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Archive for Generosity


MasterCard is Standing Up to Cancer

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Actor Ty Burrell is featured in an advertisement for MasterCard this holiday season. Attired in traditional caroling regalia, he sings to inform a woman that her sweater purchase helped make a difference.

MasterCard is supporting the charity­­ Stand Up To Cancer with their “Click and Be Generous” campaign. They donate 1¢ for each online MasterCard purchase over $10 from November 12th through December 31st, with a max of $2 million in contributions.

Stand Up To Cancer’s philosophy is to use their funds to promote collaboration between cancer researchers working at different institutions. Burrell’s authenticity and enthusiasm for the project shines in another clip promoting Stand Up To Cancer where he explains that he lost his father to cancer and how hopeful he is about the research that has been made possible by Stand Up To Cancer.

The method that MasterCard chose for their philanthropy is a victory for both organizations. It helps raise Stand Up To Cancer’s profile while providing MasterCard recognition for its charitable endeavor.

The thirty-second spot does not tout a list of reasons why MasterCard is a superior credit card; rather, it utilizes emotional appeal to encourage people to use their MasterCard.

During this time of continuing economic challenges, MasterCard expects that the fight against cancer will encourage people to preferentially utilize the card when making a transaction during the holiday season.

In addition, the ad facilitates making a connection in consumers’ minds that the use of a MasterCard allows them to partner with a positive force in the world with the ease of purchasing an item online.

Donating 1¢ per transaction sounds small at first; MasterCard counts on the number of transactions made by MasterCard users to create a huge difference. This campaign shows that a for-profit corporation can use its business model to promote the well being of the community in which it resides.

From the Good News newsletter of the Foundation for a Better Life…

It is Random Acts of Kindness™ Week
Feb 15-21, 2010

This week is the 15th annual Random Acts of Kindness™ Week! What will you do to spread Kindness?! Need ideas? Perhaps you could bake cookies for a neighbor, pay the toll for the vehicle behind you, send a card “just because,” or hold the door open for someone. To see more ideas or to share your own, check out our sister foundation, The Random Acts of Kindness™ Foundation, or their page on Facebook.

As demonstrated through the seminal Liberty Mutual ad… commit to an act of kindness today and see how long you can keep it up! You may inspire someone else or kindness may just become a lifelong habit 😆

You can make a difference today!

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City Harvest, whose mission is to fight hunger in New York City, NY, is the only food rescue organization in the world. It links agencies, individuals, corporations, and foundations to unite in fighting NYC’s hunger. City Harvest provides free deliveries of food to nearly 600 emergency food agencies, and feeds 260,000 people suffering from hunger on a weekly basis. Its “Food Council,” made up of top chefs, restaurateurs, and food industry professionals, donate some of the city’s best food and raise funds for the organization.

The PSA City Harvest released raises awareness and interest in helping feed New York City’s hungry. The advertisement is well done in that it attracts the viewer’s attention (which is limited, selective, and divided), by making the issue personally relevant, surprising, concrete, and easy to process. The ad is framed by a realistic interaction by what seems to be a couple, with the man filming the woman with his iPhone (the PSA was actually filmed on the iPhone). They start to board the subway train, but as the doors open, thousands of green apples burst out. A voice informs us that “every day, 470,000 pounds of food is wasted in this city…Help City Harvest rescue food for New York’s hungry.” City Harvest used 500,000 CGI apples in the PSA to illustrate New York City’s daily food waste. By using the framework of a realistic couple in the NYC subway, the PSA is made personally relevant; moreover, it is surprising and unexpected, as the viewer does not expect hundreds of thousands of apples to come pouring out of the train. The green apples are a contrasting stimuli against the gray subway station. The abstract notion of the hunger and of food waste is made concrete with the sheer number of apples and the booming voice, making the message easy to process as well.  Finally, the use of apples is fitting due to the association of apples with “The Big Apple,” i.e. New York. This could perhaps prevent the sleeper effect, as well as support the match-up hypothesis, as viewers will readily remember  City Harvest, whose symbol is also the apple, and that its mission is to feed the hungry in The Big Apple.


Toll House is Spreading the Love

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Perhaps it’s the holiday spirit, but something about the new Toll House cookie commercial almost moved me to tears, and I think it’s safe to say that was the advertisers intent.

Check it out:

In this spot, Nestle Toll House, a relatively low effort processing and decision-making product is presented as the hero.  Since attitudes formed under low-effort processing are often not stored to memory, Toll House uses  emotional appeals and unconscious influences to affect the attitudes and beliefs of the target market and aid the consumer in recalling the brand later.

One of the techniques this ad uses is transformational advertising in which the goal is to create an association between the experience of using the product and certain psychological characteristics. Specifically, Toll House is increasing emotional involvement by creating a richer experience with the product as opposed to just highlighting product benefits.

