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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cashing-on on the oil spill, or doing some genuine good?

I heard an ad for a political candidate recently that said something like, “It’s not enough to clean-up the oil spill. It’s time to clean-up our act.” The message went on to explain how this candidate supported alternative and sustainable energy sources like wind, solar, etc. You’ll understand why I’ve chosen not to name the candidate here.

In another example of tying-in to the environmental tragedy that is happening in the Gulf right now, I read a story last week about Kenneth Cole selling t-shirts to help raise money for clean-up efforts. The company has started a Facebook store to facilitate the project, according to this story from Marketing Daily.

Implications: The ongoing oil spill off the coast of Louisiana has already earned the title of being the biggest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, so it is understandable (and appreciated) that marketers would want to tie-in to the cause. But proceed with caution, by asking this question: Are you tying-in to benefit communities, lands or wildlife affected by the spill? Or are you tying in for your own benefit? Without doing a lot of the former, I’d be very careful about trying the latter. My hunch is that the line between green and greed seems increasingly apparent to an ever more environmentally-aware population.

By the way… way to go, Kenneth Cole.

It’s okay to do well while doing some good. But doing one without the other is likely to be either unprofitable or in poor taste.

Mike Anderson

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