Buy One Give One Cause Marketing for Soldiers

Current Energy, a website which sells energy efficiency products online, is offering a buy one give one solar charger for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latest example of a trend I noted back in January with TOMS Shoes

When you buy the $150 Solio for Soldiers Kit, which uses solar cells to charge gadgets like cell phones, iPods, and digital cameras, Current Energy ships a matching version to another soldier.

This promotion, therefore, differs from the other buy one give one promotions highlighted in the past in this blog in that you don’t get the product yourself.

Instead, it’s a two for one donation. Earlier this year I saw a similar campaign with harmonicas, of all things.

There’s no mention made of how this works. No testimonials from soldiers who have received one about how they feel about getting one. No indication of why Current Energy is doing this.

In a case where Current Energy is asking for a $150 donation, we need more details. The 120 words they give us just aren’t enough.

The Solio for Soldier isn’t the only cause Current Energy is supporting with its products. They also solicit a $1 donation for a tree planting by the nonprofit American Forests and sell a buy one give one solar-powered flashlight for $35. You get one flashlight and second goes to the Ikot Usen Secondary School in Nigeria. You can also buy a $100 Karito Kids Dolls, which generates a 3 percent charitable donation.

Finally, I’m not Mr. Language Person, that’s the immortal Dave Barry. But the website copy says the kits are going to ‘soldiers.’ Strictly speaking, in American English a soldier is someone who serves in the Army. But the term is often used to generically refer to personnel in all the military branches. So I presume when they say soldiers they mean Airman, Sailors and Marines, too, all of whom are on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq to some degree. 

For instance, my neighbor, a physician’s assistant in the U.S. Air Force, spent all of last year in Afghanistan seconded to an Army unit. Likewise, U.S. Marines in battle stations are always accompanied by Navy Corpsman. 

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