The Mark Victor Hansen MEGASpeaking event I attended in Los Angeles recently was held at a Marriott Hotel.  His next event is MEGABook Marketing University 2009.  Marriott now has a catalog called Shop Marriott that features items you might want to buy from the company…like their bedding.  On the back cover, they offer the Marriott Bear

“Show you care…With every purchase, Marriott will donate a portion of proceeds to America’s Second Harvest – the Nation’s Food Bank Network to support its mis­sion to create a hunger-free America. America’s Second Harvest is the nation’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization, a network of more than 200 regional member food banks and food-rescue programs serving all 50 states, the Dis­trict of Columbia and Puerto Rico. ”

Marriott offers two sizes of bears – the small bears are $16 of which $4 is donated to America’s Second Harvest.  Large bears are $96 of which $24 will be given as a donation.

Great that they offer one product using cause marketing.  For people needing a gift, it is a nice way to do double duty – get the gift and know a portion is going to a worthy nonprofit.  Also, the ad for the bear with the America’s Second Harvest logo is a great awareness raising tool for that nonprofit organization.  because Marriott is supporting them, they are automatically just a bit more credible – even though they are a large and already well known organization. An upgrade for Marriott would be to have the logo link the viewer to the nonprofit’s website and/or provide a link so people can read more.  Not providing that is a missed opportunity.

On the America’s Second Harvest website I learned they have had a name change!  They are now called Feeding America.  “This new name best conveys our mission—providing food to Americans living with hunger—and will be supported through expansive public outreach campaigns that will raise awareness of domestic hunger and our work.”  Digging around looking for more information about Marriott’s involvement, I found that there are Product Partners, Corporate Partners, and Financial Partners…Marriott is considered one of Feeding America’s Additional Fundraising Partners providing support year-round with an annual financial commitment of between $50,000 and $99,999, the lowest tier in Feeding America’s five-tier system.

I guess bears are in as a fundraising tool – United Airlines also had one this year as did Mark Victor Hansen’s Foundation.  So while stuffed teddy bears must be popular (I am a nonparent so am a tad clueless on that…), if you are thinking of doing a similar cause marketing promotion, you might want to choose some other animal!