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Faux Cause Marketing Ads

I’ve been training people to look for ads that feature cause marketing and... among other things... I tell them to look for unusual logos, emotionally-charged words and special populations like military, fireman, children and animals.

At first blush these two ads… for Eukanuba and Novartis’s over-the-counter drug brands… both seem like they could be cause marketing. Except neither of them are.

The Eukanuba ad has a K-9 dog (with a name, no less) and the endorsement of a handsome, smiling police officer in uniform. Missing is some kind of cause for retired police dogs or some kind of shelter that takes in police dogs that have been injured in the line of duty.

In the Novartis FSI ad we see smiling adults… all women… and children. Surely these women are trying to improve their health by watching what they eat. Or maybe they’re training for a race event that will boost their health while raising some money for the American Heart Association or the HeartTruth.

There’s a special logo for Novartis Cares, which could be an employee-giving campaign or one of those free drug giveaway programs that some pharmaceutical operate for people at home and abroad who can’t afford the regular price of their drugs.

The body copy only reinforces the notion: “Your health and well-being is at the heart of everything we do.” Special emphasis is given to the word ‘heart.’

Instead, Novartis just wants us to buy some more Prevacid or Keri lotion.

Now, I have no problem with commerce. Someone has to get this economy going again and I’m fine if it’s people with dry skin or gas.

For that matter, 400 posts in this blog ought to affirm that I’m OK with most cause marketing, too. But when something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I’m disappointed when I find a dog in its place!


Feydakin said…
I'm not sure you can say that either of these ads is trying to cash in on the cause marketing aspect.. I don't really see anything in the ad copy itself that hints at giving in any way..

Yes, Eukanuba is using the iconic pink color more associated with breast cancer, and some of the logos used in the other ad might imply some sort of giving.. But I'm not convinced that they can be called out for anything underhanded..
Hi Steven:

I'd agree that it's not underhanded, but its is as as Gollum might put it, 'tricksy.'

Thanks for your comments.

Warm regards,

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