Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mobilizing Glamour Industry Professionals for Social Good

During my tenure as Executive Director of Fran Drescher’s women’s cancer charity, Cancer Schmancer, I had the opportunity to collaborate with some terrific fashion and beauty brands on varying forms of cause marketing campaigns, from one-day in-store promotions to seasonal percentage-of-proceeds promotions to heavily branded annual charity events.

Some of my favorite programs included:

Bloomingdale’s “Dress Well, Be Well” nationwide promotion: On April 5, 2008, Bloomingdale’s dress department held a national promotion called “Dress Well, Be Well” to drive foot traffic to its stores and push dress sales during prom season. On that day, Bloomingdale’s committed to donating 10% of proceeds from nationwide dress sales to Cancer Schmancer, raising over $50,000 for the organization. The promotion received excellent press coverage, especially in the Los Angeles area, where Fran Drescher personally made an appearance at a Bloomingdale’s location to meet and greet customers and distribute Cancer Schmancer DVDs that educate women on the early warning signs of female cancers.

Paul Mitchell Limited Edition Flat Iron promotion: During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2009, Paul Mitchell heavily promoted its limited edition Pink Express Ion Smooth 1.25 flat iron, while simultaneously raising awareness for Cancer Schmancer and its mission. As part of the promotion, Cancer Schmancer was guaranteed a donation of $25,000 and its logo was placed prominently on the product packaging. To help raise awareness and drive sales for the product, Fran Drescher participated in a product photo shoot, televised interviews, and permitted use of her name in all related press releases.

EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women: In 2007 and 2009, Cancer Schmancer was selected as a beneficiary of the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women, which is a charity run/walk hosted in New York City and Los Angeles every May to raise funds for women’s cancer research, prevention, education, and support service programs. As a beneficiary of the event, Cancer Schmancer organized teams and volunteers in both cities, heavily promoted the events to its membership and contributed towards EIF’s overall fundraising goal. Fran Drescher also attended each event as a VIP guest, walking the red carpet and participating in the run/walk with her friends and family.

So, you’re probably thinking, “WOW! The fashion and beauty industries sure do a whole lot to give back to their communities.” You’re absolutely right. These guys rock. The best part is that it’s a win-win for everyone. The charity walks away with cold hard cash it desperately needs plus lots of free media opportunities. The sponsoring company boosts its brand reputation and sales (either directly or indirectly) while also garnering all kinds of media attention for its cause marketing efforts (if executed well, of course).

However. Yes, there’s a pretty loud however coming. However, there’s still SO much more that can and should be done. What about the makeup artists behind the beauty counters at all Bloomingdale’s locations? What about the hair stylists at all Paul Mitchell salons? And, lets not forget the countless hair stylists, makeup artists, manicurists, and other fashion and beauty professionals all over the country! What exactly is their role in these cause marketing campaigns? Are they a wasted resource waiting to be tapped?

I’d have to say yes. In fact, I’m shouting it from the rooftops.

Almost all of these fabulous companies have realized that partnering with and supporting charities supports their bottom line. So, they’ve got talented marketing and PR teams developing campaigns for them. But, in all too many instances, they’re forgetting about their front liners - the ones interacting with their consumers and clients on a daily basis - the glamour industry professionals themselves.

Why not let these guys and gals be part of the fun? And, boost their sense of pride in their work? An easy way for them to do just that is through Glamour Gone Good. My organization recruits individual glamour industry professionals, as well salons, spas, fashion and beauty brands to raise funds for women’s and girls’ charities. But, it's certainly not the only way to activate these glamour-makers.

The next time Bloomingdale’s hosts a cause marketing promotion, I’d love to see its entire sales team trained with talking points about the sponsored charity, the actual promotion and how the funds raised will be put to use. Instead of reading about the dress promo in an ad in my local paper, I'd love to have a sales person influence me into buying a second dress that day to help support their charity. Who knows, maybe that same conversation would even get me calling my mom to ask if she's scheduled her next mammogram yet, all while I'm browsing for a dress I hadn't originally planned to purchase.


  1. Robert here from VolunteerMatch - Great post about effective cause marketing in the fashion world. I'll book mark it and see about sharing it on our new blog for CSR when it launches.

    We're helping companies of shapes and sizes creating cause engagement campaigns based on volunteering time and skills. To the question you raise about how rank-and-file employees (the backbone of fashion and retail) can be involved, I can only suggest that creating a campaign that connects employee skills with volunteer and donation opportunities *of their own choosing* is really important. For example, we have one very well-known new cosmetics partner who is helping its legions of make-up artists and other employees connect with all manner of nonprofits close to where they work and live. It's not about executive decisions on where employees should help; it's about serving those employees by making it easy for them to help. See the difference? Companies that want to get started can learn more about our unique approach at

    Keep up the good work!

    Twitter: @volmatch

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Robert! I completely agree that employees should be given the opportunity to choose where to donate their time and funds. When it comes to executing cause marketing campaigns, though, the employees are usually not the ones being considered. We need to see more companies including their employees in the decision-making process when deciding which causes and charities to endorse, as well as better integration of these employees into the actual marketing campaigns.

    I'll be sure to check out that link you shared. Love VolunteerMatch!