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Cause Marketing With Sex Appeal

Actress, supermodel, TV producer, philanthropist, and mother of four Heidi Klum wants you to buy the hoodie off her back to benefit StandUp2Cancer, the telethon and charity.

The hooded sweatshirt retails on the STU2C website for $46.99 and features versions of its logo on front and back. Klum, of course, is lovely and talented and STU2C is an admirable, innovative and hard-pressing cause. STU2C has always struck me as a charity in a hurry, and I like that about them. Cancer has bedeviled the world for too long as far as I'm concerned. The ad at the left is from the August 1, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

But here’s comes the ‘but.’ I’m always little chary when causes use sex to sell.

Certainly other cause marketing campaigns use sex in their campaigns. MAC Cosmetics uses sex very effectively in its ads benefiting the MAC AIDS Fund. But then again, that approach is true to MAC's brand and corporate ethos.

While STU2C commonly uses celebrities like Klum in their ads, this is the most sexually charged ad that I’ve seen from them… and I’ll bet I’ve got 20 different STU2C ads in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

Why does it matter?

Here’s why: how does STU2C know whether it’s the sex appeal or the cause that’s working on people?

Now, to be fair, it may be that with this ad STU2C is in fact testing a more sexualized approach to its advertising. But I hope not.

There’s just something too weird about cancer pin-up girls.

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