Posted May 23, 2012 2:41 pm by with 0 comments

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A recent study showed that 84% of millennials rely on the opinions of others before making a purchase. That’s just one in dozens of reports that underscore the importance of good online reviews.

Studies also tells us that cause-related shopping is on the rise. When quality and price are equal, 53% of shoppers said a a social purpose would sway them toward one company over another.

Sears has brilliantly combined these two concepts in their new advertising campaign. They call it the “Love/Hate: Share Your Thoughts, Send Some Love” project.

How it works is simple. A consumer posts a review (good or bad) about a product on the Sears website. Then they get to vote for one of the charities on a short list. Every other week, Sears donates money and eliminates the charity with the least number of votes. The charity left standing at the end of the campaign will receive $100,000.

The charities that are in the running are American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, World Vision and World Wildlife Fund.

The entire process happens inside of Facebook. There’s a search box for items, which generates a list to choose from and finally this form:

Below the fold is the list of charities to choose from.

The whole concept is so simple and so smart. It’s an excellent way to generate reviews while doing something special for charity. And since the project doesn’t require you to leave a positive review, consumers can’t complain that Sears is buying good feedback. Well, they can complain, but it wouldn’t be true.

Sears is giving away a total of $145,000, but any small business could run a similar program on a lot less. Donate what you can or gather together a group of small businesses for bigger impact.

What do you think of the Sears Love / Hate campaign? Smart thinking or bound to get them in trouble some way?