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Cause Marketing from Dillard's That Doesn't Quite Fit

Dillard’s, the department store chain, has a cause marketing effort benefiting Feeding America that hits all the high points, until… cue the record scratch sound-effect… it doesn’t.

So what is Dillard’s doing right? It’s a pretty good list.

  • First off Dillard’s choose a venerable cause marketing partner, Feeding America, which has an accomplished record in cause marketing and a vitally important mission.

  • At $2 per transaction, the donation amount is generous.

  • The promotion itself is activated through this ad in my local newspaper.

  • There’s a QR code in the ad that leads to a video about Feeding America’s Give a Meal holiday campaign, so check off that cool tactical implementation.

  • Dillard’s, which has about 300 stores across most of the country, specifically states that the total donation amount is as much as the value of $40,000 in meals, so mark off the transparency checkmark, too.

So far, so good.

But here’s where Dillard’s stumbles, the promotion in question is for bras, shapewear, sleepwear, and other lingerie items. Like I said, cue the record scratch sound-effect.

What do well-fitting bra and panties have to do with hunger? Darned if I can guess.

And that would be OK if Feeding America had as much affinity as, say, Susan G. Komen for the Cure or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, both of which have enjoyed all kinds of outrageously unrelated cause marketing tie-ins over the years that were no problem because they generate so much affinity.

I’m not saying Feeding America can’t get to the point when bra fittings benefiting the charity don’t even raise an eyebrow from most people.

I’m just saying I don’t think they’re there yet.

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