Skip to main content

Love the Cause Marketing, Hate the Ad

As a marketer and a consumer I love Target. The house brands are terrific. The Target I shop most frequently seems to have more checkers that any Walmart I’ve ever been in. I love all the 'cheap chic' they sell. And their branding is dynamite. That big red bulls eye, the funky, super-visual TV ads, the 5% of income to charity. The partnerships with St. Jude and other nonprofits. It’s all great.

Of course in the great recession Walmart’s still kicking Target’s can, even though Target swears Walmart’s prices aren’t any better. Sometimes it seems to me that a contributing factor to Walmart’s continuing domination of Target is that all the damn branding Target does sometimes gets in the frickin’ way.

Case in point is this ad from the August 30, 2010 People magazine.

The promotion involves Baby Buggy, Jessica Seinfeld’s 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that donates infant and baby supplies to homeless shelters, parent programs, court child centers, and the like.

Throughout the year-long promotional period when you buy something from their special line, Target will donate 10% of the purchase price to Baby Buggy to give to participating charities. Target’s minimum donation is $300,000 and the maximum is $500,000. Supporting sponsors include Avent, Boppy and Kimberly Clark.

The Baby Buggy-branded onesie the infant is shown features illustrations from the artist and book illustrator Maira Kalman. Other artist/designers will be featured during the promotional period.

Too bad Kalman, or someone else with sense, didn’t get a hold of this ad. The headline is in white type! The explanatory text is in white type, too. But it’s so small I had to get my school-age daughter to read it to me. Remember those stories of high school kids who set their cell phone ring tones at frequencies their teachers couldn’t hear? That white type is sorta like that.

Maybe that’s what Target had in mind, ad copy so small only young mothers in bright light could read it. But not every new mother is 22, or standing in the bright sun when they read People magazine. And grandmas buy infant clothes and supplies, too.

Or maybe that half bulls eye just above the body copy is so stupidly big that the art director for this ad had to shrink everything else down to get it all in.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

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…

Unconventional Metrics of Cause Marketing Power

The printed edition of Fortune Magazine runs a regular feature called ‘My Metric’ wherein business leaders identify informal but telling measures of current economic activity.

In the January 17, 2011 Michael Glimcher, CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust cited as his metric an increased number of black cars on the streets of New York City as a sign of the U.S. economy’s (still pending?) resurgence.

That got me thinking, what unconventional metrics evidence the power of certain cause marketing efforts?

One immediately leapt to mind, although only General Mills, which makes Yoplait yogurt in the U.S., can measure it.

The Yoplait lid at left... which I purchased in December 2010... can NOT be redeemed for a $0.10 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Instead it promotes Yoplait’s sponsorship of Komen’s Race for the Cure events, which are numerous.

But I’d bet you a six-pack of Yoplait Greek Honey Vanilla that people nonetheless still send in some number of the lids above in an attempt to redeem th…