Why Even Absurd Cause-Related Marketing Has its Place

Buy a Bikini, Help Cure Cancer

New York City (small-d) fashion designer Shoshonna Lonstein Gruss may have one of the more absurd cause-related marketing campaigns I’ve come across lately. When you buy the bikini or girls one-piece swimsuit at Bergdorf-Goodman in New York shown at the left all sales “proceeds” benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Look past the weak ‘proceeds’ language, which I always decry, and think for a moment about the incongruities of the sales of swimsuits benefiting the legendary Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Cancer has nothing to do swimming or swimsuits or summering in The Hamptons for that matter. And it’s not clear from her website why Shoshanna, the comely lass who once adorned the arm of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, has chosen the esteemed cancer center to bestow her gifts, although a web search shows that she’s supported its events for years.

Lesser critics would say that the ridiculousness of it all is a sign that cause-related marketing is quickly headed for its nadir.

And lesser critics would be wrong.

Cause-related marketing has now penetrated every continent (save Antarctica) and visited every clime.

Cause-related marketing is a big tent and getting bigger. And as the stakes of the tent get pulled further back and the acreage under the fabric gets ever larger, cause-related marketing grows ever more diverse.

And now the cause-related marketing tent is big enough and varied enough that it encompasses the sophisticated and the unpretentious, the artful and the artless, the splendid and the dorky.

So I say “bully to Shoshanna and her odd little cause-related marketing campaign.”

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