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Firedog Across America

More is More

This ad for Firedog Across America ran in the local newspaper last month. In the campaign people are invited to submit an essay that describes how a local firehouse has been a service to the community.

Firedog is the digital technology services division of electronics retailer Circuit City.

Ten firehouses will receive donations of $20,000 each and an additional $100,000 grand prize will go to the winning firehouse. The person who submits the winning essay for each of the 10 finalist will receive a “$10,000 tech makeover from Firedog.”

Once the ten finalists are determined, they will be posted at where people can vote for their favorite entry. Over the course of 16 days each vote is worth $1 to that firehouse, although the total amount for all the firehouses is capped at $250,000, no matter how many ballots are cast.

I like the $10,000 inducement to get people to nominate a local firehouse. That all but guarantees responses. But what caught my eye was the donation amount; $200,000 to be split between 10 firehouses. Even though another $100,000 grand prize will be made to the winning firehouse, the total amount just seems too low.

The Firedog website says that the total donation may be as high as $650,000, but that includes two $100,000 donations that have already been made to the FDNY Foundation and the National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children’s Foundation.

In general, the higher the donation greater the response. But in experiments conducted by Professor Mahmood M. Hajjat, PhD, at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman he found that this was only always true when the cause and sponsoring company were a ‘fit.’ When there was no fit, cause-related marketing did no better than ‘ordinary marketing.’

Now Professor Hajjat’s experiments measured only intent to purchase, so it’s an imperfect test in my view. The market itself would provide greater sureness. But it does provide some confirmation of what I’ve long suspect in my gut; more is more.

I think Firedog has a good fit with the firehouses of America. But in my view, Firedog Across America would perform better if the donation amount was greater.


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