Cause Marketing Gone Terribly Wrong


An entrepreneur at heart, I subscribe to a great email newsletter that reports on unique businesses springing up around the globe (subscribe at springwise.com).  Last week, one of the featured businesses was a Los Angeles based company that shares the love each time you purchase a condom by donating one in a developing country (http://bit.ly/ipuIeY).  Besides cause marketing and condoms making strange bedfellows, I found this proposition humorous on many levels:

  • Priorities: Let’s see, should we give them something to eat, a shirt and pants, a place to call home, or a condom?  DEFINITELY THE CONDOM!
  • Arrogance: Imagine Bill Gates giving everybody in America a stick of deodorant.  Sure, we all need it, but rich people giving poor people something so trivial comes across as demeaning and insulting.
  • Purpose: Is the problem that people in developing countries cannot get a condom, or that they do not understand why they should use one?  Not sure, but let’s just do a fly-over and sprinkle the condoms!
  • Strategy: Is a consumer in the U.S. going to choose this higher priced condom over another because a freebie is shipped to Botswana?  Do buyers get a charitable tax deduction for 50% of the price?
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