Thinking Outside (Or Inside) The Box

When it comes to marketing your cause, are you thinking outside the box (or in it)?

It’s time to think beyond the print ad and webpage and do something a little more eye-catching to make sure your cause program gets attention. With limited budgets and an even more fragmented consumer attention span, cause campaigns are getting creative. This month, Twitter feeds were abuzz about a billboard. Nothing new, you say? Well, what about a live, plant-covered billboard that absorbs air pollution as it promotes the World Wildlife Federation and Coca-Cola? More than 46,000 pounds of carbon dioxide is certainly nothing to cough at. In Ohio, Charter One and the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks are betting consumers won’t miss a billboard with “nothing” on it. The organizations teamed up to raise awareness that many families have nothing to eat with a series of billboards with only the word “nothing” written on them in big bold letters.

Another cause campaign is thinking a little more inside the box. That box just happens to be a pop-up store on the beach. H&M recently created a beach-themed pop-up shop where 25 percent of all sales proceeds go to support WaterAid. The company placed the shop – you guessed it –on the seashore of Scheveningen, a popular seaside resort in The Hague. Speaking of water, Denver Water, a Colorado utility, is coming up with fresh ways to utilize public space to convey a message. The utility recently launched a campaign to show just how much water a running toilet can waste with bright orange barrels piled high in downtown Denver. Other Denver residents found benches reduced to one quarter the normal size and emblazoned with the tag, “Use only what you need.” Finally, a charity book sale in Greenville, South Carolina came up with another clever use of public space with stairs that became larger-than-life books and parking garage windows that were transformed into giant bookshelves. The public space was donated by the city, and the book drive is now deemed the country’s most successful.

Can’t-miss-it advertising and marketing is not the dominion of corporate brands alone. It just takes a little thinking outside the box – or billboard, bench or bookshelf – to make an eye-catching statement for your cause.


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