In my ongoing effort to identify and root out faux cause marketing I came across this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database from Church & Dwight, makers of Arm & Hammer baking soda products, including, in this case, Feline Pine kitty litter.
The ad depicts militant beret-wearing cats fronted by ‘Che Gato,’ paws of fury raised against clay kitty litter, and the attendant dust, perfumes, and harsh chemicals. Che Gato is even looking left of the camera's perspective, like the iconic picture of Che Guevara.
The headline rages Karl Marx-style ‘Cats of the World Rejoice, We Now Have a Better Choice!’ Placards raised by other protesting cats declare, ‘We Want Feline Pine,’ and ‘We Are C.A.C.’
And that’s where the faux cause marketing comes into play. There’s a website with a dot-org extension; catsagainstclay.org.
Now any of us could go and register an available dot-org extension. It’s not like ICANN, the official registrar of top-level Internet domain extensions, checks anyone’s nonprofit bona fides before allowing someone to register a dot-org domain name.
That said, there’s a widespread expectation that a dot-org extension means that the website is for the public good. But when you go to www.catsagainstclay.org, it sends you directly to the product’s regular URL.
Combining the dot-org extension with this ad that depicts insurrection suggests that there’s a real revolution underway. But Che Gato notwithstanding, there’s no revolution. Just faux cause marketing.
Now I’ve praised Air Tran for its faux cause marketing, which pokes fun at the over-earnest tropes of nonprofit advertising. Had Church & Dwight turned any of the photos of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro into cat versions of the famous revolutionaries, I could laugh at that, too. But Che Gato by himself just isn't revolutionary enough to be funny faux cause marketing.
But as it stands this faux cause marketing effort deserves to be derided as a half-measure.
Labels: Air Tran, Arm and Hammer, Che Guevara, Church and Dwight, Faux Cause Marketing Ads, Feline Pine, Fidel Castro, ICANN, Karl Marx