Additionally, Toll House is increasing relevance to the consumer by using self-referencing, a common strategy used to increase the extent to which a consumer is engaged in relating the scenario or  message in an ad to their own experiences– such as coming home from college to fresh-baked cookies, or providing yummy treats for a granddaughter’s soccer team.

In sticking with the theme of virtuous advertising, I’d also like to point out the genuinely positive message of “paying it forward” that the commercial uses by creating a chain of inspiration between the actors in the commercial to bake some love and pass it on.

A truly great message and utilization of persuasion theories– what more could you ask for on this day of family togetherness? Now I have something to use as an explanation to show my family what advertising is all about, because we know the inevitable topic of conversation at dinner will include asking me what it is that I am doing/plan on doing in the future.

Gotta love family! Happy Thanksgiving!

Last month, Macy’s launched COME TOGETHER, a novel fundraising campaign that successfully raised enough funds to feed 10 million people suffering from hunger in the United States. In conjunction with FeedingAmerica, it used a multi-platform approach to reaching its goal: people could choose to HOST, GIVE, or SHOP to donate, either in its retail stores or online.

HOST: Across the country, people hosted dinner parties, and instead of bringing the traditional hostess gift, guests were asked to donate to FeedingAmeerica. The hosts could go to to get ideas for themes from Martha Stewart, send out invitations, and find recipes from such celebrated chefs as Emeril Lagasse.

GIVE: People could donate $1 at any Macy’s register, which provides dinner for seven, any time they shopped.

SHOP: Food banks across the nation sold $5 tickets that enabled shoppers to get special in-store savings on October 17th, online and in retail stores; a portion of the $5 would benefit FeedingAmerica. Macy’s also hosted nationwide events such as VIP dinner parties with Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse to raise awareness and fundraise.

The “Come Together” commercial features a star-studded cast. Both the commercial and the campaign encouraged a return to values such as community, sharing meals at the dinner table, and facilitated simple ways we can give back to the community even as we are buying things for ourselves. I think Macy’s did a wonderful job of taking into account how people are not eating out as much due to the recession, and how they could use this to the advantage of this campaign by inviting people to host at-home dinner parties and donate to those less-fortunate at the same time. The website garners affective involvement from its viewers, as does the song “Come Together,” by the Beatles. The song and the commercial encompass the central message of the campaign: we must come together, whether a celebrity, employee, or anyone, and do our part to be socially responsible; moreover, in keeping with the classical liberalism mindset, it provides incentives to give because it benefits us as well in that as shoppers and hosts, we enjoy quality time with friends and family, throw parties, and shop discounted products at the retail stores. The commercial and website garners attention with the long list of celebrities that appear; for viewers today, they represent a reference group of people who are admired. These stars, such as Usher, Queen Latifah, and Jessica Simpson, are using their fame for good ends by helping Macy’s “Come Together” campaign. Furthermore, it is fitting as these celebrities are all Macy’s “Star” Designers, and the commercial shows them eating at Macy’s with employees of the store (all part of the Macy’s community). There is a clear association with all the elements of the commercial, from the food being offering to the “Star” Designers to the song clearly asking us to come together not only at the dinner table, but as a nation to help one another.

Land’s End, in partnership with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless (MCH), the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), and its retailer Sears, has begun an initiative they dubbed “BigBostonWarmUp.”  It began in Boston and has spread nationwide. With its goal to provide coats to keep the nation’s homeless warm in the upcoming freezing winter months, especially in Boston, Sears has asked consumers to bring in their lightly-used coats to its Land’s End Shop at Sears. In return, Sears will grant a discount of 20% off any new Land’s End coat purchased by the consumer. The website, available at, tracks how many coats are donated per store, per state, and how many homeless are in that state. A heart, which is a motif they have used recurrently on the website, is placed next to the store in which most coats have been donated. Once you donate your coat, you can track where it is and where it has finally been donated. The site also provides statistics of the steadily increasing size of the homeless population (11% increase in Boston last year alone), and the fact that most of them are families is very sobering.

The commercial Land’s End Shop at Sears has created to promote its initiative is extremely creative! The commercial begins with a drama–a story unfolds about a mother who gives her son a red, Land’s End coat for Christmas. She sews on his name, and the commercial follows him through milestones in his life: college,, first kiss, marriage, children, moving, etc. Finally, it’s time to dispose of the coat that has been with him his whole life. The next screen shows a homeless man receiving the coat. The incredible twist to this online commercial is that at the end, we see a woman leaving the shelter holding a coat; when she looks down to see the name of the past owner, it’s your name! It ends with: “[Your Name], your gently used coat can help one of our nation’s many homeless people stay warm this coming winter.”

