NEW YORK: Procter & Gamble, The Hershey Company, Ford and MTV are among a range of major advertisers supporting a new initiative which aims to add a corporate social responsibility element to market research programmes around the world.

Led by the Chief Marketing Officer Council and the US Chamber of Commerce, the new scheme, called Pause to Support a Cause, aims to "survey the socially beneficial way".

The ultimate objective of the project is to divert around 10% of the estimated $18.9 billion (€13.0bn; £11.5bn) spent annually on market research to not-for-profit organisations.

Rather than solely offering incentives to survey respondents, the companies taking part will also give consumers the chance to have a donation made to a charitable organisation on their behalf. 

Among the hundreds of good causes which stand to benefit as a result are the American Red Cross, the Special Olympics, Malaria No More and Feed the Children.

Participants will have to "opt-in" to take part using a specifically-developed website – – through which they can select the organisation they would like to receive a gift.

The amount donated following the completion of a piece of research will depend on the type of study undertaken, the profile of the contributors taking part, and the length of the questionnaire used.

Pause to Support a Cause will be promoted via a range of social networks and other websites, and is also backed by clients like AOL and Farmers Insurance, and research firms including Ipsos and Lieberman.

Zooppa, an online community based around user-generated advertising, will develop a communications platform for the venture, with ads set to be run across online, print and outdoor.

Another possible benefit is that it will more fully engage consumers with market research, and thus boost participation rates, reduce costs and encourage more active participation.

Ed Martin, who developed Pause to Support a Cause, and is director of international insight and new methods at The Hershey Company, said it would "resonate with more difficult-to-reach consumers and research audiences" as well as helping charities attract both attention and financial donations.

Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, added that marketers will also be able to "add a powerful altruistic appeal and ensure that market research dollars produce real social value and meaningful improvement to brand image and perception."

Data sourced from the CMO Council; additional content by WARC staff