Light-hearted Cause

Some recent cause-related campaigns have proven that a little levity can go a long way in capturing consumer attention.

Comedian Will Farrell launched a gag-gift-worthy line of sunscreen, which will benefit the charity Cancer For College. The line of products featuring comical (and slightly stomach churning) images of the popular celebrity will be sure to capture consumer attention. It certainly caught ours.

This week, The New York Times discussed another campaign by The Blood Center of Central Texas, which suggests giving blood can offset bratty behavior, such as failing to hold the elevator, mooching Wi-Fi or taking home office supplies. The humorous tone has resonated with Austin-area residents, and the organization has seen a 20 percent increase in blood donations since the campaign launch. The creative director of the multi-channel campaign notes, “This isn’t the time to go out there and be heavy.”

On the corporate side, KFC’s highly publicized pothole program and Kroger’s involvement in the Bread Art Project captured much attention from consumers and the media alike in recent months for their amusing approaches to addressing problems.

The stress brought on by the battered economy and struggling job market can make heart-wrenching messages hard to process. A little humor can help capture consumer attention, and when done right, light-hearted messages don’t necessarily undermine the seriousness of the cause.

A guest post on Katya Andresen’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, which shared further “proof nonprofits can be funny,” summed it up this way:

“In conclusion: don’t be afraid to be funny! Remember that humor is just a tool to engage the audience. Once they’re engaged, you can transition to the sensitive subject. The humor is not about the actual subject - nobody is joking about cancer or genocide - it’s just a way to help approach something to which people might otherwise be resistant.”


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