17 October, 2007

Branding Me Softly

So I bought a pink can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup the other day. See, the can is pink because—like companies all over the country—Campbell’s has seen the potential for good karma by colorizing its products to promote breast cancer awareness and research. And, as some marketers have shown, the revenues from going pink aren’t bad either.

I admit it. I’m a slave to packaging, and The Pink is a prime example, though my reasons for buying aren’t always what marketers might’ve had in mind. For example, that Campbell’s Soup can is more than a symbol of my support for the cause—it’s my rebuttal for every time I’ve been called a lout, a misogynist, or an uncaring pig—which, for reasons I can’t figure out, happens with alarming frequency. Now I can whip out my pink Campbell’s can and say, “What? I didn’t hear you. I was too busy preparing my cream of mushroom soup—and supporting cancer awareness.”

Apparently I’m not the only one with questionable motives. A recent AP article casts some doubt on the reasoning behind some companies’ decision to go Pink. It suggests that some companies may be shortchanging the worthy causes they co-op with when it comes time to cut a donation check. Regardless, it’s obvious that cross-marketing for a cause has become pretty chic.

I am, however, going to call marketers out on one point. I can’t help but notice that most “pink-tinting” is reserved for products that have traditionally been purchased by women, like the Dyson vacuum. Last time I checked, most women were pretty aware of the fight against breast cancer. Furthermore, I’d say many even go as far as to contribute, donate, and participate in events that support the cause. In effect, they’re preaching to choir. Maybe the AP article’s skepticism has some merit. Maybe companies aren’t trying hard enough.

You want real exposure? Appeal to your untapped market: oblivious males. The time has come to make a meaningful connection with this demo. Get them on board. I invite companies every where to challenge the traditional awareness initiatives, with a fresh philosophy that reaches out to the guys, too. With the potential to boost breast cancer awareness by nearly 100%, it just makes sense to rethink and rebrand all things macho, all things rugged, all things mega-manly. Just do it softly:

I see a new age in cause-marketing on the horizon; a movement towards Neo-Think Pinkery, if you will.

Oh, yes, we will. We all will.

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