Events coupled with a social cause


When a brand projects its intent to not just generate profits, but also to support a social cause, it is more likely to build an emotional connect with its consumers. Events in themselves have the capability of attracting an audience. But the truth is that when an event centered on a brand is held for a social cause it creates a stronger pull for the consumers.

EE brings to you some experiential activities undertaken by brands in India with an aim to‘Make a Difference’:


Fitness events are gaining popularity throughout the nation and are being targeted by brands for all the right reasons too. Marathons are an ideal platform for mass branding. They are inclusive events that surpass the barriers of age, gender and economic status. Marathons bring people together to not just run, but run for a cause. Thousands of people participate in marathons for fitness and also contribute to charitable causes at the same time.  Brands leverage the emotional connect that consumers have with a cause to enhance the recall value for their products.

From distributing branded t-shirts and caps at the starting point, handing out branded energy drinks at the halfway mark to giving branded biscuits and chocolates at the finish line, brands utilize ample opportunities to connect with their consumers at marathons.

For over a decade Standard Chartered has been organizing the Mumbai Marathon. In its latest edition, the run attracted a crowd of over 40,000 people which included a large chuck of international participation. Each year the title sponsor along with associate sponsor Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) coughed up huge chunks of money for the event but the large-scale participation, connected and enthusiastic audience and the support of the watchers on the street made it worth the investment. Unlike other sports events where the consumers are mere spectators, marathons allow them the opportunity to be involved in the grind, hence making them more connected to the event.   Apart from being a sporting event, the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) is also one of the biggest charities in Asia. In the 11th edition of the event, 269 NGOs participated and people were encouraged to contribute funds for the causes that they wanted to support.  The run, which is organized by Procam International, has BMW, Kingfisher Premium and Timex as its associate sponsors.

Airtel is another brand which is leveraging the platform of a marathon to connect with its consumers. The Delhi Half Marathon, which was established in 2005, had Vodafone as its title sponsor until 2008. The 11th edition of the run saw massive participation, as 31,000 people in Delhi took to the roads to promote fitness and at the same time contribute to a cause. The event claims to have risen over Rs. 4.15 crores in charity. The associate sponsors of the marathon include Reebok, MAX Healthcare, Kingfisher Premium, DHL, Radio Mirchi and Star Sports.

Puma, along with Flipkart have joined the race with the Puma Urban Stampede. Organized by Runners For Life (RFL), Puma Urban Stampede is a corporate relay event held across all the major metro cities in the country. Associate sponsors of the run include Red FM and Fortis.


Apart from marathons, concerts are big on attracting masses. Spread the Metal records have partnered with VH1 for Anthems Of Rock, a benefit concert for human rights to be held later this month in Darjeeling. The concert which will have a social connect to it will feature international artists like Eric Martin, Bobby Kimball and Robert Hart. The concert is being held to support the efforts of Human Rights Watch, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights of people worldwide.

In order to promote the cause of girl child, Plan India, which is a community development organization, held the ‘Because I am a Girl Rock Concert’ in Mumbai. The initiative, which is a part of the ‘Because I am a Girl (BIAAG)’ international campaign, was aimed at creating awareness for the cause of the girl child. The conceptualization and execution of the event was undertaken by Hungama Digital Services Pvt. Ltd. and its division was also called on board. With veteran actor Anil Kapoor as its brand ambassador, Indian Ocean, Euphoria, Indus Creed and Parikrama were among the bands which supported the cause. The issues centering on girl child are very prominent in India and when brands support such causes, they create an immediate connect with the consumers.

Canon India extended its support to the differently abled by co-sponsoring a ‘Darkness to Light’ piano concert. Organized by National Association for the Blind (NAB), the event saw piano performances by talented visually impaired children of NAB.

In the aftermath of the Uttarakhand floods, MTV came forward to show that it is not just about music and entertainment; it is also about contributing to social causes. The youth channel organized an MTV ACT & You For Uttarakhand concert in Delhi. The line up of the concert included acts by Clinton Cerejo, DhruvVisvanath, Half Step Down and PragnyaWakhlu.

Fashion Shows

PC Jeweller recently sponsored the ‘Men for Mijwa’ fashion show held in Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. The fashion show was organized for Indian actress ShabanaAzmi’s NGO Mijwa Welfare Society (MWS) and was aimed at promoting empowerment of women in rural India with the theme ‘The man cares for the woman’. Amidst the glitter and glamour which was brought on by Indian designers and actors present at the event, the social theme of empowerment of women was what attracted the audience. Jewellery is a product mainly linked with women hence, PCJ’s association with such a cause reflected well with their brand and product.

Trinity Investment Partners, in association with NPA Events organized a charity event to raise funds for the Oman Cancer Association and Dar al Atta’a. The main attraction of the event was a fashion show by Indian designer Manish Malhotra.

Carnivals & Fund Raisers

Moet &Chandon partnered with Swades foundation for a fundraiser event for promoting rural empowerment held recently at the Palladium Hotel in Mumbai. Celebrity guests were invited to make a toast for the charity and for every toast at the dedicated ‘Toast for a Cause’ corner, Moet &Chandon made a generous contribution to the Swades Foundation.

Through its Fashion Joins Hands Against Breast Cancer initiative, ELLE augments work in the area of breast health under the auspices of the Ogaan Cancer Foundation, which supports the Women’s Cancer Initiative – Tata Memorial Hospital. ELLE magazine, as part of this initiative, held a carnival at the TajMahal Hotel, New Delhi. The carnival included activities like tarot-reading, massages, fortune-telling, innovative games like can cancer, ring cancer and basketball. Funds for the cause were raised through the sale of affordably priced and discounted designer-wear clothes. The magazine has planned three such fund-raising events over the next two months across three metros.

Be it ‘Run for a cause’ or ‘Toast for a cause’, brands find a way to be at the centre of the cause.

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