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As Seen on TV Cause Marketing

One of the pretenses of reality TV in the United States is doing whatever you do in the name of charity. It seems like half the bikes built on the show American Chopper, for instance, are made to be donated to or otherwise auctioned off on behalf of charity.

Likewise, basically every episode of The Celebrity Apprentice turns on one kind of charity fundraiser or another.

It sorta has to be that way. The Donald really doesn’t want to turn loose on his empire a bunch of half-competent 20-watt celebrities.

Before Arsenio Hall’s win on The Celebrity Apprentice May 20, 2012, Walgreens, the mega drugstore chain, developed and began selling a bracelet for $3, with $2 of that going to the Magic Johnson Foundation. The Foundation also received $250,000 thanks to Hall’s Apprentice win.

The card that holds the bracelet says that Walgreens was “inspired by Arsenio Hall’s work to support the Magic Johnson Foundation and created this bracelet to symbolize our joint commitment.” Walgreens had the bracelet in store before Hall’s win on live TV, so they didn’t start the campaign knowing how well he’d finish. (Unless, of course, 'the fix was in.')

But it’s evident that Walgreens may have moved faster than it could internally support the effort.

For instance, Arsenio’s promotional video for the bracelet directs you to walgreens.com/walk, which is Walgreens’ site that incentivizes customers to be physically active. The card above directs you to Walgreens.com/waytowell, which is Walgreens corporate responsibility site.

The waytowell site had a prominent placement of logos from the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. But no Magic Johnson. Not even a site search turned up any mention of the Magic Johnson Foundation.

Walgreens.com/walk, however, did turn up multiple mentions of the Magic Johnson Foundation.

Go figure.

Still, I got nothing but love for this effort and here's why:

Walgreens is a $73 billion (sales) company. We usually say that companies that big are flat-footed and slow to act. But not in this cause marketing promotion.

Kudos to Walgreens its Magic Johnson-like nimbleness. 

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