For Social Cause Advertising, Try 'Disenfranchise Marketing'
by Clifford R. Medney
Most people in the business of marketing have carved out a niche in
one of the respective disciplines -
advertising, promotion, public relations,
direct response, etc. Regardless of which path you've chosen,
as a true
professional you consider yourself a marketing person first and an advertising
direct response) person second. It's like being an American
first and a New Yorker a close second.
In essence, the "big picture" comes first, or at least it should.
But unless I've missed
something, it really hasn't in the case of "social
cause" marketing. Marketing efforts against drug
abuse, AIDS and the
environment, to name a few, are one dimensionally skewed from an advertising
Little of the so-called marketing integration flows from a master
marketing plan where each respective
discipline carries the message forth
on its own weight.
To be effective against such enormous consumer franchises as the illegal
drug trade, we have to start
viewing it as a "product," like
a giant bar of soap out of control. Accordingly, we have to apply
consumer franchise-building techniques used in successful product marketing
to help retard the growth -
to disenfranchise the "product" from
the purchaser. I believe the long-term value of a disenfranchise
direction (franchise building in reverse), both in planning and execution
will realize more
significant gains against objectives, i.e. awareness,
Even the dynamic and dramatic
advertising produced by the Partnership for
a Drug Free America is hard put to reach its maximum effectiveness
in a limited media environment.
While it may exist, I haven't seen a promotion vehicle
delivering the Partnership's
creative strategy. The integration of "street-level" promotional
efforts so inherently part of effective consumer marketing would enhance
the impact of the media message.
I'm referring to, for example, "point of purchase" material that
hits just as hard as advertising.
Posters on street comers and incentive-based
programs such as stay clean and "win" (vocational training)
impact some users. We need to start viewing the marketing community's contributions
towards social causes
a little differently The contributions must come
from an integrated marketing program.
Whether we're talking about "disenfranchising" efforts against
the drug trade or consumer
consciousness-building on environmental issues,
unless we start viewing situations in terms of true product
we will never realize the power of our collective disciplines.
Mr. Medney is director of sales promotion for A&W Brands, White
Plains, New York.
Reprinted with permission from Advertising Age.