I sometimes recommend strategies that are about differentiating through brand integrity – how a brand treats its customers, employees, community and the environment. Lately it seems everyone is jumping on this bandwagon, even more than ever. Or maybe I am just noticing it more. But as friend, former colleague, fellow strategist John Karlson and I were discussing recently, there is a big difference between making a quick buck off of a cause marketing promotion and making an authentic long-term commitment to a social mission, corporate responsibility, brand integrity, whatever you want to call it.
For example, which one do you think this is, from Dawn dish soap (P&G)?
Smells like the former “quick buck” strategy to me, and the very healthy discussion of the spot on YouTube seems to mostly agree, though it’s definitely the “Skeptic” segment pitted against the “Pollyanna” segment who ran out and bought Dawn because the commercial is cute and the music is great. If you know me, read my blog regularly, or follow me on Twitter, you know which segment I fall into
The commenters point out that P&G tests its products on animals, while the company states that such testing is a last resort. Which, in effect, is sort of a corporate escape hatch, IMHO. Further, the company has formed a “strategic partnership” with the American Humane Society “committed to the elimination of animal use for consumer product evaluation.” Was the objective of that strategy really “doing the right thing”? Or was it “form a defense against PETA”? Either way, if I can be super tactical for a moment, the fact that the spot is a Simulated Demonstration calls its authenticity into question.
Lo and behold, Dawn’s actual Good Guide rating is a whopping 5.7 out of 10. Not “Terrible” – though of couple of their products are rated “Terrible” in the health category – but certainly not good enough to call themselves the environmental good guys. So I’m officially calling BS on this Good Guy strategy, folks.
What do you think? Do you think P&G is for real in this case? Or do you think its corporate whitewashing? If you know anyone from P&G, feel free to invite them to weigh in. I would love to be proven wrong.