Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Tide’s ‘Loads of Hope’: Cause Marketing You Should Follow

A few weeks ago, I wrote a guest post on using cause marketing to promote your brand rather than just using the same old promotional ideas.

One of the comments reminded me of a great cause that I’ve always admired. Tide deserves a pat on the back for their wonderful cause marketing efforts, which have been seeing a lot of action lately.

Tide’s Loads of Hope has been around since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and since then has been traveling across the country to help devastated areas affected by natural disasters. They’ve visited Fargo, North Dakota after the flooding they experienced; Galveston, Texas after Hurricane Ike struck; San Diego, California in 2008 after the dangerous wildfires took hold, and several other places nationwide too.

Proctor & Gamble wanted to do something to help these devastation-struck areas, so they decided to use their revenue, resources, and products to give assistance. If you’ve ever survived a natural disaster, then you probably agree that even the littlest things can make a huge difference!

What is “Loads of Hope” and how does it help a good cause?

You think you have a lot of clothing to fold?!

When a disaster strikes in the United States, Tide’s giant orange truck and a fleet of vans arrive on the scene. Those vehicles house over 32 energy-efficient washers and dryers. They set up a mobile laundromat where people can drop off their clothing, and volunteers stand by to wash, dry and fold it all for them. Later, they come by to pick it up. For those affected by a disaster, it’s a huge help! After all, who wants to deal with laundry in order to have something clean to wear while dealing with insurance claims the next day? With their mobile laundromat, Tide is able to do over 300 loads of laundry every day, and considering the average household does 392 loads a year, this is quite a remarkable feat.

For many of our readers, the Flood of ‘96 may not ring any bells; however, anyone living in the Midwest will certainly remember. In July of that year, Aurora, Illinois (where QLP is headquartered) saw 16.91 inches of rain fall in a 24-hour period. The U.S. Department of the Interior declared 13 Illinois counties as state disaster areas and 11 counties were declared federal disaster areas. That meant a lot of washed-out basements and ruined laundry rooms! If you experienced that, then you know how wonderful it is to have clean clothing to put on.

How can I use Tide’s idea for my business?

Alright, you’ve listened to my backstory and you’re wondering what tips your company can take away for your cause marketing efforts, right? You don’t have to be a multi-billion-dollar company in order to give back. Heck, you don’t even have to give back on a national scale — you can give back to your community if you so choose. Every little bit helps, no matter how much money, time, or effort you give, and you’ll make a difference in someone’s life as a result.

If you run brick-and-mortar stores, then you can sell certain products and promise a portion of the sale to the cause you have chosen. Whichever product you choose will determine how much you give. I’d suggest going with a popular product that people would buy anyway, which will give them even more incentive to buy more.

Go with your gut, there’s no wrong answer

Also, consider whether you want your donation to come from an existing product or from a limited-time product. Neither route you take is the wrong one, because both will bring in money to the cause, but it’s up to you to decide which one would perform better. If your customers would be skeptical of buying a new product even though it would help others, then go with existing product jazzed up with a new label or package. As long as your chosen cause is getting funds, that’s all that matters!

What can I do to help their cause?

As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Tide’s Loads of Hope campaign. If you’re a fan too, there are ways you can help them with their mission to bring a small comfort of having clean clothes after a disaster strikes:

  1. You can buy “specially marked” packages of Tide laundry detergent. A portion of each sale goes to help them with their mission.
  2. Make a donation at their Loads of Hope donation page.
  3. Buy a cool looking vintage Tide t-shirt and $4 from each sale goes toward helping families affected. Plus, wearing it may get others around you involved, too!

For more information, you can check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

We always think of giving back during the holiday season when we’re promoting goodwill towards men (or when we think a certain man up in the North Pole is watching us). But honestly, there’s never a wrong time to help others. Your company can be an excellent example of that philosophy by adopting a cause marketing campaign for your next promotion!

For a smaller-scale example of cause marketing, check out what Quality Logo Products did last year for our TAILS Humane Society promotion!

What do you think of Tide’s idea? Do you think other companies should mimic Loads of Hope with other causes? What would you suggest? Sound off below!

Image credit to


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Eric

    Having been an actor on the road, I can admit, as someone who wasn’t so significantly disadvantaged as a victim of natural disaster…going to the laundromat and paying per-load to do your wash sucks. No two ways about it. Those folks hit hardest really aren’t going to care for a giftcard when they’re standing in waist-deep floodwater, and really, restoration begins in the smallest ways, restoring normalcy one step at a time. Clean socks and dry shoes are certainly one of those steps, and kudos to Tide for being a heck of a company and doing some real, tangible, practical good out there. Anyone can raise money, but the effort and thought this takes make them stand apart all the moreso.

    • Amy Swanson

      Nobody can prevent a natural disaster, but it’s so great that Tide is doing something to help “restore normalcy” of those affected. It’s bad enough going to a laundromat when you’re not dealing with filing insurance claims and meeting with insurance agents to make sure you’re compensated enough to move on and begin the process of getting things back to normal.

