I am not one of those people who whine that holidays are getting too commercialized. I look forward to the opportunity to stock up on red and pink potholders, dish towels, and place mats festooned with hearts every Valentine’s Day. And although I personally refuse to play Christmas music before I’ve carved pumpkins for Halloween, who am I to judge shop owners and CEO’s of big box stores who disagree. So of course I celebrated Earth Day this past weekend by recycling my dusty electronics and planting a few new native plants in my garden.
However, as much as I heart holidays, even I get peeved when the barrage of marketing mumbo jumbo surrounding our most cherished celebrations doesn’t ring true. Marketers have to walk a fine line when Earth Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Veteran’s Day roll around. You want to participate, create mutually beneficial partnerships, and support causes you truly care about. You don’t want to seem like you’re using a cause to manipulate your customers into giving you their money.
Let’s use Earth Day as a case study in what to do and what not to do. Anyone can give out free reusable shopping bags or free coffee to anyone who brings their own cup (although I think that was pure marketing genius when Starbucks did it years ago!) It’s time to take a look at what else was going on this Earth Day, and see what lessons we can learn.
1. Pick a tie-in that makes sense for your brand. For example:
- All Energy Star appliances are 10% of at Lowe’s through April 23. Well, that just makes sense. 10% is a little stingy, but the promotion itself is clear and logical.
- The Body Shop chose Earth Day to launch its new “Wood Positive” initiative to plant and protect more trees than it uses. Excellent timing.
- Walgreens already sells eco-friendly products. To let customers know these products are available at Walgreens.com, they offered 20% off these select products with a coupon code, 20NATURAL. Simple, effective, and oh-so trackable.
Sometimes, simpler is better.