Corporate Philanthropy

Two for Tuesday: Corporate Philanthropy, The “Phreshest” Approach to Commercial Marketing

If a brand wants to revitalize and promote itself today, it seemingly no longer turns to the traditional, glistening creativity of advertising agencies. Rather, major businesses have begun to lean on the heartstrings of their public, and, in turn, they have begun to create relationships of concern and authenticity between their consumers and products that have driven commercial revenues through the roof. Because of this, corporate philanthropy/ community-building, in many ways, have become the “phreshest” and most effective new way for big businesses to market on a large scale. This Two for Tuesday, let’s take a look at two companies building business through philanthropic efforts.

Walt Disney Company

Back in 2010, The Walt Disney Company created the “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” campaign to increase attendance at its theme parks while simultaneously promoting volunteerism. With the campaign’s premise to encourage people to sign up to volunteer for one day at any pre-approved Disney volunteer sites across the country, the “do-gooders” received one free day pass to any Disney theme park. Although the incentive program was scheduled to run from January 2010 until December 2010 with a maximum of one million give-aways, the “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” campaign had to be closed down in March of 2010 because of overwhelming participation.



Earlier this summer, Target announced a campaign with a similar bent. For every select “up & up” school supply purchased between July 13 and August 2, the corporation donated one school supply item to a student in need through its “Back to School Buy One Give One” program. Over 300 school supply items in Target stores were eligible for participation, and Target outlined a $25 million and 2 million child outreach goal for this inaugural, 21-day campaign supporting the Kids in Need Foundation.


Not only do campaigns with charitable intentions like Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” or Target’s “Back to School Buy One Give One” program drive business for major corporations at lesser costs than traditional advertising; but, they also align brands with the ever-so-valuable reputation of “doing-good.” When the public perceives conventionally-hated big business supporting communities instead of monopolizing and corrupting them, people are more likely to patronize these corporations.

Although, in all reality, philanthropic outreach by major businesses may stand as somewhat of a side-effect of or pawn in these newfangled, large-scale marketing tactics, can anyone complain about the good being done by these scenarios? If the competitive pressures of corporate image and commercial bottom lines drive businesses to augment their commitment to community outreach, can we deny the good that corporate citizenship is doing for our world? It’s like they always say, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” This remains true with corporate philanthropy, even if the opposite hand is simultaneously collecting money and perhaps at a faster pace than the other hand is giving.

Cover Photo Source: wavebreakmedia

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Brenna is a Junior Executive at SJG. She recently graduated from Saint Louis University with a BA in English and a Minor in Spanish. As a Milwaukee native, Brenna loves cold weather, everything cheese and of course, the Green Bay Packers. The coolest moment of Brenna’s life to date was when she unexpectedly ran into her best friend underneath a sparkling Eiffel Tower. [/author_info] [/author]