Shopping To Improve the World Takes Off

Monday, June 6, 2011

NEW YORK and AMSTERDAM, June 7, 2011 -

Representative research of the 16 highest-ranked
countries in terms of GDP was conducted by and verified by Prof.
Dirk Salomons (Columbia University, NY). The study shows: 64% prefer brands
that help consumers help others. Researchers related this to mankind's
growing universal search for meaning. The study indicated only 16% are NOT

Helping others makes life worthwhile

74% state that helping others makes their life meaningful.
This has risen sharply in the last three years (37%), likely because of the
financial crisis. 59% stated they like doing more for others beyond donating,
but often lack the time, resources, energy and inspiration. The top three
topics where people want to help are: 1) health, 2) the environment, 3)
children's rights. In China, environmental issues holds first place.

Living a meaningful life important

85% consider a meaningful life important, seeing it as basic
need. People with meaning are less depressed and have a more positive

Social media users nicer

In all countries, the same levels of empathy and prosocial,
helpful behavior were found. Women were shown to be more empathic.
Surprisingly, social media users are more prosocial in real life. They do
more volunteer work, and are more likely to offer their seats or give

Search for meaning = business

Prosocial Brands that help people to help others by using their marketing
power to tackle societal issues are preferred over normal brands by a notable
64%, because of the meaning they give. 68% prefer to work for Prosocial

The 24,000 people in research warned wannabe Prosocial Companies not to
see it as easy money. Social goals should be ambitious, transparent, the
contribution significant and the business responsible. P&G's diapers brand
Pampers, committed to ridding the world of tetanus by 2013, is seen as a good

Mark Woerde, research director: "The old credo, 'survival of the fittest'
gives way to 'survival of the kindest'. What would happen to the world if
fraction of the US $450 billion spent annually on advertising went into
Prosocial Marketing?"

Countries of research (n=24,000): AU, BE, BR, CA, CH, DE, GB, ES, FR, JP,
IN, IT, MX, NL, RU, US. Free research and interpretation can be downloaded:

Country results and extensive releases: For questions, spokespersons from Columbia University, the United Nations, Mark Woerde, research director (info at, +31-6-16582020).

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