Sunday, 24 February 2008

Africa Works: a view on Benetton's newest cause related campaign

This is a remarkable example of cause related marketing with an integrated mix of

fashion advertising + Music + celebrity endorsement + micro-financing (such as Kiva)
The story is as follows: Youssou N'Dour (famous singer in Africa with his own club in Dakar and pioneer of Afro-pop) has a kind of allergy towards charity (You don't have to give Africans fish, you should give them fishing gear), and that's what makes him a strong believer of Micro-financing.
That's why he founded "Birima", his own micro-financing project. Photographer James Morrison made a series of photography of Africans who do business with the support of Birima.
Benetton sponsored Birima with one million Dollars to use the imagery in its campaigns.

What makes Birima and Benetton a good match?

- First of all, Benetton has a history of using advertising in a completely different way, to
communicate the company's values by tackling controversial political issues.
Today, they need to take the next step to a more engaging and participative kind of marketing
that demonstrates its values instead of portraying them.
- On top of that, Benetton is about united colors, and Africa is close around the corner on that
- Youssou N'Dour's song Birina is an ad in itselves that attributes attention to both Benetton
and the micro-financing project.

Some advantages of cause-related-marketing

- It allows you to look good/green without claiming it. But even though, you associate yourselve
with a subject/ field of significance.
- It is flexible. You can go and find a cause that is popular at that moment. (you can look for
memes and hits!)
- Marketing is in it's "Why-era" (why should I buy from you?)

Some disadvantages

- Apart of the cause-benefit, there is still the cost of PR and advertising
- Association with a charity can get worn out, at the same speed of image advertising

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