Cause-Related Marketing and High-End Interior Design

By now cause-related marketing has penetrated almost every kind of market. Here’s more proof that cause-related marketing finding a home at the high end: when you buy a rug from Dan Golden Inc., a New York City designer and maker of high-end hand-tufted wool rugs, the company will buy a sheep for a family in a developing country from Oxfam.

Golden’s work, which is sometimes in the form of the cheeky ‘rug-cartoon’ like the piece on the left and sometimes more straightforward, sell at retail starting around $3,000 and range north of $13,000 depending on the size.

The Dan Golden website is, naturally, rather artsy and the mention of the campaign is quite subtle. But that befits the audience and the artist. Since Golden’s rugs are made of sheep’s wool, a sheep is the right animal to donate. It can be sheared and the wool sold or bartered. Sheep can also be milked.

The cause, too, is a good fit even though Oxfam is not known primarily for its animal donation efforts. Heifer International has long been the leader in that approach. But Heifer is in Little Rock, Arkansas and is just a little churchy. Oxfam was founded at Oxford, UK, and the U.S. branch is headquartered in Boston. The much larger Oxfam also has strongly progressive bent in its approach to humanitarian aid, which is appropriate for Golden’s customers.

Dan Golden, Inc. could do a little more and still remain understated.

Here’s one idea: Golden could purchase the wool from the families who have received the donated sheep and then produce a specially-designed rug inspired by those families (or their sheep!). Golden could then sell that rug at a premium, with an extra donation built in. Or, Golden could donate one of them to Oxfam for auction at a gala, and sell the rest in the regular fashion.

Heck, if I were at an Oxfam gala I’d bid for a Dan Golden rug that was made of wool from sheep that had been donated.

Of course I’d loose the bid to the guy in the Brioni tux with the trophy wife dripping with Van Kleef & Arpels diamonds, but you get the picture.

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