Cause-Related Marketing With an Edge

Does it feel like cause-related marketing is too sincere, too earnest, too sober? Too many soft piano chords and not enough wailing guitar licks?

In the last couple of weeks I’ve come across two cause-related marketing efforts… largely targeted to women… with a decidedly mischievous approach.

The first is from an outfit called ta-tas Brand Clothing, which produces T-shirts, other wearables, bumper stickers, and special soap meant to enable early breast cancer detection called ‘boob lube.’

Their signature T-shirt reads: “save the ta-tas,” but they offer a number of other cheeky variations like “caught you looking at my ta-tas.” “A portion of every sale is given to breast cancer research,” through the company’s foundation, The Save the ta-tas Foundation. To date, the website reports, sales of ta-tas merchandise has generated more than $185,000 in donations.

The second is more shocking still.

The ‘Eff’ Cancer Cross stitch Kit from Subversive Cross Stitch, generates a donation to Susan G. Komen.

Both would be stronger if they replaced the ‘portion of proceeds’ language for something more clearly defined.

The question is, would both be stronger if the campaigns weren’t so impertinent?

Yes and no. The ta-tas items are mainly just sassy. But the Eff cancer cross stitch is outrageous and therefore self-selecting, if not entirely unique; a little more than 1/3 of Subversive Cross Stitch’s current catalog features kits with the Eff word.

But what about the larger question; should cause-related marketing efforts be profane?

I confess to being old school on the subject. My scout leaders growing up (both cops) taught me that the person who resorts to profanity is almost certainly someone who lacks the capacity to give full flower to their feelings. Maybe that’s true.

All I know is that while cancer is a vicious killer, my mother somehow managed to face down breast cancer without resorting to profanity. Cancer killed my father, but he never felt obliged to utter a vulgarity about it.

I won’t suggest for a minute that either of these items is a slippery slope or the thin edge of the wedge that illustrates the sad decline of modern mores.

All I’m saying is, I myself will not buying any of these products.


[Tip of the hat to Kate, a member of the Cause-Related Marketing GoogleGroup for turning me on to Subversive Cross Stitch].

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