In the aftermath of the P&G Digital Hack Night, I questioned whether we were witnessing the beginning of an icky trend. What bothered me was the use of charity to get people to market for a brand. Marketers will do whatever they have to do to get into the stream. Charities are a great cover to get people to do their marketing for them.
Sure enough, I came across a Tweet today that looked quite automated: "I just helped donate a FREE box of KRAFT Macaroni and Cheese to Feeding America at www.sharealittlecomfort.com" Sure enough, Kraft is making people an irresistible offer. They'll make a donation to charity if you'll send out a message to as a Twitter or Facebook update. This isn't the first time Kraft has dabbled in this kind of promotion. It linked up with SocialVibe to do a Facebook campaign that used a similar approach: get friends to install a Kraft app and the brand would make a donation to charity. Kraft hopes to get its message broadcast out 1 million times through this program. What's important is it will be broadcast out in personal networks.
On the face of it, this benefits all parties. Charities get help, people get to feel good about themselves for doing nothing more than clicking a button, and brands get to piggyback themselve into the stream. The problem is these kind of programs threated to pollute the stream. What happens when we're all just marketing to each other, blasting out updates for brands, whether there's a cause attached or not? Luckily, as Karl Long says, you get the network you deserve. I'll let a few instances of this pass, but the unfollow and unfriend button will be put into use once this takes off.