A Raspberry to Hamilton Collection's Promotion

Time Warp Cause Marketing from Hamilton Collection is Potentially Deceptive and Certainly Less Effective Than it Could Be

Hamilton Collection’s “Breast Cancer Charity Collectible Shoe Figurine: Hope” (whew!) is cause-related marketing at its finest, circa 1989.

This product, advertised in an FSI that dropped in September or October of 2006 would have been cutting edge 17 years ago. Now it appears, at least outwardly, to be deceptive.

Why? Several things are conspicuously absent from this ad. The first, of course, is mention of which organization(s) will benefit from the sale of the “Hope” shoe. The second is any suggestion of how much donation will devolve to the unnamed organization(s) from each sale. When that information is missing, it’s easy to wonder if the promotion’s legit.

Worse, the first sentence of the body copy “…share in the hope for the future with this inspiring sculpture designed to help increase breast cancer awareness…” does little to dispel any doubts. Because you could argue that just having a Hope shoe in the households that buy them accomplishes mission of increasing breast cancer awarness. So who and what is the donation for?
Back in 1989, when cause-related marketing was still in its toddlerhood you could get away with these shortcomings. Now you can’t.

I don’t know any more about this promotion than what I read on the ad and on Hamilton’s website, which mirror each other, but part of the fault could lie with the breast cancer charities. As charities grow in size and their brand takes on additional meaning, they get all kinds of offers to do these kinds of promotions. To divide the wheat from the chaff the charities begin to require minimums, guarantees or additional fees from sponsors.

The approach works, but just as some wheat blows away with the chaff, some legitimate… if smaller... sponsors are lost to the winds.

But not listing the specific amount of donation is Hamilton Collection’s claimed donation is the company's fault, and bad cause-related marketing. In general, higher donations increase sales, although determining the exact best donation remains more art than science.

Finally, there’s the product itself. Many marketers to women decry the “pink it and shrink it” approach that Hamilton Collection has taken here. And although it isn’t always necessary for the product and cause to be related in a cause-related marketing promotion, a shoe named ‘Hope’ and breast cancer seem strained.

So a raspberry to Hamilton Collection for this ill-conceived cause-related marketing promotion.

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