Cause Marketing Gets a Lift From “Superman,” OfficeMax

Waiting for Superman

Cause marketing has a history that is near and dear to my heart, from YouthAIDS’ partnership with footwear company Aldo and major celebrities like rapper Ludacris and pop singer Avril Lavigne to MTV’s partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation to promote young adult health in marginalized communities. A consistent player in this scene is Participant Media, a production company started by Jeff Skoll that produces socially relevant films with an agenda to create sustained social change.

Participant’s latest partnership reveals the far-reaching scope of cause marketing and CSR campaigns, as none other than OfficeMax has announced that it will donate school supplies to over 1,000 teachers when 40,000 people pledge to watch Participant’s latest film, Waiting for “Superman,” about the distraught public school system in the United States.

I’m excited about Participant and OfficeMax’s partnership–and it makes sense (school supplies, yada, yada)–but office supplies aren’t exactly sexy. I think ice cream would be more sexy! But teachers also need a little something spicy to shake up their work lives, don’t they? Like regular classroom visits from celebrities to offer acting and dancing coaching? Come on guys, use those Hollywood connections for better arts education!

So when we forge rather large partnerships like this, let’s go beyond what just makes sense to something, I don’t know, a little different? Thanks, guys. Looking forward to my ice cream coupon next time.JN