Skip to main content

Prostate Cancer Foundation Bunts a Blooper Into the Infield

In baseball, a bunt is a small hit that goes no farther than the infield.

And bunt is what the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) did with this ad that I’ve seen recently in Newsweek and BusinessWeek magazines.

The ad’s call to action is that you go online and pledge “as little as” $1 for each home run hit during Major League Baseball play between Thursday, June 11 and Father’s Day, a holiday celebrating fathers that falls on Sunday June 21 this year.

Why? Well 186,500 men in the United States are stricken with prostate cancer each year. And, “in the time it takes to play nine innings” nine men die of the disease, about 30,000 men a year.

The PCF estimates that 143 home runs are likely to be hit over the 11-day period between June 11 and June 21. But while the body copy says you can pledge as little as $1 per home run, in fact, you can pledge as little as $0.25 cents.

While these kinds of scoring-linked promotions are common enough, they’re usually set up so that a sponsor makes a donation whenever a pre-designated number of three-point shots are made by the home team in basketball, for instance. In such cases, at the end of the game the announcer inside the arena intones that “the insurance agents of Allstate just made a $500 donation to Big Brothers and Big Sisters.”

It’s satisfying to hear that some sponsor is on the hook for another donation to a worthy cause. But when it’s you who’s on the hook, as in this promotion from the PCF, are you hoping for a lot of home runs or relatively few?

Given that, this would be a better promotion if there was some kind of match from a fat cat corporate sponsor, whereby for every dollar you pledge the sponsor matches all or part of it.

I don’t see what the headline or the illustration has to do with the call to action. If PCF wants to trumpet its researchers that’s fine. But it’s self-defeating to force a relationship between prostate research, MLB, and a donation plea in one ad.

Moreover, I ask myself why the illustration draws equivalency between an unnamed hitter from an unnamed team and unnamed researcher in a white coat, both of which look like stock photos.

PCF has secured the support of 10 big leaguers. Why not feature a picture of big-leaguer Ken Griffey Jr., one of PCF’s supporters, and recount a scenario that describes how teamwork won an important game?

I’m puzzled also by how Major League Baseball is treated in the ad. The language makes it seem like the MLB is a hesitant participant at best.

It seems like PCF is trying to brand Father’s Day. It would make sense. The breast cancer charities have successfully branded October and the heart charities have branded February. June is probably open to be branded for prostate cancer. But Father’s Day is just one more element in an ad that is already too cluttered.

I question why the body copy leads with a question, which is almost always a weak approach. For readers it’s too easy to respond to such questions with a question of their own: “Who cares?”

Then there’s the callout quote in orange, directly above the logos: “When everybody does their part, the whole team wins.” True enough. But I don’t think ‘team guilt’ really works for people who aren’t yet part of the team.

Finally, this campaign cries out for a contest element. I imagine something like when you make a pledge, you enter to win a trip to the All Star Game or even the World Series. These kind of contests require an alternate (read: free) form of entry. But that’s OK because those entries can be the start of a mailing list.

This ad and this campaign could be home runs. Too bad the PCF decided to bunt.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Alden Keene Cause Marketing Stock Index Dramatically Outperforms Other Indices

There are stock indexes galore; the Dow, S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, the Wilshire 5000, the FTSE, and hundreds more. But how would an index of the stocks of companies that do a meaningful amount of cause marketing perform compared to those well-known indexes? Pretty well, as it turns out.

I first floated the idea of a stock index that would track companies that do cause marketing back in 2009. I tried to figure out Yahoo Pipes so that I could put the feed right into this blog. But alas sometimes the geek gene does fall pretty far from the tree.

So I talked to programmers to see if I could find someone who could do the same, but it was always more than I was willing to pay.

Finally, last week I hired a MBA student to do it all in a spreadsheet, and what do you know but that over the last 15 years a basket of 25 cause marketing stocks dramatically outperforms the Dow, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite, and the Wilshire 5000.

The index, which I call the Alden Keene Cause Market…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Pimping for Constant Contact

OK, not pimping really. More like a gentle noodge to nonprofits and the companies that love them that it’s time to start email marketing.

I was invited to a local presentation on email marketing from Constant Contact, the Waltham, Massachusetts email marketing outfit whose target market is small businesses and nonprofits.

They offer a cause-related marketing campaign called Care4Kids meant to benefit children’s causes. Constant Contact customers are invited to nominate worthy 501(c)(3) children’s charities to receive a free account along with the training to create an effective email campaign.

Non children’s charities are probably still eligible for charity discounts. If you’re outside the United States you might be able to induce Constant Contact to consider your cause. Alternately, you could suggest a similar program to email marketing vendors in your home country.

It goes without saying… I hope… that every nonprofit needs an email marketing component. Email marketing is a good deal lik…