NPR must read my blog…

check what came up on Morning Edition this a.m.

“Selfish” Giving: Does It Count If You Get Something In Return?

Of course this phenomenon has a name (cause marketing) and a consultancy (Cone, Inc.). Yet another interesting little niche path to consider as I keep figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

Interesting alternative viewpoint, too: if “giving is the new black” is something lost in giving for its own sake?
or, as one of the comments states, can cause marketing be both “morally correct and strategically wise” for businesses?

i’d like to buy the world a coke. and a new york times.

Coca Cola is teaching us to live positively…
This website announces Coke’s new healthy-living initiatives: among them, a new “slimmer” 90-calorie soda can (oh i just can’t resist: “Yes we can” ?) along with moving “energy information” to the front of all packaging. Energy Information is an updated form of “nutrition facts.” I suppose it’s a kindler, gentler way of referring to calories and sugar…

The Coke folks care enough about this image-shift to buy ad space in the Daily Beast’s daily headlines, and that can’t come cheap. (I discovered this sandwiched between healthcare, Copenhagen and Britney Murphy. “The World is Changing.” Coke declares, “We are too.”)

Giving back and/or improving life is a big trend in corporate marketing. Target gives back 5% to communities. Walmart wants us to Save Money, Live Better. So it’s a marketing ploy; if the results are good, can altruism ever be bad?

This week CBS Sunday Morning had a story on celebrity philanthropy, wondering whether cause celebs are motivated by selfish marketing along with a selfless love of mankind…I bristled at this premise a bit. After all, John and Kate’s shenanigans get way more celeb-press than Angelina’s trips to Africa. There are easier, more glamorous ways to make headlines—if that’s the sole motive. Besides, if celebrity endorsements bring more attention to a cause or support to an aid organization, everybody wins, right?

I guess I need to put my cynicism in check. I find it easier to doubt big companies vs. individuals. And that kinda leads me to my next thought: the human connection.

Have you heard about The Neediest Cases? (or, more accurately, read about them?) This project of the New York Times (you may have heard about this thing before. They call it a “newspaper”…), started way back in 1911 (a little history here) and raises money for causes in NYC through illuminating individual stories of those served. Readers have donated almost $250 million since the beginning.

It’s all about the story, the human connection.
The web makes these connections even more vivid, with photos and video of profiled individuals. (proceed to the site with caution, you may stay there a while.) This is journalism: good storytelling that expands our world and inspires us to act.

The Bard Abides

My boss let me borrow this book:

required reading for any creative

Orbiting the Giant Hairball, by Gordon MacKenzie. I’ve been working through it little by little, and will hopefully finish today. Please run out at your earliest convenience and buy a copy for any creative professional in your life. (such a funny title: creative professional…)
Here’s why:

Orbiting is responsible creativity: vigorously exploring and operating beyond the Hairball of the corporate mind set, beyond “accepted models, patterns, or standards”–all the while remaining connected to the spirit of the corporate mission.

To find Orbit around a corporate Hairball is to find a place of balance where you benefit from the physical, intellectual and philosophical resources of the organization without becoming entombed in the bureaucracy of the institution.

This book, written by a former Hallmark exec, is full of good notions on how to stay creative in the corporate world. It’s music to the ears of anyone who’s seen an idea get watered down, chewed up and spit out by committee. (Oh these things happen.)

The first lines I read today were these from our good friend W.S.
Isn’t it just a dip in the pool for your mind?

The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unkown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
–Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream