Sex sells: "Jingle Jugs," Dress for Success and the naked truth about cause marketing
I'm back from a quick trip to D.C. My overnight home was a Kimpton hotel, which is like living in a cause-marketing cube. The eco-bathroom, eco-bed, brochures touting a holistic spa, green living and free mind/body advice on TV--after about fifteen minutes of ubiquitous in-my-face virtue I was tossing clean towels on the floor and screaming at room service to wash them, NOW, dammit, and to hell with the phosphates!
Anyway, when I logged into the free wireless (hooray!) I got the Kimpton homepage, which put the whole thing in perspective. The chain is making a determined effort to target a young professional demographic, with a particular emphasis on women. In fact, I think it's the only hotel chain I've ever stayed in whose home page had a tab particularly devoted to women's interests.
An especially smart strategy: the partnership with Dress for Success, a charity that helps women-in-need develop professional careers.
Which got me thinking. Over-the-top green hype aside, the Kimpton marketing team is quite savvy, creating a hotel experience where you feel more like a real human being than a business tool in a fungible slot. If that isn't part of what social enterprise is all about, I don't know what is. And the place definitely wasn't a frattish guy biz hotel like so many I've been plunked in, replete with steak and cigars. The yoga pics and Dress-for-Success gave it the air of a quiet, confident post-movement feminism, a place that professional women could see as an extension of themselves.
In stark contrast to stuff like this:
(Warning: stuff below the jump is potentially NSFW)
First up, my nomination for what it quite possibly the worst cause marketing ever: "Jingle Jugs," fake breasts that sing and jiggle, with a portion of profits going toward breast cancer research:
The website JingleJugsforLife touts these animatronic breasts as a fun way for sororities and fraternities (!!!) to blend charity fundraising and humor; Gizmodo calls it "The Billy Bigmouth Bass for the Perv Generation."
The latter seems more accurate, but I'll let Chemorox have the last word.
What's the point of PETA's nude-hotties-for-veggies-against-fur ad campaigns? Is it to get women to feel that going vegan will make them more likely to look like an actress or model, or is it to get guys to go vegan in hopes of attracting one? In all likelihood, neither. My guess is, PETA is looking for a bit of borrowed glamor so folks won't see it as a bunch of self-righteous priggish scolds.
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