From 2005-2007, I wrote for an advertising group blog called Beyond Madison Avenue. The blog is still around, but over the years it has been redesigned several times and somehow in all the shuffling, it seems that all the posts written from those early years were lost. I did some digging and found a few of them, so what I wanted to do is share a new one of them with you each Saturday here over the next few weeks. I honestly (sadly?) think these posts are better than most of the ones I write now, and on top of that, I think they are an interesting commentary on a space that’s gone through a ton of change in just a few short years. I hope you enjoy these, and we’ll start with the very first blog post I ever wrote, from September 20th, 2005.
What a Hurricane Can Teach Us About Marketing
1 billion and counting.
That’s the current amount of donations received for victims of Hurricane Katrina, according to an article in yesterday’s Washington Post. That total doesn’t include donations from last night’s episode of Monday Night Football, during which current and former NFL players took donations for the relief effort. Some estimates have the final total approaching 2 billion. Granted, roughly half of the donations thus far are from corporations.
Still, that means over 500 million has been donated from everyday Americans in the three weeks since Katrina made landfall in Gulfport, Mississippi. When’s the last time a company released a new product to the market that had similar sales, with NO advertising?
Then again, this is a rare case where little advertising is necessary. The appeal is easy to understand: Compassion for our fellow man. The benefit of the donations is obvious: Helping fellow Americans rebuild their communities, homes, and lives. Marketing professionals everywhere can learn much from the massive giving that’s coming in response to Katrina. If you have a product that people want, that they can clearly see the benefits of, and that fulfills a basic human need, it will sell itself.
What ‘product’ is being sold here? Hope. We all need some of that.