Clarins–A lesson how not to do Cause Marketing


Clarins has created a new cause marketing campaign in conjunction with Macy’s and the Feed Project, which it is calling a “gift with purpose” instead of a “gift with purchase” — the standard in makeup promotion.

According to the NY Times:

For 10 days beginning on Wednesday, when shoppers buy two Clarins items at Macy’s, along with adding the typical premium of six trial-size products, Clarins will donate $1 to an antihunger group, the equivalent of paying for 10 school meals. The promotion is a partnership between Clarins, Macy’s and Feed Projects, which addresses children’s hunger and malnutrition globally.

The article goes on to explain–at some length–that the charity is connect to the Bush family and Ralph Lauren and other celebrities. Women who purchase the cosmetics will get a “Feed 10″ bag as shown in the picture.

Quoting a spokesperson for Macy’s the real point of the campaign becomes clear:

“This idea of a ‘gift with purpose’ is a really great opportunity,” Ms. Thomas said. “With no energy or lift on the customers’ part, they get this really feel-good element with the shopping experience.”

While consumers get to feel good (and presumably look pretty), they don’t have to think about children going hungry nor do they get information about how they can really help or a picture of whom it is they are helping–something that Carol Cone so aptly notes.

The last thing that needs to be questioned is why is a cosmetic company donating to a food cause? Sure, it appeals to its consumer base but it has nothing to do with their business. Wouldn’t giving free makeovers to survivors of cancer, for example, make more sense?

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