Too Small Cause-Related Marketing

I’ve taken nonprofits to task for being too subtle in their recognition of sponsors. Now with this ad from York Peppermint Patty, the shoe’s on the other foot.

The ad appeared in the June-July 2008 issue of Elle magazine. And down there at the very bottom of the ad is a pink ribbon and words that read in mice-type: “York is a proud supporter of the Young Survivor Coalition.”

York Peppermint Patties, a unit of The Hershey Company, is packaged both as individual units and in bags of multiple units, but the per piece price is generally less than $0.50. It’s cheap candy, in other words.

Do you need to advertise even cheap candy? Of course. Stop doing it for while and watch your sales drop. Does York Peppermint Patties need to advertise in Elle, a fashion magazine for young women?

It’s not a choice I’d have made, especially with this creative.

The headline… ‘70% Less Fat’… is certainly targeted to the audience. But the subhead… “(And they say there isn’t any good news anymore.)”… seems better suited for Modern Maturity.

And whether or not you buy the 70 percent less fat claim or not, the fact is they’re advertising candy… that’s certainly not sugar and calorie-free after all… in a magazine where every other page has pictures of skinny girls.

In fact, the best part of this ad is down about ¾” off the bottom of the page. It’s the part about York’s support of the Young Survivors Coalition, which works with breast cancer survivors under age 40. Such women have a higher mortality rate than their older peers and worries about things like fertility and the effect their breast cancer will have on young children, something their older sisters don’t share. And the Young Survivor’s Coalition is the only nonprofit in that specific space.

It’s an important mission, in other words, one that Hershey and York has supported since 2006.

So why soft-pedal the relationship with the Young Survivor Coalition? Why not double the point of the type and add an 8-word clause like this: “York is a proud supporter of the Young Survivor Coalition, the organization for young women with breast cancer”?

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