Brands Giving Back: Pepsi, McDonalds

Instead of spending millions on commercials for this year’s game, Pepsi is putting its cash in the Refresh Project, an online cause marketing campaign that asks readers how the company should give away its grant money.

McDonald’s: Monopoly Free Parking
To celebrate the return of Monopoly at McDonald’s, Cossette, Vancouver brought the game’s Free Parking to the real world, providing free spots for 1,500 cars daily in various lots throughout Western Canada.


Pepsi Decides to Use the NFL a Different Way (
Social Marketing Gone Awry: Pepsi Refresh Needs To Refresh Its Security Settings (

Pepsi kicks Super Bowl and goes social (
Pepsi’s Social Marketing Campaign Stumbles Out of the Gate (

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Isipho (i-see-poh) sprang from the determination of 13-year-old Miranda Lynch to do everything possible to improve the life of two-year–old Amahle Zuma, and other children in iNzinga. Miranda and Amahle met in the summer of 2008 when Miranda and her father, Tom, were in South Africa for vacation and decided to spend one week volunteering. They spent that week living in the remote village of iNzinga, living with the Zuma family, planting potatoes in communal gardens and working in schools.
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Cause-Related: BBC v Gaza, Fiat v Myanmar

BBC Assailed for Refusing to Carry Aid Groups’ Video Appeal for Gaza Relief
In more than 80 years as a publicly financed broadcaster with an audience of millions at home and around the world, the BBC has rarely been buffeted as severely as it has in recent days over its decision not to broadcast a television appeal by aid agencies for victims of Israel’s recent military actions in Gaza. Andy Rain/European Pressphoto Agency. Demonstrators conducted a sit-in at BBC headquarters on Monday to protest the broadcaster’s refusal to carry a video appeal for relief aid for Gazans. BBC executives made the decision late last week and defiantly reaffirmed it on Monday, citing their concern with protecting the corporation’s impartiality in the Arab-Israeli dispute. The dispute stirs high passions here, and the BBC, like other news organizations, has struggled uneasily for years to strike a balance, even as some critics claim it has tilted heavily toward Israel and others claim it has favored the Palestinians. This move certainly makes the BBC appear biased in favor of the Israelis.


A new Fiat ad mixes an appeal for democracy in Myanmar with shots of its Lancia Delta vehicle. The ad draws attention to the continuing house arrest of Nobel prize winner and democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. The ad is getting free air time as a public service announcement in France, Germany, Italy and six other European countries.
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Fat Man Walking … For Baby Georgia

My old mate Gav Thompson is on a mission to raise some money for charity … through what is for him an unusual activity: walking.

Fat Man Walking … For Baby Georgia

“Tubby Abingdon man leads 52 mile charity walk through Oxfordshire & Berkshire

Abingdon resident and fully-fledged fat man, Gav Thompson, is leading a team of 17 walkers on a 52 mile charity walk to raise funds for the Jennifer Trust(1) and the Naomi Children’s Hospice(2). The “Fat Men Walking” team will walk the 52 miles down The Thames Path and back up the Kennet Canal over 3 days. The team sets off from Abingdon Bridge at 7.30am on Thursday 7 February.

Gav decided on the walk after Georgia, the 5 month old daughter of great friends of his, was diagnosed with the terminal disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 (SMA). After a brave 3 month fight against this terrible condition, Georgia died on January 6th this year. There is little awareness of SMA, despite its being the largest genetic killer of babies and toddlers in the UK.

The rotund Thompson has teamed up with his similarly generously proportioned friend, Matt Whitticase. The two have hauled themselves from the couch and have been training furiously since October.

“We weren’t sure how far we should walk, so we both got on the bathroom scales only to find that our combined weight was off the scale!”, Thompson admitted.

You can read more about Gav’s quest here and here .. and donate money here.

Age of Conversation 2.0!

Just under a year ago, Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton conceived the The Age of Conversation. So far the resulting tome has raised thousands of dollars for the children’s charity Variety.

Now then: if you (yes you! actually, maybe not you, mother) want to be an author for The Age of Conversation (2008 version), all you have to do is e-mail Drew and say you’re in!

age of conversation

Vintage T-Shirts from

An interesting program from Tide, who have created vintage-looking tees featuring their logo and are selling them for charity. I don’t know much about the program but I am intrigued.

tide t-shirts

“Created in soft cotton (actually, its polycotton, but whatever), this vintage tee shows both your sense of style and your support for families affected by disasters. All proceeds from the sale of the tees will go towards rebuilding efforts for families affected by the wildfires in Southern California and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.”

I can almost forgive the “Give Loads of Hope” copyline …

UPDATE: After a bit of light googling I learn that the program is not without warts

“Call me cynical, but the maximum output of buying Tide vintage T-shirts will be 10 houses in New Orleans. To me, this reflects something deeply wrong with a lot of corporate social responsibility efforts. Rather than making a donation of a share of profits to a cause a routine part of business or, better still, part of the business plan, companies mark a donation to charity as an extraordinary event.”