Skip to main content

Puma Project Pink, Feel Free Not to Repeat in 2013

Today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2012 and I devote this final pink ribbon post to Project Pink, from Puma, the shoe and apparel company.

Project Pink is a contest of the sort made popular American Express’s Member’s Project and Pepsi Refresh. That is, causes nominate themselves to receive a large cash prize then rally their supporters to vote them through the rounds, usually via social media.

Beginning on July 6, 2012, Puma accepted nominations for a single prize worth as much as $120,000. The donation was based on the profits from the sale of Project Pink merchandise, mainly branded shorts and t-shirts, and by the number of tweets with a promotional hashtag. Promotion extensions included a celebrity soccer match with actor/singer Ashley Tisdale.

Project Pink had a verification phase in September and the voting began on Sept 24 and ended on October 5, 2012. Puma announced the winner earlier this month; the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.

I never really liked these kinds of cause marketing efforts, notwithstanding the fact that they can generate crazy social media exposure for the causes involved. But as they keep cropping up, I’ve begun to actively dislike them.

First off, I loathe the idea of pitting charities against each other for a public vote. Every adult knows that Komen and the pink ribbon charities compete fiercely against each other for supporters, racers, sponsors, etc. But there’s especially naked about the way that competition takes place in these kinds of contests.

People would like to believe that charities and causes can work together to improve society and the world. You and I know that’s sometimes na├»ve, but that doesn’t mean we have to put the competition between causes in such sharp relief. 

Second, these contests have had a real problem with people gaming them, notably Pepsi Refresh.

Third, the phase where the public votes can turn into the most desperate kind of beg-a-thon. Charities send out ever more fraught communications to their supporters trying to get out the vote.

Fourth, like all cause marketing, these contests favor causes that know how to position themselves before the public and have existing large networks of supporters.

It ends up being a very public demonstration of the ‘Matthew Effect.’ The Matthew Effect is drawn from Matthew 25:29 in the New Testament: “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” In application it means that the rich tend to get richer and the poor tend to get poorer. Think about it. Two pink ribbon causes both have good, if different ideas, about how to spend the Project Pink money. Only one of the organizations also has a database of 150,000 names and the capability of easily reaching out to them. Which pink ribbon charity is likely to get more votes?

I genuinely hope Project Pink didn’t meet Puma’s goals so that they don’t feel compelled to repeat it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …