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'People's BS Detectors are High': Brands Have Given Consumers Cause Fatigue
By: Digiday
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In the run-up to Earth Day last year, Megan Marshall and her team at Olson Chicago sat facing executives from one of the biggest consumer brands and held an intervention: The brand wanted to tie an Earth Day event into its veteran’s charity. Marshall balked. Customers had reached peak cause fatigue.

“A lot of brands think, ‘let’s tie in with a day like Earth Day, do an event, donate money or just do a clean-up,’” she said. “But consumers see through those kind of stunts now, and besides, what does their charity toward educating veterans have to do with beverages or Earth Day?”

Viral movements like the “Ice Bucket Challenge” and #BlackLivesMatter remind us that the Internet is a powerful driver of activism. Innumerable studies have highlighted that customers — especially of the much-maligned cohort between the ages of 18 and 34 that marketers like to lump together as an undifferentiated, annoying blob — prefer brands to be aligned with some sort of progressive cause. And brands, being brands, have been happy to oblige.

Almost too happy, it turns out. When every brand starts fighting for a piece of the social good pie — allying with causes that have nothing to do with their core business — there remains no semblance of authenticity. So many brands have started engaging in some form of cause marketing or another, that consumers have become increasingly wary. Most cause marketing efforts appear to be desperate at best — and flat-out dishonest at worst.

“There has been a shift in perception among customers of what an authentic expression of a brand is,” said Max Lenderman, CEO of cause-marketing specialist agency, School. “And jumping on a cause is increasingly being viewed as not authentic.”

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This article was published on Digiday.com.  A full link to the original piece is after the story. www.digiday.com
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