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Make Friends with a Copy Editor

On this blog my job is to highlight and dissect the best and worst cause marketing campaigns and creative. Today the campaign in question edges closer to the latter than the former.

This campaign by Dial/Henkel… whose tagline is “A Brand Like a Friend”… is cute enough, but what the FSI needs is a friendly copy editor.

In July, soap-maker The Dial Corporation ran this FSI, which features Dial’s corporate parent Henkel, a German conglomerate. The campaign asked people to submit a 200-word essay to Dial/Henkel to help with a neighborhood cleanup.

The winner was Lorrie G. of Gainesville, Texas who wrote:

"In June Gainesville, TX made national news. Our community was devastated with a horrific flood. We are still cleaning it up. We had 2 children and one adult die because of the flood. We have a small zoo. There were no animals killed, but it did flood the landscape, especially the children’s educational center. Most was lost. Most of the city’s parks were right by the creeks that flooded downtown. They could use some cosmetic surgery. We have a historical train depot that was flooded by the creeks. It could use some renovation and maybe some paint. Here are a few reasons to choose our community for clean up. Perhaps you can help, and we would be thankful."

Over the week-long online voting period Gainesville beat out entries from other finalists Staunton, Va. and Chittenango, NY. On Sept. 28, Gainesville received a visit from 15-member crew of Henkel employees who themselves were selected after submitting a written essay, and demonstrating a history of community involvement.

Ignore for a moment the question of why Henkel is branding itself so prominently in this campaign. There are certainly a few legitimate reasons to do so. But it’s also something of a branding fad right now. SC Johnson, GE, and a bunch more all choose to brand the mother ship, too.

No, my real question is why couldn’t Henkel’s agency hire a fastidious, no-nonsense copy editor?

Here’s what I mean. The header below Henkel’s logo and tagline reads: “Making your life Easier, Better, More Beautiful.”

The copy deck below it mirrors the headline: “Henkel employees are rolling up their sleeves, and they want to make your community easier (my emphasis), better and more beautiful.”

On Sept. 28 when Henkel’s 15 employees swept into Gainesville, how exactly did they make the city ‘easier’?


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