I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal talking about how soap makers and others are hitching their ads to Swine Flu. That’s a very, very slippery rope– no pun intended.
However, brands like Dial are tweaking their message to focus on germ-fighting by washing your hands. They’re not specifically referencing Swine Flu, but are reminding the public that washing your hands can reduce the spread of germs. Same goes for hand sanitizers, and both are getting big endorsements already as the CDC’s number one tip for reducing the spread of Swine Flu is to wash your hands.
The WSJ article quotes Dean Crutchfield, an independent branding consultant who says:
“Trying to capitalize on the nation’s fear is quite a sleazy course of conduct. Instead of increasing their ad budgets, marketers should be donating resources to schools and hospitals and creating an aura of goodwill around their brands. This is a time when you show who you really are.”
I don’t know Dave, but if I did, I’d give him a big pat on the back. He couldn’t have said it better and that’s the kind of thinking we do here at the Mason Onofrio camp. If your brand is thinking of supporting a national (or even local) crisis, don’t just do it to jump on the bandwagon. Do it to make a difference and make a concentrated effort of truly supporting the cause. This can be done through the donation of product, manpower (if possible), company resources, and in some cases, financial “in-kind” donations.
So I’ll leave you with this. One of my favorite campaigns that’s being advertised all over national television. It’s from Tide and it’s called “Tides for Hope“, a very smart campaign that helps families affected by natural disasters get clean laundry. Imagine yourself losing everything you have, living out of a hotel and wanting a clean change of clothes. Check out the video. Very cool stuff!
Oh yeah. One more thing. Are you following us on Twitter? Come along for the ride!