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YouTube's Must-See Cause-Marketing Picks

Launching a Corporate Social-Responsibility Campaign? Watch These Five Videos First

By Published on .

Ramya Raghavan
Ramya Raghavan
If you look at studies about Millennials' penchant for service or society's growing fascination with all things green, it's not surprising that businesses are thinking more and more about how they can increase awareness for social causes as they increase their margins. Earlier this year, Pepsi decided to forgo its million-dollar Super Bowl spot in favor of an enormous social media campaign focused on investing in communities and giving back.

Cause marketing isn't new to YouTube -- businesses such as Starbucks and Timberland have been churning out videos on behalf of causes for years, through contests, viral marketing spots and disaster relief pleas. But some are doing it better than others. Here's a look at five videos companies should watch before launching a corporate social responsibility campaign on YouTube:

1. Help the Honey Bees, Haagen-Dazs

This video had YouTube buzzing in 2008. Capitalizing on the popular B-boy/dance-battle trend on YouTube, the video mixed impressive dance moves with a catchy beat and kept the audience's attention until the end -- when it revealed that it was a video to raise awareness about Colony Collapse Disorder and the widespread disappearance of bees from our environment.

2. The Girl Effect, Nike Foundation

Nike is known for its creative advertising, so it's no surprise that the Nike Foundation's Girl Effect video found an immediate audience on YouTube. It is often said that the most successful corporate cause marketing initiatives help boost a company's bottom line as well as support an important cause. Nike captures women's attention and succeeds on both fronts with this catchy animated short.

3. One Day Without Shoes, Toms Shoes

With its "One Day Without Shoes" video campaign, Toms Shoes reinforced a valuable YouTube message: Empower others to become your video advocates. Tom's asked YouTube users to create their own original videos endorsing the campaign (and promoting the Toms brand by default), and received numerous pieces, including this one from user Rashnu; one from the Jonas Brothers; and this vlog from one of YouTube's most popular users, Mitchell Davis.

4. The Cove PSA: My Friend Is..., Participant Productions

If you're a production company that has just released a documentary about an important cause, you're probably thinking about how to fill those theater seats. Participant Productions cleverly decided to use its connections to create this funny YouTube trailer starring such Hollywood heavyweights as Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller. The video seeks to help prevent the fishing of dolphins while getting people excited about the main documentary event.

5. How to Clean Ovens, Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation is a cleaning brand that has built its business on its environmental reputation. But you may not know that the company is also a huge supporter of WAGES, Women's Action to Gain Economic Security. This how-to video series from Seventh Generation stars members of the WAGES community and shows the company's willingness to put the people and ideas it supports front and center.

Ramya Raghavan is nonprofits manager at YouTube and blogs about nonprofits on YouTube at
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