Last week I noticed a couple of campaigns and posts from companies in the UK lending a hand to another company. There were a lot of positive reactions, praises and sharing but I just couldn’t help but think, Are these companies just doing this for good PR? I don’t know whether it’s the cynic in me or I’m just trying to relate everything to PR, but it got me thinking.
Let’s take two examples from last week.
Burger King and McDonald’s
Last Wednesday in Argentina, to celebrate ‘McHappy Day’, McDonald’s announced that they were donating money from every Big Mac sold, to charity. Brilliant, fair play to them. Then along came Burger King who launched ‘Day Without Whopper’. To help McDonald’s, they would stop selling Whoppers for one day so that people would go to Burger King McDonald’s instead, and purchase a Big Mac.
Isn’t that a lovely thing to do?
I don’t know. Did Burger King donate money to the charity? No. Would they lose out on much money by not selling Whoppers for one day? Most likely not.
I’m pretty sure that if I went to Burger King, asked for a Whopper and was told that they weren’t being sold, I wouldn’t run to find the nearest McDonald’s to have a Big Mac. I would most likely order something else from the Burger King menu that tickled my fancy. If I had wanted McDonald’s, I would have went to McDonald’s in the first place.
We are a generation of convenience. If I arrive to the fast-food chain to find no Whopper, I’ll just have another burger instead. That way, Burger King are making money and realistically not sending anyone to McDonald’s and nor are they donating any money to McDonald’s charity.
But at least the press and everyone on social media thinks they’re doing something charitable and pleasant, right?
Ah, Revs. The good old happy hour 2-4-1 cocktail bar on most corners of cities across the UK.
Revs offered free lunch to any member of staff from Thomas Cook that had lost their job to the company going bankrupt. Free lunch and free wifi so that they could also search online for new jobs and update their CVs.
A lovely thought it does seem but why only for the week? Why offer them free lunch when you could probably offer them the chance to apply for jobs at Revs branches across the UK? And to show up with a recent payslip? Isn’t that a bit of a slap in the face?
The problem with posting about it on social is that if any company advertise that they’re doing something good, giving back or helping someone out, I just automatically assume it’s for personal gain and good PR.
It’s like if someone gives a homeless person some food and then posts about it on social media – that’s surely just seeking some attention, no? Aren’t good deeds meant to be done quietly?
Cause Related Marketing
I learnt all about cause-related marketing during my final year of university and how companies associate themselves with charities, social causes or situations just to make the company look better and boost sales while promoting a cause. Think Boots and Breast Cancer Awareness, Tesco and School Vouchers or American Express and the Statue of Liberty.
It seems to me that a company looks at something and thinks, If it’s not going to bring me good PR, then what’s the point in doing it?
If we look at the fashion world and the majority of the luxury labels removing real fur from their clothes – is this due to their own ethics and morals or is it because consumers are demanding it? Going fur-free gives them good press and positions them in a positive light among the public. But would they change their stand-point if using real fur wasn’t looked down upon?
I guess I am being quite cynical but it really does seem that most companies only do things for personal gain and for reasons that will mostly benefit them and not the organisation they are trying to help.
The only authentic one that I can think of off the top of my head is Everton Football Club. This is coming from a huge Liverpool supporter so there’s no bias here whatsoever. I know that Everton do so much for people in the Liverpool community as well as helping out a lot of people that need it.
They have a lot of information on their social channels and website, but it doesn’t gain much publicity in the press. The club may be seen as rivals to Liverpool FC, but everyone in the city recognises the amazing work that they do in the area.
Change my mind. Tell me companies actually do good things for reasons other than personal gain and good PR. Give me some examples, make me see more good in the world, please!