Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Naked Truth about Marketing

by Aly Lewis

Early this morning I was cruising the blogosphere, minding my own business, when I came across a shocking post by William Easterly on his blog, Aid Watch. It stated: Supermodel vows to stay naked till USAID funds reach starving children.

After literally laughing out loud at my desk, my first thought was, pure genius. What better way to raise publicity and awareness for an issue few people think about without high doses of media sass-and-splash to probe their consciences? Only after my first cup of coffee did I start to think that a marketing campaign more closely resembling a celebrity sex scandal may not be the best type of publicity for starving East African children. Or is it?

My mind has been buzzing with hoards of crazy, creative, and even downright ludicrous marketing ideas and campaigns that bombard my otherwise quiet life. Every time another crazy idea crops into my media outlets, I can’t help but become slightly green with envy—both for the publicity fellow organizations and individuals are garnering in the name of their cause and for the sheer genius of their marketing ploys.

In the last couple weeks alone, I’ve ran across a friend vowing to eat only one bowl of rice a day until he raises a million dollars for hunger organizations (Simple Size Me), a former bartender raising money for clean water projects from wine tasting events (Wine to Water), and, of course, the shocking vow of nudity from selfless supermodels.

Sounds like Plant With Purpose needs to jump on the marketing stunt bandwagon. Don’t think we haven’t thought about it. At PWP we’ve toyed with the idea of putting our interns in trees (non-paid and captive, sheesh, the lengths those crazy kids will go to bolster their resumes…) and have tried (unsuccessfully) to launch a Trash for Trees project for over twenty years (catchy title, but apparently not quite sexy enough). Unfortunately we’re not on a first name basis with any scandalous celebrities and our office full of local-organic-vegetable-eating-and-yoga-practicing-twenty-somethings cannot afford to lose any more body fat, even in the name of awareness-raising.

So until the perfect scheme strikes the PWP marketing team like a lightening bolt, we’ll have to stick to raising awareness one blog, tweet, and donor at a time. So, loyal PWP followers, we thank you for your support despite our felt lack of scandal and media intrigue. Not that we don’t have excitement. We have plenty of creative initiatives in the works that we’re stoked on and can’t wait to unveil. For now, you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Oh, btw, turns out the vow of nudity from selfless supermodels to support starving children was a farce by William Easterly testing his marketing theories for causes. Well, the stunt definitely caught my attention—and resentment.

Anyway, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the media, humanitarian marketing, and even your ideas on how PWP can soar to new levels of publicity.

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