Marketing with the wrong cause

“Cause Marketing is like doing business by doing web without damaging the image of the enterprise,” reads a letter sent to business people to “increase business and improve the image of the company.” For 1,200 euros per person, they teach in one day and a half how to obtain decisive fidelity from clients supporting a social cause according to the particularities of the demand.
They point the “priority values of their target: Hunger, fight against drugs and the protection of the natural environment… avoiding the cause-effect relationship between the product and the supported cause.”
Therefore, to “plan a Cause Marketing that increases the company’s benefits,” will help them detect the values inherent to its market segment, to select the partner and the project “in a way that will be web received by the public and to achieve the most social resonance possible.” They don’t bother to care when it comes to guaranteeing the program’s direction “with transparency to reduce consumers’ skepticism: the triangle between the client, the non-profit organization and the company… and avoid to engage in the exploitation of the cause by the company from the client’s point of view.”
They maintain the necessity to benefit from a humanitarian association without profit motivation to increase the benefits of a company. It doesn’t matter if there is money, arms, tobacco, mortgages, alcohol or pollutant trafficking involved.
It’s frightening that they had identified the values to which public opinion is the most sensitive: hunger, drugs and the natural environment. They will soon add children exploitation, violence against women, war victims or the dying sick. Produce pavor que hayan identificado los valores ante los que la opinión pública es más sensible: el hambre, las drogas y el medio ambiente.
The key is in finding an Non Government Organization that doesn’t ask too many questions, that will be willing to receive an amount of money “for the work full of merit they do” and to get coverage in the media “to achieve the most social resonance possible.”
According to this model, it’s not about alleviating suffering, combat the causes of marginalization, hunger, exploitation of the weakest beings, but of selling more and making more money that, on the other hand, will increase thanks to the fiscal unaccountability of the donated quantities.
We believe that the quality of a product and service is that on which marketing should inform. NGO’s must not present themselves to these activities because the ends will never justify the means. The labor of the companies that support social work without getting anything in exchange lacks loses any virtue

José Carlos Gª Fajardo

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 03/29/2004