Significant New and Higher Standards for Cause Marketing: New York Attorney General Releases Report on "Pink Ribbon" Campaigns

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The New York Attorney General (“NY AG”) released a much-anticipated report on "pink ribbon" campaigns, last week. The report, entitled Five Best Practices for Transparent Cause Marketing (the “Best Practices”), available here, originated from last year’s NY AG initiative focused on breast cancer charities (widely covered by Venable; see links below). Although the NY AG initiative was specific to breast cancer charities, the Best Practices are broadly applicable to all cause-marketing efforts and will likely set a new bar by which the activities of companies and charities involved in these types of campaigns will be measured.

Background of Initiative -

In October 2011, the NY AG celebrated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by sending comprehensive questionnaires to at least 40 charities and over 130 companies asking for detailed information on promotions during which the sale of a product or service is advertised to benefit a charitable cause, in this case, breast cancer awareness. These types of promotional efforts that create goodwill for the company and generate income for a charity are commonly known as “cause-marketing” efforts and are classified as “commercial co-ventures” under New York law.

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