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Cause Marketing That Doesn’t Quite Come Together

'Girlfriends for Folate' from the March of Dimes aims to encourage women of reproductive age to take a daily supplement of 400mcg of folic acid so as to prevent certain kinds of birth defects in any children they might bear, and to make donations to the cause and/or participate in its annual walk.

The campaign is sponsored by Bayer and features a celebrity component, a sweepstakes element, and is tied directly to the March of Dimes' March for Babies, which takes place the weekend of April 30, 2011.

So far so good. The problem is that everything doesn’t quite come together.

The ad, from May 2011 issue of Lucky magazine, mentions a celebrity, but not the name, which is a waste. Girlfriendsforfolate.com, a Facebook page, lists the celebrity as Vanessa Minnillo, the TV personality who is currently engaged to singer Nick Lachey.

Meanwhile, the ad in Lucky asks you to donate to the cause. But while you could sign up for the walk on the Facebook page, so far as I could tell there wasn’t a donation option.

Likewise, the magazine ad asks you to involve your girlfriends… Lucky’s audience is women probably 18-32… but aside from the usual Facebook ‘Share’ button, there was no special way to do that.

The information on folic acid on the Facebook page is all there, if a little dry. But it’s not really optimized to allow you to share it. A 5-question quiz on the value of folic acid is the full extent of interactivity.

It’s like the March of Dimes and Bayer have the recipe and all the components for a delicious cake but they stopped after they putting all the ingredients on the counter.

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