Rugby player, Ben Cohen, has started a foundation to stop bullying, particularly against the LGBT community according to the NY Times. As the article readily notes, Mr. Cohen is straight–married with twins.
Cohen gained a gay following when posing for an underwear company. Rather than ignoring this as many athletes have, he embraced these fans. As news stories increased about gay bullying, and worse gay suicides among teens and college students, he felt compelled to help stop it.
Thus, he created Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. To support the work of the foundation, he is selling underwear–the source of his connection to this cohort.
So why is this better than other campaigns that attach a consumer purchase to a cause? Simple. This product is being sold by the cause. The attention remains on the cause. In cause marketing, the charity plays second fiddle to the consumer product–sure we see the pink ribbon, but we’re buying the $200 Tory Burch pink puffer jacket.
I applaud Mr. Cohen for his foundation and this was a good way to get publicity. My hope is that he will ultimately move on to other ways to fund his good work.