Philip Morris "Let 'em Run" Cause Marketing Concept

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Let 'Em Run: Concept

This 2001 Philip Morris document provides an example of "cause-related marketing," a public relations tool and business strategy that links the purchase of a product to fundraising for a worthwhile charity, project, or cause. The cause evokes strong emotions in the target while providing the triple benefits of increasing sales, improving corporate image and benefiting a charity.

In this document, Philip Morris proposes a program called "Let 'em Run," a project to "help alleviate the plight of wild horses in the west." The actual plight the horses are suffering is not stated in the document, but the goals of the program do not involve them. Rather, the goals are to "generate awareness of the cause and Marlboro's involvement in the cause," to "begin word of mouth conversations among our smokers" and to "connect with our young adult smokers." The program would allow PM to "connect with the smoker by creating affinity with the brand and by providing those that are interested with a way to participate themselves."

Such a cause marketing program would also benefit PM by providing a continuing communication channel to its customers, and would help increase the spread of its feel-good corporate efforts by prompting smokers to bring friends to cause-related events:

--Develop a follow-up communication stream that updates smokers on the progress [of the Let 'em Run" program]
--Create an event that mobilizes smokers to get others involved (i.e.: walk-a-thon).

This document shows Philip Morris contemplating linking its dangerous product to a positive emotional cause, and leveraging that emotion to stimulate sales among its younger targets.

Cause marketing is becoming increasingly common. Another example is a department store chain that offers to donate 1 or 2% of its sales of cosmetics to fight breast cancer. This effectively leverages women's strong emotions about breast cancer to increase sales of cosmetics.

Title: Let 'Em Run: Concept
Company/Source: Philip Morris
Document Date: Feb 2001 (est.)
Length: 18 pages
Bates No. 2085149814/9831

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