A pitch for marketing compassion

publication date: Jul 27, 2011
Harvard Business Review blogger Dan Pallotta thinks that more advertising is the answer to addressing today's social problems.  He's launching Advertising for Humanity, a brand agency for the humanitarian sector and corporate social responsibility initiatives.  His goal is to "begin marketing benevolence as brilliantly as Budweiser markets beer."

His view is that the services provided by nonprofit organizations - healing the sick, caring for the poor or disadvantaged - are contracted by the donor in the same fashion as paying for someone to clean your house or prepare your taxes.  

Furthermore, philanthropy is funded through discretionary income, the same as the music or cosmetics industry - industries that appeal to natural and created human desires.  Stimulating demand for philanthropic goods will enable humanitarian organizations to become self-sustaining.  But, essentially his argument comes down to scale - current marketing efforts are too paltry, bigger is better.  Why be a home-brewed cup of coffee when you can be the next Starbucks?

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