Deal Points When Cause Marketing With a Celebrity

For about three years Louis Vuitton, the luxury goods maker, has been doing cause marketing with celebrities in benefit of the celebrity’s cause of choice. In the current issue of Conde Nast Traveler magazine the celebrities are Bono and his wife Ali and the cause is Conservation Cotton Initiative Uganda.

For cause marketers this is all pretty boilerplate until you get to the second (and last) sentence of the body copy, which reads: “Profits from the bag, as well as Ali and Bono’s fee, benefit Conservation Cotton Initiative Uganda.” (my italics)

(If I were any good at Photoshop the two halves of the double-truck ad would blend together better and I’d do a callout of the sentence for you, my faithful readers. But alas.)

Bono and Ali also appear in the ad in their own ethical clothing line called Edun.

I’ve been looking at these Louis Vuitton ads for a while now and this is the first time I’ve seen that clause or another clothing line co-branded. But it demonstrates four things:
  • Not every celebrity donates their appearance fee.
  • It’s something the charity can ask for (but not necessarily get) in the negotiation.
  • It’s a deal point that sponsors can suggest when negotiating with celebrities; ie. if you donate your fee to the cause, we’ll put it in the ad copy.
  • If the celebrity is big enough sponsors will consider co-branding with a competing outside brand.
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