Saturday, April 21, 2012

Token Efforts

Marketers love to applaud themselves for doing a good deeds and being good citizens of the world, obviously, with the hope that the goodwill generated will generate more sales.  If sales wasn't a motive, marketers wouldn't promote the hell out of their goodwill efforts.

One of new favorite goodwill efforts being promoted is from Banana Republic.  The chic retailer will donate up to $1 million dollars to the Opportunity Finance Network's Create Jobs for USA Fund, donating a percentage of revenue from two special shopping events this year.  Already underway, the first event is running from April 19th through April 22. 

Starbucks and Google are also taking part in the special shopping events for the Opportunity Finance Network, donating up to $3 million to the cause.

I guess this is what the retailer considers doing their part for America.  After reading the press release, I went to my closet and dug out some clothes that were purchased at Banana Republic.  What I found was not shocking.  Made In China. Made In Vietnam. Made in Egypt. Made in China. And one older shirt, somewhat surprisingly, made in the Northern Mariana Islands, a second commonwealth of the United States along with Puerto Rico.

Jack Calhoun, President of Banana Republic said "our focus is on workplace style, and it’s our mission to help create opportunities for people to fulfill their potential personally and professionally. We are thrilled to be one of the first national brands to support the Create Jobs for USA Fund from Starbucks and OFN. Our brand’s goal of helping people to achieve aligns to this program, which supports the many entrepreneurs and community businesses that are generating employment opportunities for people across the country.”


Doesn't Banana Republic doesn't consider themselves a community business who shares in the burden of creating jobs in this country?  Or is $1 million enough money to ease a guilty conscience and enough to strategically "align" the brand name with the cause.

To be clear, I truly don't take issue with Banana Republic wanting to improve their bottom line - they're a for profit company with a obligation to their shareholders first and foremost.  However, it's the phoney goodwill spin tactic where marketers try to align a brand to a mission it doesn't truly live for that I stand against

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