Making Nice: The Stops and Starts of Advertising for a Cause

1. Trident’s Happy Face

Most sugarless brands claim that chewing their gum leads to better health. But Trident does more to support oral hygiene: Since 2004, the company has worked with Smiles Across America to provide dental services to 115,000 elementary-school children in need.

2. General Mills’ Sugar Smack

The Toaster Strudel peddler is engaging in a bit of hocus-pocus worthy of the Trix rabbit when it links its sugary breakfast treats to a broader mission of building young minds. But in its 12 years, General Mills’ Box Tops for Education campaign has bought $250 million worth of supplies, textbooks, and computers for K — 8 schools.

3. SC Johnson’s Plastic Pitch

The household-products giant pledges to be an eco-friendly part of your family. But the “family company” has a lineup of products that will have a negative effect on the environment for millennia. Its newest product, Ziploc Evolve bags, made with 25% less plastic, would help SC Johnson’s claim only if it stopped selling its standard Ziplocs, which take more than 500 years to biodegrade.DM