      Tide deserves major kudos for providing a small and yet such a significant way to feel like everything is going to be alright 🙂

      Thanks so much for adding your personal perspective, Eric!

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    Loads for Hope is an awesome initiative. Seeing commercials for that makes me want to run out and buy Tide more than regular Tide commercials do. It’s great when companies donate money, don’t get me wrong, but something useful and tangible just makes a huge difference and leaves a greater impact.

    • Amy Swanson

      It’s great when companies help out victims financially, but in addition to doing that giving someone the chance to have clean clothes is another wonderful way of giving back. I always try to buy the “specially” marked bottles when I can. I drive my mom nuts when I tell her to buy the “specially” marked bottles of Dawn dish soap that donates a percentage to help animals out in oil spills. Every little bit helps 🙂

  3. Cybernetic SAM

    That is really neat I am not a Tide Consumer but that that is really cool. It is not often you see large corporations helping out for the greater good. I think it is kind of weird that they aren’t 100% selfless in their actions, they are using natural disasters as a way to market and get people branded for life for the wonderful time they did your laundry. But at the same time I can’t be all that torn up about it, they are after all coming to aid people in need which is a lot more than a lot of companies do. So I guess it is ok to look at one generous act as a means forgive the subtle distaste in using tragedy to advertise. So I guess to some this type of marketing is a tricky one but a good one in theory and most of execution. Great Post!

    • Amy Swanson

      Compared to what their competitors are doing, I’m giving Tide a big ol’ thumbs up! They’re a business so ultimately anything they do they are looking to boost their bottom line. It’s unfortunate, but a fact of life 🙁

      I’m actually quite surprised they don’t advertise this cause more than they have. As far as I know, they have one TV ad running and their Facebook and Twitter accounts. You’re right about this type of marketing being tricky, there’s a very thin line between genuinely helping others out and being there strictly to promote your brand. So far I think Tide is doing a fine job maneuvering this campaign.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Sam!

  4. Rachel

    I didn’t know Tide did this — pretty cool! Any company willing to spend time and energy on a project like this earns my respect. And you’re right about how nice it would have been to have Loads of Hope during the ’96 flood in Aurora; our basement got 8 feet of water, and we would have appreciated having one less thing to worry about while cleaning up! Luckily we had friends willing to share their laundry machines with us. 🙂

    Great post, Amy!

    • amy

      It’s awesome that you had friends to help you out during the flood, our basement had 7 feet of water in it. However, our laundry room wasn’t down there so we tried to help our neighbors out with laundry duty. Glad it was a 500 to 1,000 year event 😉

  5. Jenna Markowski

    This is such a brilliant and helpful initiative! I wish more brands would get out there and physically help people, rather than just collect money. Even though as Sam said it’s kind of weird to see brands positioning themselves/marketing off of such a tragedy, I am totally okay with that if they are really making an effort.

    Since I’ve never experienced such a devastating tragedy, something as simple as clean laundry never really occurred to me. It’s great that Tide is helping people restore normalcy in that area, and maybe this campaign could encourage other people like me who have not experienced something so life-shattering to donate more of their own time and money!

    • amy

      I’m so glad you enjoyed learning about Tide’s efforts, Jenna! I think it’s a great jumping off point for other brands to help out people too. It shows that you don’t have to go overboard with planning and executing some elaborate fundraising effort. Keep it simple and think what would make you feel better after a disaster.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  6. Amanda

    Great post idea, Amy! I agree with what people are saying here. It’s interesting that this can be seen as a marketing effort on their part…but until it was mentioned here, I never thought about that. I just saw it as a company doing some good.

    I’m glad to see such a huge company helping in times of need. The ’96 flood was nuts!! I remember it distinctly. Our neighbors basement was completely filled with water–I can remember their stuff floating at the bottom of their stairs–so sad! And the river near our home taking over the streets.

    Clean laundry is one of those things we take for granted, I think. We look at it as a pain to do, but I’m sure having it done for free, for us during an emergency would be a huge blessing!!

    • amy

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Amanda! It’s great seeing your smiling picture on the comment section 😀

      I remember how everything in our basement had a brown film on it from all the rain water and all the muck that rushed into our basement. YUCK, it wasn’t a fun way to spend the last few weeks of summer! Because of that experience I’m so glad Tide does something to help others who experience disasters like this, and even ones on a much larger scale too.

  7. Jill Tooley

    This is such a cool initiative, Amy! Loads of Hope can do 300 loads of laundry in one day? That’s crazy town! I get overwhelmed if I have do do more than 3 in a single day…

    It’s awesome to see P&G giving back to the community somehow, and there’s no denying that this is a huge help to people who experienced a natural disaster.

    P.S. Thanks for including the link to that retro Tide shirt! I love seeing new-old merchandise like that.

    • Amy Swanson

      Every little bit helps after a natural disaster and I’m also glad that P&G is giving back.

      No problem about adding the link. I love, love, love retro looking clothing so that was a no brainer for me 😉

      Thanks for the comment!

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