Monday, March 1, 2010

Loads Of Hope...And Great PR

Many of you may already be aware of Tide's Loads of Hope program which travels to disaster areas and provides laundry services (free of charge) to people in need. Such a program is no doubt rooted in a desire to help others, and the perceived obligation for a successful company to give back to communities. However, the enormous amount of positive PR generated by a campaign of this kind are not lost on marketers.

Loads of Hope provides a very valuable service to those affected by disasters often being made to live without electricity or running water. The fact that Tide is taking the time to do this means a lot to the people in need...and to the people learning about the effort through the ad campaign. While those directly benefiting from this service are now very likely to be life-long Tide loyalists once their lives are back to normal; average consumers who may have loyalties elsewhere, or traditionally opt for the brand offering a sale, are now more likely to support the brand they know to be making a difference in the world.

Tide goes a step further to make it even easier for the customer to choose. Tide does not have to rely on the buyer to make the purchase only because they want to support a company that offers support to others. Tide actually gives the buyer the option to directly support the effort themselves with their purchase. One part of this campaign was to encourage consumers to purchase Tide products with a special cap or seal for a portion of the sale to go to relief efforts.

This is an easy decision for a consumer to make - 'buy something you were going to buy anyway; just be sure to buy it from us and you will be making a difference in the world as well'. Such a promotion gets the people themselves involved with the campaign, and lets people offer help even when they can't physically go to the affected area or donate large sums of money. They can thank Tide for the opportunity.

In the most recent commercial I saw from Tide promoting this campaign, they offered another for average citizens to support. Only this time buyers will also be helping the advertising efforts of Tide in the process. The call to action is to buy a Tide vintage t-shirt (you've probably seen someone wearing one of these before just for fun) and the proceeds will go towards disaster relief. This is another way to support the cause, and by wearing the t-shirt consumers will be promoting the Tide brand everywhere they go (and, for those who have seen the ad, remind them of the positive works Tide is involved in).

Put all of these marketing ideas together and you have one solid campaign that works on several different levels to promote the brand and encourage sales while having lasting effects on consumers.