The commercial (featured above) inspires affective involvement from its viewers–it is both touching and surprising in that it really drives the point home that social responsibility is not just a lofty idea, it is a something YOU can do for one another. It makes social responsibility relevant to each consumer, on a personal level, literally by name. This ad demonstrates shared values we strive for in our culture, namely the importance of family, greater social unity, and generosity towards the less fortunate. The drama that opens the ad hooks us in with its relevance to the life of any average American. And that is the point–every average American can make a difference. The company is also uniting altruistic motives with profit-based motives, in that in addition to donating, it also sells it products (new coats) and promotes positive associations of the Land’s End brand. Moreover, it is using social media and optimizing on the current trend of internet advertising and user-generated content. It also targets the disposition of the product in the consumption behavior tripartite model, and reducing the buyer’s perceived risk and hesitation of buying a new coat and  having to dispose of the old coat–we are instead recycling and not wasting. Additionally, the music aids in this perfect example of transformational advertising–it is touching, yet simple.

Enjoy the commercial, and have fun sending it to others!! And remember, only 12 more days to donate a coat (the campaign ends in November).

Goodwill Levis Care Tag

I just came across an article from MediaPost this afternoon and thought it was perfect for the AdVirtues website. Read the article here:

This is a new partnership effort between Goodwill and Levi Strauss to encourage consumers to donate their used clothing, rather than throwing it away. BBDO West conceived this idea (as part of their pro bono work for Goodwill). Beginning in 2010, Levi’s will include a this socially responsible message on their product “care tags” (see sample above).

I think it’s a simple idea and excellent effort to persuade consumers to be both less wasteful and more selfless with their consumption. But this does raise some questions: will it work? Will consumers really pay attention to the care tag in their clothing? Will it be sufficient motivation for them to change their pattern of behavior? I think a lot of that will depend on the strength of the viral marketing effort to get the word out. Notions of “social responsibility” and “sustainability” are trendy and much-hyped lately. Ultimately, I hope consumers will heed the “care tags” so that their behavior is consistent with their “talk”.

Cheers to AT&T for providing its audience with socially responsible, feel good ads that warm the heart while avoiding sex, negative stereotypes and raunchy humor. I saw this ad for the first time tonight and was touched by not only its message but also its sense of community and friendliness. In a world where we have learned to shy away from certain situations whether it be from time constraints or lack of motivation, it is amazing to see an ad that depicts such a random act of kindness.

We are introduced to a little girl who is pinning up lost dog signs in hopes of one day finding Sarah, her adorable young pup. As the ad progresses, a student on campus sees the sign, snaps a pic with his AT&T phone and forwards the text, “Can you help find this dog?” to Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough, obviously on North Carolina’s campus sends the message to his MANY friends. Eventually the little girl and her companion are reunited.

As human beings, we are swayed with many appeals and that’s alright. However, as aspiring professional advertisers, we must keep responsible limitations on how far we take certain appeals. Yes, sex sells. Yes, raunchy humor sells. However, changing advertising in a way that can inspire should also be present in our everyday work. Looking at the positive feedback this ad received is just amazing. I know a lot has to do with Hansbrough’s cameo, but the ad itself is effective in grabbing the attention of the audience and pulling at its heartstrings. We’re not seeing rookie NBA Hansbrough as a sex symbol or sports icon. We are introduced to him as a person.

Levi  Strauss & Co just recently launched the “Give them hope Now” Campaign. This campaign is to raise money for the Hetrick-Martin Institue, which is a non profit organization that that supports the Harvey Milk High School. As you can imagine the Harvey Milk High School is dedicated to support and help gays, lesbians, transgenders, and bisexuals during there time of need. They like to think of themselves as a school that is there for them when their family isnt. When their family kicks them out of there houses and wont support them. The school provides after school support groups and support services. At first when i viewed the ad i was unclear of what the message was for…Here is one of the commercials… What are your thoughts can you tell what it is for?? Also with Levis supporting a messsage like this do you think that people that are againt gay marriage and are homophobic may stay away from a company like this and stay away from purchasing their products? they have gone about delivering this message in a very modern way Rob Toledo, senior account director, Razorfish, Seattle says “We’ve put together a very impactful social media outreach strategy. We’ll be reaching out to bloggers and like-minded organizations and people in the LGBT community,” Do you think they did this because this topic is more of a modern issue and traditionalist might not agree and therefor they figured they could reach more of there target market? or because it cost less to get the message out??


Tom’s Shoes goes national!

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I had to do a double-take when I saw this commercial… actually, I rewound it :) AT&T is featuring Tom’s Shoes in their latest commercial!!

I really don’t have a whole lot to say (probably because it’s nearly midnight and my brain is fried from wrapping up final projects) but thought everyone would want to know.

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