What is in this article?:
- Restaurants see breast cancer fundraising efforts add up
- Long campaigns for the cure
Industrywide participation lifts results for Smashburger, Hooters, Caribou Coffee and more.
Many restaurant companies jump into Breast Cancer Awareness Month every October to raise money for charities studying the disease, and marketers have found that the different fundraising programs create a positive cycle rather than a zero-sum competition.
For instance, Denver-based Smashburger has chosen this October to roll out its first national cause-marketing program, benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The chain will donate 40 cents from every sale of its new Raspberry Sorbet Shake, which combines Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet to produce the signature pink color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
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Smashburger has promised a minimum donation of $25,000 to Komen, but the brand’s senior vice president of marketing, Jeremy Morgan, said it was well on its way to clearing that threshold. He added that the buzz about breast cancer fundraising in October made this month the right time to launch a national campaign.
“We wanted to choose a reputable charity that our consumers could connect with, and Komen fit the profile pretty much perfectly,” Morgan said. “We thought about what would be the most Smashburger way to do that. A ‘breast cancer burger’ felt a little weird, but then we had an idea session with our Haagen-Dazs partners, and we came up with the Raspberry Sorbet Shake.”
The new shake was tested in several markets and performed very well, especially among Smashburger’s female guests, he said. The brand always has tried to differentiate its menu with native appeal, such as burgers with local ingredients or partnerships with local craft breweries, but the national effort around one systemwide offering has worked well, Morgan said.
With dozens of restaurant brands joining the cause to fund breast cancer research in October, the industrywide effort has helped Smashburger’s program rather than competed with it, he added.
“Whenever you do cause marketing, first and foremost it’s about how you can do the most for the charity partner,” he said. “The fact that so many other restaurants and retailers do this in October for breast cancer reinforces the cause we have. … As a marketer, you always want a differentiating program, so we thought hard about what’s the Smashburger way to do this.”