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Home > Blog > Good Works Obviously Work
Out of Our Minds
Wednesday, July 14, 2004 9:43 AM
Good Works Obviously Work
Anita Sharpe on Making a Difference

As I was checking out at Target last night, I noticed a large ad that, instead of proclaiming the store's 'everyday low prices' or some such, instead said: 'We give over $2 million a week to education, arts and social services.'

Last weekend I served a bottle of wine whose makers noted that a percentage of the profits went to a local animal shelter. On Saturday, I picked up a 'We are the Future' CD at Starbucks (co-branded with Yahoo) and noted that Starbucks is pledging to give 100% of the purchase price to the organization. This morning I pulled the price tag off of a pair of Liz Claiborne slacks and saw this above the bar code: 'Since 1991, Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working to end domestic violence.'

As that example demonstrates, once you start down the road of good works, you pretty much have to continue. The good news is, giving back must surely produce some business benefits given the increasing number of companies jumping on the bandwagon (at least it's more effective than accounting fraud.) The bad news is. . .hmm, I don't think there is any bad news.


2 comments

Matt - 7/17/2004 4:43:40 PM
I don’t see how “once you start down the road of good works, you pretty much have to continue.�

A more accurate statement might be “once you start down the road of good works, you measure how effective your ‘good works’ are for marketing, and you continue your ‘good works’ as long as they keep putting more cash in your pocket than they cost.

Money otherwise spent on marketing agencies is now given to charities; = good.

Underlying business practices are ignored, or even allowed to deteriorate because people are distracted with flashy good-will promos; = bad.
Will Pate - 7/15/2004 2:42:58 PM
The main problem with corporate good works is that they're often used as a PR tactic to distract from practices that hurt people.

For instance, you mentioned Liz Claiborne. In the first part of the documentary The Corporation, Charles Kernaghan, Director of the National Labor Committee shows a Liz Claiborne jacket. The tag says 'Made in El Salvador' and Kernagahan says they retail for $178, while the workers were paid 74 cents for every jacket they made. He's the same guy that exposed Kathy Lee Gifford for using sweatshops.

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