Cause Branding

Solving a Business Challenge

Lee National Denim Day

$93 million
raised for the fight against breast cancer
20 year
program
Improved brand perception
among target audience

Challenge

In 1995, Lee Jeans approached us with a problem that advertising could not solve. How could Lee take advantage of the growing trend of casual Fridays and more casual dress codes in the workplace? A secondary challenge was enhancing the perception of the Lee brand by female consumers.

Solution

Crossroads made wearing jeans to work about supporting a cause, not just about making a fashion statement, when we created a cause branding program instead of a traditional marketing campaign. Lee National Denim Day, a one-day event challenging companies nationwide to participate by letting employees wear denim to work in exchange for a $5 donation to the breast cancer cause became known as one of the largest single-day fundraisers for breast cancer. The program also allowed Lee to engage and involve their employees in a cause with which they identify. For 20 years, Crossroads constantly refreshed Lee National Denim Day, continually increasing the campaign’s online presence and media outreach every year.

Results

By positioning Lee Jeans as a facilitator and fundraising engine for the breast cancer cause, Crossroads was able to forge an emotional connection between Lee and its target consumer. This emotional connection enhanced the perception of the brand and positively impacted denim sales. It also created a more focused philanthropic strategy for Lee overall, enhancing the brand’s giving story in key markets across the country. After a 20-year run, Lee National Denim Day raised more than $93 million for the fight against breast cancer. Lee retailers benefitted from a spike in sales every October when the campaign was promoted, and Lee brand tracking studies showed women had a more favorable impression of the Lee brand and were more likely to buy Lee jeans because of the campaign. In 2010, Forbes magazine named Lee National Denim Day one of the 10 most imaginative CSR campaigns.