Friday, April 24, 2009

The Apologist Trap

When aligning your brand with a “good” cause, be careful. It may be tempting to try to make amends for the things your company gets angry letters about. For example, Budweiser may get letters from the families of drunk driving victims. And indeed, many booze brands run ads telling us to “drink responsibly.” You see where this is going.

Should a booze brand create a Marketing+Good campaign that says, “for every purchase, a donation will be made to MADD”? No doubt, it’s a fantastic cause, but this strategy backfires for a booze brand. Suddenly, instead of aligning a positive brand attribute with a positive customer belief, Budweiser is admitting it’s complicit in a huge problem. Not great marketing.

Instead, they can think about what the brand stands for (“fun, escape, sports, possibilities, Clydesdales”), and maybe find something that consumers can embrace, that they don’t have to apologize for. How about, “put a college athlete through senior year” – the Bud scholarship fund. (Can’t do anything under-age, of course.) Or, emphasizing its American roots and natural ingredients, a tie in to Farm Aid wouldn’t be too far a stretch. The beer company supports American farmers, and so can you. A real reason to buy Bud over Miller, align values with the customer, and do a little good in the process.

More on "bad seed brands" and Good, in later posts.

(PS - I stole that image from someecards, which are fantastic, and available HERE.) I'm reading: The Apologist TrapTweet this!

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