April 27, 2011
General Motors Co.’s Cadillac is using teen pop sensation Justin Bieber in a partnership with Sony Music to raise awareness and funds for Cure Duchenne via radio advertising.
Cure Duchenne is a nonprofit group that funds research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a common disease in children. Cadillac is auctioning pairs of tickets to destinations such as Australia where winners will have a chance to see Mr. Bieber in concert and meet him after the show.
“Justin [Bieber]’s story is so inspiring, and we wanted to use that to connect the partnership,” said Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac, Detroit. “Cadillac typically gravitates toward lesser-known foundations that do not have a lot of awareness or funding yet.
“This particular group never leaves well alone and is always striving to make this better,” he said. “This is bigger than all of us and this is an opportunity to bring attention to the cause and raise money.”
Duchenne is a genetic disease that affects 20,000 boys and young men in the United States. Males who are diagnosed with it may be completely paralyzed by their late teens and most do not live long enough to see adulthood.
There is no cure for DMD.
Participants can bid on a trip for two to see Mr. Bieber in concert at locations around the world.
The winner will also receive a copy of the singer’s new album, “Never Say Never – The Remixes.”
The auction will run through May 1. It will be marketed through advertisements on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and on a series of Clear channel radio stations.
Luxury brands tend to partner with companies and spokespersons that make sense to the effort.
Cadillac’s use of 17-year-old Mr. Bieber will resonate with consumers because he is the same age as some of the young men affected with Duchenne.
In addition, the singer’s undeniable popularity will at least gain some media attention for Cadillac and Cure Duchenne.
Cadillac first became a supporter of Cure Duchenne last year by producing a public service announcement and auctioning Super Bowl packages to benefit the foundation.
The brand is also taking to its social media pages to spread word about its partnership with Cure Duchenne.
Cadillac Tweeted its partnership and a link to the Cure Duchenne Web site during last year's Super Bowl.
Altruism is becoming a norm for luxury brands.
“Event and cause marketing is a transactional norm,” said David Hessekiel, president of Cause Marketing Forum, Rye, NY. “It’s a ‘buy this we’ll do that’ thing.
“If brands team up and share a message for others to get involved and get people to volunteer, it’s a great way to market,” he said.
Cadillac has a long history with sponsoring charitable organizations.
The brand’s dealerships often have location-based events such as the Fort Worth/Dallas showroom that let customers decide which local charity would receive a donation from Cadillac (see story).
In addition, Cadillac has a partnership with the National Kidney Foundation. The car brand raises funds for the organization through golf tournament funding.
“We tend to look for charities that are not as much in the spotlight,” Mr. Butler said. “There are a lot of wonderful charities doing lots of great work, but we tend look for ones that don’t get as much notoriety.
“We try to focus on places where we can hopefully make a difference,” he said.
Rachel Lamb, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York