Society: Product links helping selected few

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Cause-related marketing, where a company builds a relationship with good causes for their mutual benefit, has been a success, but charities fear that less fashionable causes may be missing out. Business in the Community, a charity which promotes links between firms and community organisations, said that its study, the Game Plan, showed that 80 per cent of customers want to buy goods linked to a cause, such as Andrex toilet paper and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

But Jim Minton, marketing manager for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations warned: "The potential issue is that how much are companies thinking `oh, these causes are the ones consumers want' - ones with children and animals, whereas the less fashionable causes will find it more difficult and may well miss out again."