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Dorothy Le

What Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Charitable Marketing

Oct 28 2013, 03:00 AM by


SPOILER ALERT: Walter White’s death on the season finale of Breaking Bad broke hearts and shed tears for the 10.3 million that tuned in for the finale. It was so traumatic, that die hard fans were compelled to orchestrate an actual funeral for their beloved character.

Recently, the city of Albuquerque held an elaborate farewell event supported by politicians and city officials that included a 5-mile funeral procession escorted by the police, a real-life replica of the infamous meth-lab RV and a black hearse. A memorial service took place at Albuquerque’s Sunset Memorial Park cemetery, where Breaking Bad set decorator, Michael Flowers, attended to deliver the eulogy. An actual headstone and gravesite was even carved out just for Mr. Heisenberg (don’t worry ... no real human body was laid out in the casket).

This funeral event was held not just as closure for the fans, but it was also directed towards a good cause. The proceeds from tickets sales raised nearly $17,000 for Healthcare for the Homeless, a local charity that seeks to bring awareness to drug abuse among the homeless population.

Since Breaking Bad was centered so strongly on the pitfalls of drugs, this funeral event for an all-time favorite TV character was a perfect vessel to use to introduce audiences to a local charity organization and the work that they do. It is a perfect marketing formula: have one popular and well-known entity, a lesser-known entity, see what they both have in common and utilize them together to bring more attention to the lesser-known one. Almost every major company has lent their name and efforts to a smaller organization ... especially with charities. Since audiences are more aware of and invested in the popular company, the perception and trust they have in it will carry onto whatever the company supports.

For example, in 2005, Starbucks helped support the Guatemala Education Initiative, which works to bring education programs to distant coffee-producing villages. Similarly retailer H&M collaborated with I:CO, a Swiss company that helps arrange recycling programs for popular clothing chains, to jumpstart an in-store recycling event. Each of these collaborations have a unifying theme: Breaking Bad/drugs, Starbucks/coffee-producing lands, and H&M/clothes recycling. The key to having people taking action towards a charity is their bond to the major company that is working with that charity. When putting in charity marketing efforts, always remember that familiarity is what will draw people in to support.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Cool Stuff for Small Businesses

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