a Minnesota clinician from a company that soon became General Mills accidently spilled wheat bran mixture onto a hot stove. The high nutritional value and taste of these wheat flakes made this cereal good enough to become mass produced.

Five years later, Wheaties began their association with sports by appearing on a billboard of a minor league baseball team in Minneapolis. When deciding what to write on their billboard, advertising executive Knox Reeves sketched out a box of Wheaties and instantly came up with the phrase “Wheaties— The Breakfast of Champions”. From that point on, the phrase stuck, and the cereal has been marketed as ‘The Breakfast of Champions’ to this day.

Soon after, General Mills decided to showcase a sports celebrity on the front of their Wheaties boxes as part of this marketing strategy, and in 1934, the legendary baseball player, Lou Gehrig, was the first to appear in what would become a rite of passage and measure of success for athletes. From Jesse Owens, Mary Lou Retton and Walter Payton, to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and many more in between, sports legends have continuously graced the front cover of Wheaties’ iconic orange boxes.

General Mills has continued to use superstar athletes to market the Wheaties brand. And while the cereal’s taste may not be desirable to every palate, the brand’s classic messaging that emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and healthy nutrition has certainly translated well into the 21st century!